Commencement FAQs

Diploma Questions

Do I have to attend the graduation ceremony to receive my degree?

No, you do not have to attend the graduation ceremony to receive a degree but you do need to apply for graduation to have your degree reviewed so you can be awarded a degree.

When will I receive my diploma?

Eight to ten working weeks after the official close of the term in which you have graduated.

What if I want to purchase a duplicate diploma or re-print?

Students may request a re-print or duplicate diploma at the link below, the fee is $25.

Invited Guest Questions

Is there a fee to park at the Alamodome?

Yes, it will cost $15 per vehicle to park at the Alamodome.

My family member is hearing impaired. Will an interpreter or any other accommodations be provided?

A reserved seating section for hearing impaired guests requiring sign language interpreting services will be available near the southwest corner of the stage.

Where can accessible restrooms be found during the ceremony?

All Alamodome restrooms are accessible for guests with disabilities. All restrooms are identified by signage with the handicap symbol.

Is there a limit to the number of guests I can invite?

Please invite all who have supported you through your educational journey.  There are no restrictions for the number of guests that you may invite to celebrate your accomplishment.

Do I need tickets for my guests and family to attend commencement?


Is there a fee to attend the ceremony for me or my guests?


Ceremony Questions

Is participation in the commencement ceremony required?

No, you do not have to participate in the commencement ceremony in order to receive your diploma.

However, you still need to meet with your Academic Advisor to complete mandatory graduation advising as you approach completion of a program. 

What is the difference between commencement and graduation?

Commencement refers to the ceremony, which is an opportunity for students to celebrate their academic accomplishments with their peers, family and friends. There is no cost for graduation. The diploma, cap and gown are provided by the Alamo Colleges District. Participation in commencement does not guarantee or indicate degree completion. 

Graduation is a process consisting of meeting with your certified academic advisor, applying for graduation on paper, updating your diploma name and address in ACES if necessary, along with completing all academic requirements.

Is there a rehearsal?

No, there is no rehearsal for commencement.

What time should I arrive for commencement?

You should arrive 2 hours prior to the ceremony in which you plan to attend.

Where do I park?

Parking is available at Alamodome.

Is there a commencement ceremony after every semester?

Northwest Vista College hosts one commencement ceremony in May every year for students who complete their degree in Fall, Spring, or Summer semesters. Students completing in the summer can attend the ceremony if they are lacking only 8 credit hours or less.

Can I participate in commencement if I have not completed all my requirements?

Only students who have applied for graduation are allowed to participate in commencement ceremonies.

Can I decorate my cap and gown?

Your cap and gown may be decorated in good taste.

Can I keep my cap and gown?

Your cap and gown is a keepsake for you to cherish, you will not need to return it.

Can a military student wear their dress uniform in lieu of the cap & gown?

Students in the military must also wear academic regalia. Uniforms may be worn underneath the regalia.

What do I wear and where do I get it?
  • All participants must wear academic regalia.
  • Caps, gowns and tassels are available during Grad Fest or at the Campus Bookstore.
  • Wear dark shoes, since dark accessories have a more favorable appearance with the formal academic wear.
  • The tassel is worn on the right side of the cap until the end of the commencement ceremony when graduates are instructed to shift the tassel to the left side.
  • It is recommended that you take your regalia out of the bag and place it on a hanger a few days before your ceremony in order to decrease the wrinkles.
I walked in the ceremony, does that mean I graduated?

No. Participation in a commencement ceremony does not imply or infer the awarding of a degree at the time of the commencement ceremony; a final degree audit must be completed before a degree is officially awarded.