Commencement vs. Graduation
A commencement ceremony is often referred to as "Graduation", but they are not always the same thing. For San Diego Mesa College, the commencement ceremony is the end-of-year celebration in May for students that have completed or are expected to complete their graduation requirements. Students that completed their graduation requirements in the prior Fall or Summer semesters can also participate in the May commencement ceremony.
Student do not receive their diplomas at the commencement ceremony. Diplomas for summer, fall, and spring graduates are mailed directly to the students after they complete their graduation process.
Graduation, on the other hand, is a multiple step process of developing an educational plan, completing your course requirements, and submitting a Petition for Graduation.
The term in which you have officially and successfully completed all of your graduation requirements is when you graduate. Once your final grades are posted, your academic records will be evaluated to determine if you completed all requirements and your diploma will be sent to you by mail to the address listed on Reg-E. Check out the Before You Can Graduate page for a step by step process to graduating.
Are you ready to graduate?
Below are the 6 steps you need to take to ensure you graduate and can paticipate in the May Commencement Ceremony.
☑ Step 1: See a COunselor - Create an Education Plan
You will need to schedule an appointment to meet with a counselor to develop your
educational plan for the specific degree or certificate you are pursuing. Students
can meet with their counselor in EOPS, DSPS, STAR/TRIO, or General Counseling Office.
In order to schedule an appointment the following criteria must be met:
- You've completed the Math and English Assessments, or have completed a Math and English class (any level).
- If you are currently attending or have attended other colleges/universities outside
of SDCCD, you must submit all official transcripts from these colleges. Mail transcripts
San Diego Community College District
Attn: Transcript Department
3375 Camino Del Rio South, Suite 100
San Diego, CA 92108
- Transcripts from other colleges/universities must be evaluated for course equivalency. Contact the Counseling Office to request your transcript be evaluated.
Please Note: Depending on the counseling department there may be additional criteria that must be met before making an appointment. Check with EOPS, DSPS, STAR/TRIO, or General Counseling Office to see if there is additional criteria that must be met.
☑ Step 2: Petition for Graduation
Once you have an educational plan for the degree or certificate you wish to receive, you need to submit a Petition for Graduation.
- You can submit this petition up to two (2) semesters before you plan to finish your
classes/graduate. However, it is recommend to submit your petition the semester before
Example: If you are graduating in Spring, you can petition as early as the Summer semester before, but it is recommended to submit the petition in the Fall semester before.
All transcripts from other colleges/universities attended must be on file prior to
submitting the Petition for Graduation form.
**Transcripts may be waived for petition for a Certificate of Achievement, if all coursework for the certification has been completed within the District. See Transcript section.
WHERE TO SUBMIT THE PETITION FOR GRADUATION:
- Online on E-Grades: https://studentweb.sdccd.edu/e-grades, OR
- With a Counselor in EOPS, DSPS, STAR/TRIO, or General Counseling Office, OR
- In the Evaluations Office in Room I4-306 (3rd floor of I-400 building)
PETITION DEADLINES FOR 2017-2018
- October 2, 2017 - Deadline to file a Petition for Graduation ONLY For students transferring to a CSU in either Winter 2018 or Spring 2018 and is completing an Associate Degree for Transfer(ADT).
- November 14, 2017 - Deadline to file a Petition for Graduation and be a Fall 2017 graduate. Students filing after this date will be Spring 2018 graduates.
- February 15, 2018 - Deadline to file a Petition for Graduation ONLY for students transferring to a CSU in Fall 2018 and is completing an Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) in Spring 2018.
- March 23, 2018 - Deadline to file a Petition for Graduation for Spring 2018 and ensure your name
will be included in the Commencement Program.
**Students filing after this date but before April 30, 2018 will still be Spring 2018 graduates but their name may not be in the Commencement Program.**
- April 30, 2018 - Deadline to file a Petition for Graduation and be a Spring 2018 graduate. Students filing after this date will be Summer 2018 graduates.
- July 31, 2018 - Deadline to file a Petition for Graduation and be a Summer 2018 graduate. Students filing after this date will be Fall 2018 graduates.
☑ sTEP 3: wAIT FOR yOUR dEGREE eVALUATION tO ARRIVE IN THE MAIL
Once you submit your Petition for Graduation, a degree evaluation will be completed and then a copy of the evaluation will be mailed to you.
- A degree evaluation shows all requirements for degree or certificate completion and the courses that have been taken to fulfill those requirements. Any outstanding requirements are indicated and must be completed before the Associate Degree or Certificate of Achievement will be awarded.
- Make sure your mailing address is up to date. You can update your mailing address on Reg-E.
- It may take up to 3-4 months to receive your degree evaluation in the mail.
- When your evaluation arrives in the mail, READ the evaluation letter carefully and review the copy of your degree evaluation to ensure you are on the right track to complete your major requirements.
- If you have trouble understanding the evaluation, contact your counselor.
Step 4: Receive an invitation for the commencement ceremony
Graduation with Honors
Graduation with honors distinction is based upon all coursework that is associate degree and lower division baccalaureate degree applicable or coursework applicable to the certificate of achievement.
- Honors is granted to students who achieve an overall 3.5 GPA.
- High Honors is granted to students who achieve an overall 3.75 GPA.
- Highest Honors is granted to students who achieve an overall 4.0 GPA.
Students will be notified that the honors distinction is pending at the time of the graduation ceremony, when the GPA is calculated based upon degree or certificate applicable coursework completed through the fall semester of the year of the ceremony. The final honors distinction will be determined upon completion of all coursework completed through the spring semester for spring graduates or the summer term for summer graduates and fall semester for fall graduates.
An honors notation is placed on the student's official transcript and diploma.
Other Honors Topics - Not related to graduating with honors
Students who maintain continuous enrollment may choose to graduate under the college catalog in effect at the time they began their studies in a California Community College, California State University, or University of California campus, or under the catalog in effect at the time of graduation.
Continuous enrollment is defined as attendance in one semester or two quarters (excluding summer) within a calendar year in the CSU, UC, or California Community College System.
Certification of a student's completion of CSU general education requirements or the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) is not a graduation requirement. Therefore, students do not have catalog rights to a certification pattern used by a certifying institution or a CSU or UC campus.
Diplomas for associate degrees and certificates of achievement are automatically mailed to the student's official address on file. Students are responsible for updating address changes within the reg-e system. Diplomas are mailed usually eight weeks after of the end of the semester.
To order a duplicate copy of your diploma:
- Contact the Evaluations Office to verify degree/certificate completion.
- Complete the Processing Fees for Reissuing Diplomas form and take the form to the Accounting office to pay the $10 reissue fee.
- Return to the Evaluations Office with the form and proof of payment.
- Reissued diplomas take approximately four weeks for processing.
Certificate of Performance
Certificates of Performance are departmental awards and do not appear on student's transcripts.
Certificate of Performance Requirements:
- Students much achieve a grade of “C” or better in each of the required courses.
- Complete all required course work in the San Diego Community College District.
- Course substitutions or course equivalencies from other colleges may not be used to satisfy Certificate of Performance requirements
Once a student has completed all requirements and all grades are officially posted on a student academic record, students may petition to receive their Certificate of Performance by visiting the Evaluations Office.