Do Community Colleges Have Graduation Ceremonies?

Community colleges have graduations ceremonies like any other educational institution and these mark an important milestone in a student’s life.
Yes, community colleges like any other degree-awarding institutions, have graduation ceremonies. Whether or not to attend grad school commencement is a very personal decision. But are these events really that important? Can you skip them? In this article, we will discuss whether attending a graduation ceremony is worth it.
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A college graduation ceremony is when graduating seniors don silly hats and walk across a stage, field, or gym floor, and after what seems like an eternity of waiting your name will be called out to celebrate a milestone in your education.

It's a time when parents, grandparents, and entire extended families gather and sit patiently for that one moment when your name is called. They shout, cry, and sigh with relief and pride as you walk across the floor, shake hands, and flip a tassel.

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Do community colleges have graduation ceremonies?

Yes, they do. Graduation day is the conclusion of all of your hard work, time, and effort in earning your degree, and it is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate everything you have accomplished. 

Passing your qualification without it lacks that one huge defining moment to remember for years to come; you can hand in your final assignment or put down your pen after finishing your final exam, but it lacks the same enthusiasm.

This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity allows you to put on your cap and gown and attend a ceremony honoring your accomplishment while surrounded by your friends, family, and classmates. It's a fantastic way to commemorate the conclusion of this incredible chapter in your life.

Some people envision pomp and ceremony when they think about graduation, perhaps picturing bright-eyed scholars dressed in regalia and eager to alter the world with their hard-earned knowledge. Yet some are terrified when they think of graduation ceremonies.

There are multiple reasons to attend your graduation ceremony that outweigh the worry of embarrassing yourself by tripping while stepping across the stage or making a speech in front of thousands of people. So is it worth it?

Related: Is community college worth it?

But before we answer that question let us quickly clarify the difference between graduation, a graduation ceremony, and a convocation.

What is the difference between graduation, convocation, and commencement?

The terms “graduation,” "commencement" and "convocation" refer to three different types of events at your community college.

  • Graduation simply means that you have completed all the requirements for your degree, diploma, or certificate.
  • The commencement ceremony is a step in the graduating process; it is a university-wide gathering of graduates from all courses and degree programs. In a formal presentation to the assembly, the college president/ dean confers degrees on graduating students en masse. 

Students are not honored individually at this ceremony. The graduates and their families hear speeches from a guest Commencement Speaker as well as university representatives.

  • Convocation is a public recognition of a student's accomplishments. Each graduate will be acknowledged individually as they walk across the stage.
A student graduating
Photo by Olya Kobruseva from Pexels

Reasons why you should attend a graduation ceremony

Is the graduation ceremony worth it? When deciding whether or not to attend the convocation at your community college, keep the following in mind.

Related: Do Community Colleges Really Accept Everyone Who Applies?

1. A graduation is a once-in-a-lifetime event

Graduating from community college is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It's not really something that everyone has the opportunity to do in their lifetime. It's a major milestone in your life and missing it might leave you with regret later.

It allows you to let go of the stress of years of hard work, as well as bring closure to years of effort and you get to celebrate with those who have accompanied you on this journey. 

Even if you are fortunate enough to have another opportunity to graduate, it will not be for this specific accomplishment. Take this opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate your achievement.

2. A time to pat yourself on the back

It is not for the faint of heart to study for a qualification. It can be stressful, demanding, and time-consuming. 

Add up all those late evenings studying before a test or early mornings hurrying to get to class on time. We know it was difficult at times, but now is the time to reflect and realize it was well worth the effort. 

This is the time to congratulate yourself and be proud of what you've accomplished. This is important as psychologists believe that celebrating major milestones and achievements in education and career gives you the energy to go further and remain motivated.

3. It's possible that this is the final time you and many of your classmates will see each other

This may sound a little depressing, but individuals go on to other things after graduation, whether it's new careers or new studies. People promise to keep in touch, but life gets in the way, and you won't see them every day like you would in class. 

Convocation is a time to celebrate with the people who have accompanied you on this journey, reminisce about all of the incredible moments you've shared, and wish each other good luck in the future.

4. Friends and family are invited to join you in celebrating!

There is a good chance that your friends and family have been an integral part of your journey through college. Your parents might have made many sacrifices to get you a college education. Your older siblings might have helped you out with chores before an exam.

Graduation isn't just a day for you to be proud of yourself; it's also a day when your friends and family are proud of you so it is also their day. Put on your gown, walk up to the podium, and accept your award while watching your loved ones beam with happiness.

5. A landmark event that signals change

This is the point at which you transition into the actual world. Your graduation ceremony will become a moment in your life, a symbol of change, development, and the beginning of new adventures. 

Moving forward many students leave their homes and even move to other states to pursue post-graduation degrees or careers. Take a minute to reflect on everything you've accomplished so far and the memories you've made as a result of this part of your education.

The accreditation you've earned is more than just a piece of paper; it's proof that you can accomplish things and see them through to completion. When it comes to launching your career, this is tremendous. 

That tiny piece of paper is proof to yourself as much as it is for others, that you have what it takes, whether you're making your way up the corporate ladder or into the family business.

6. It's fun!

Sure the long speeches are not for everyone and the long wait before your name is called out can be taxing but what could be more fun than being surrounded by the people you care about at an event organized to honor your accomplishments? 

Then there are the after-parties at school, with friends, and with family. Trust me you are making memories that you will remember for a long time.

College Students graduating
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk frrom Pexels 

Reasons why some people skip their graduation ceremony

Skipping university graduation ceremony? Not everybody feels graduation ceremonies are a good idea. We talked to some students who skipped their ceremonies and asked them why they did it. We are sharing their reasons so that you can make an informed decision of your own:

1. It's a waste of both time and money

Many people feel it's a waste of time to wait for hours before your name is called out. At universities where thousands of names are called out it could be quite a long wait. People will get really bored just sitting there listening to hundreds of names they don’t even recognize.

It costs to just sit for hours and wait for your turn and that is not something everyone will find enjoyable. You have to pay for the gown, the picture, and other things which vary from school to school.

2. Don’t just do it for the social media

Unless you truly cherish this experience, you should avoid the event. Don’t just waste your time so that you can put a social media post and get a few likes.

Some students feel that this is just done to get some attention and that in itself is fundamentally troubling. So unless you are genuinely excited and looking forward to the event, don’t just attend it because you want a few thumbs up.

3. You will be in touch with your closest friends anyway

Not everyone buys into the argument that graduation ceremonies are the last time you get to see your friends. I mean sure, it is the last time you will see many of them but the friends you are truly close to, you will probably remain in touch with.

So these were some of the reasons why you should or should not attend graduation ceremonies at a community college.

What if I am unable to attend?

If you are unable to attend your graduation ceremony, you can either graduate in absentia or postpone it for up to a year. When you receive your invitation to register, you can choose to do one of these two things:

  • Graduating in absentia means that you will get your degree but will not be present at the graduation ceremony. You will not be permitted to attend a later ceremony if you want to graduate in absentia. This option is ideal if you feel convocations are not your thing.
  • If you are unable to attend your graduation ceremony, you can postpone it for up to a year and graduate with the next batch. Of course, you will not have any of your friends around by then but you still get to mark a landmark moment for yourself.

Final thoughts

It is critical that you take the time to appreciate and enjoy your university degree, regardless of how long it takes you to complete it. This is why it is so important to attend your graduation. It allows you to appreciate the hard work you've put in and to celebrate it in style with all of your friends and family!

Another important reason is to mark a major change in your life as you move on to bigger and better things like a master’s degree or a job. A convocation helps bring closure to one chapter of your life and marks the beginning of new adventures.

But not everybody feels that way and some just want their degree to be handed to them privately without the hassle of a whole convocation. These people also have their reasons and we have shared that as well.

In the end, it is a personal choice to attend or not to attend. We hope that this article was of help to you in making that decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a graduation ceremony important?

Why graduation is memorable and meaningful?

Will I regret not walking at graduation?

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