8 Steps to Commencement

Saturday, June 17, 2017 at 5 PM

Lower West Field (a.k.a. Oakes Lower Lawn)

Seniors arrive at 3:00 pm. Guests welcome at 4:00 pm.

8 Steps to Oakes Commencement


Step 1: 
Know the difference between GRADUATION and COMMENCEMENT!
Step 2: 
Register online for Oakes Commencement
Step 3: 
Check Your “Public Information” Status

Step 4: 
Order Your Cap & Gown!
Step 5: 
Disability Accommodation Requests
Step 6: 
Pick Up 2 Commencement Parking Passes
Step 7: 
Mandatory Commencement Rehearsal
Step 8: 
Oakes Commencement Ceremony

Step 1: Know the Difference Between GRADUATION and COMMENCEMENT

Your college commencement ceremony and graduation from UCSC are two separate things.

  • At UCSC, graduation is the act of conferring an academic degree – receiving your degree or diploma.
  • Commencement is a ceremony, where you walk across the stage, symbolizing the end of your undergraduate career.

Graduation and commencement have separate online processes and timelines.


Apply to graduate (degree completion and diploma) for the quarter in which you will be finishing your graduation requirements. DO NOT apply to graduate for Spring if you will be finishing your final graduation requirements in a subsequent quarter.

To apply to graduate, you must submit an application via your Student Portal by the posted deadlines to announce candidacy. There is more information about how to apply to graduate on the Registrar’s Office website.


This page includes all 8 steps for you to prepare to participate in the Oakes College Commencement Ceremony. Please keep reading to learn how to register, where to order your cap and gown, and all other related information. 

Step 2: 
Register Online for Oakes Commencement by: Friday, May 5th at 11:30 PM

Oakes Affiliates, register online here. If you register past the deadline, your name will not be printed in the program. For any questions contact the Oakes Programs Office at (831) 459-5602 or (831) 459-5619 for more information.


Step 3: 
Check Your “Public Information” Status

All students have a "Public Information" status (a.k.a. Directory Restriction, FERPA or NRI) with the Office of the Registrar. The status of your personal information is currently set as either "Releasable" or "Restricted." Some students set their status to "RESTRICTED" without being aware of the implications. It is imperative that you check your status and confirm it is set as you wish, in light of the following:

  • * If your status is set to "RESTRICTED" as of 11:30 pm, May 5th, 2017, Oakes is required by law to NOT print your name in the print program, regardless of your wishes.

  • * If your status is set to "RELEASABLE" as of 11:30 pm, May 5th, 2017, we can and will print your name in the program (provided you have registered via Step 2).

Check your status now at my.ucsc.edu. If you have a special circumstance and wish to retain the NRI status but also wish to have your name printed in the program, please contact the Oakes CPC, Mary Simms, ASAP at (831) 459-5619 or mesimms@ucsc.edu to review the necessary steps.


Step 4: 
Order Your Cap & Gown

Caps and gowns are strongly encouraged for the commencement ceremony. By ordering through the bookstore you will receive a keepsake cap and tassle in addition to the rented gown. Announcements, stoles, diploma frames and other custom items are also available at the Bay Tree Bookstore Online Graduation Center by purchase.

  • Orders can be placed online: Bay Tree Bookstore Graduation Center until Friday, June 2nd at 11:00 PM
  • Cap & gown distribution takes place on the second floor of the Bay Tree Bookstore on the following dates:
    • June 12 – 16, 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM
    • June 17, 8 AM – 5:00 PM (not recommended, expect heavy traffic and congestion on Commencement Day)

  • Immediately after the ceremony, rented gowns can be dropped off at the Oakes Upper Lawn.


Step 5: 
Disability Accommodation Requests by: Tuesday, May 30th

If you or your guests need disability accommodations email mesimms@ucsc.edu. Requests may include disabled parking access, wheelchair-accessible seating or shade seating for the sun-sensitive. Though we will make every effort, we cannot guarantee assistance if a request is made after the Tuesday, May 30th deadline.


Step 6: 
Pick up 2 Commencement Parking Passes, Monday, June 12th - Friday, June 16th

In order to receive your 2 parking passes for commencement, you must FIRST register online for the Oakes Commencement Ceremony by Friday, May 5th. After commencement registration closes, you will receive an email notifying you when parking passes are ready for pick up. You will need to come to the Oakes Housing/Student Life Office in person to pick up your passes during normal business hours. A photo ID is required.  If you do not live in Santa Cruz and cannot pick up your parking passes, we recommend you find a friend or classmate who can come and pick up your passes for you. Please notify the Oakes Programs Office at mesimms@ucsc.edu of your intentions so that we can verify we are giving the right passes to the right person. Parking passes will not be available for pickup on the day of commencement.


Step 7: 
Mandatory Commencement Rehearsal, Thursday, June 15th at 5PM (at the Oakes Upper Lawn)

A brief (60 minute) Commencement Rehearsal will be held, meeting at the Oakes Upper Lawn. We will do a “walk through” of the ceremony procedures and answer any last-minute questions. This is a crucial part of your commencement experience and ensures you know what to do on commencement day! DON'T MISS IT!


Step 8: 
Oakes Commencement Ceremony, Saturday, June 17th 

Grads arrive and check in at the OLC, 3 PM

Guests may begin arriving on the Lower West Field, 4 PM

Ceremony Begins, 5 PM

A Few Tips to Enjoy the Day

  • If your guests will be using your 2 parking passes you should get dropped off, take a bus or carpool with other grads.
  • Don't forget to bring your cap, gown, tassle, bobby pins, sunscreen, ...etc.!
  • Arrive at the Oakes Learning Center by 3:00 pm. You must arrive early to check in (ALL GRADS MUST CHECK IN!) and to be in the 2017 class photo!
  • When you check in you will pick up your Photo Card & Reader Card. These cards will be created using the information you provide online when you registered. The photo card is given to the photographer. The reader card is given to an Academic Preceptor and read while you cross the stage.
  • Please remember that the processional wraps around the field and through the grass. Stiletto heels are not recommended. 
  • Water will be provided to graduates at the bleachers.
  • At the end of the ceremony, there will be a designated area on the Oakes Upper Lawn to return your regalia (cap and gown).