Common Questions About Commencement

As you are likely aware, North Central College has made significant changes to the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year with the goal of minimizing the public health risk to the campus community as it relates to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Those changes include the suspension of in-person undergraduate classes through the end of spring semester, and, sadly, canceling our 2020 Commencement ceremony and related events. In the coming days, we will evaluate our options for celebrating the scholarly achievements of our students and the Class of 2020, and will communicate accordingly. Please visit the College’s website ( for additional information, resources, and a continually evolving list of FAQs.

Q: Do I have to be registered for all that I need to graduate before I actually apply?
A: No! That's what the official graduation audit is for. It will tell you what you have left to do. To find out what requirements you still need to fill go to Merlin and look at your Program Evaluation. Click here for Graduation Requirements.

Q: How do I apply to graduate?
A: Pick up a graduation application at the Registrar's Office or print one by clicking on the following link: Graduation Application Form.

The form is easy. Fill in all requested information and have your advisor sign off on it. If you have substitutions in your major or minor, the department chair must sign their approval via a Course Substitution form. Submit the form to the Registrar's Office. Be aware that there are late application fees for submitting your application after the deadline date. For graduation application deadlines, click on the following link: Graduation Application Schedule. Other graduation information may be found on the Registrar's graduation page here.

Q: How do I find out if I have applied for graduation?
A: If you are unsure if you have already filled out the required form for graduation check the last page of your Program Evaluation. It will verify if you have submitted a graduation application.

Q: How do I find out if I have enough credits to graduate?
A: To check your total credit hours go to Merlin and look at your Program Evaluation. This is an unofficial Degree Audit that shows all your graduation requirements, the courses that you have already taken, what you are registered for and your credit totals. This is a great tool to keep tabs on your graduation progress.

Q: How do I order my cap and gown, and other graduation items?
A: You may order your cap and gown online by visiting in order to pickup at Countdown to Commencement. If you order after March 6, then you must order through the North Central College Campus Store. 

Q: Do I have to attend the MANDATORY rehearsal?
A: Yes! All seniors MUST attend. You will receive your seating assignment as well as other important details regarding the ceremony.

Q: Are tickets required for my guests?
A: Tickets will not be needed but seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis so we encourage guests to arrive early. Doors open at 12:30 p.m.

Q: How many commencement ceremonies are there?
A: There is only one commencement ceremony held in early May every year.

Q: Other students have told me that I can still walk in May Commencement even if I'm not actually graduating until June 30 or August 30. Is that true?
A: That is true. There are guidelines, however:
1. You must have an approved Graduation Application and Commencement and Participation form on file with the Registrar's Office. 
2. You must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or better AND 2.0 or better in your major.
3. You will complete graduation requirements by the end of Summer I or Summer II (June 30 or August 30 grad).

If you must take courses in the Fall Semester to complete your graduation requirements, you are not eligible to walk early in Commencement.

Q: What should I wear to the ceremony?
A: There is no specific clothing requirement, but students are asked to please keep in mind that this is a formal academic ceremony.

Q: How long is the ceremony?
A: The Commencement ceremony typically lasts 2 - 2.5 hours.



Q: Who will be taking commencement photographs and how can we order copies?
A: Arrangements have been made with Graduation Images for a professional photographer to record the moment when each graduate receives his or her diploma. Grad Images has developed a new preregistration system which allows the graduates and/or parents to provide their email and mailing address information to Grad Images prior to the ceremony. They are offering 20% discount when they register their email address prior to graduation. For more information, visit

Q: Are strollers allowed?
A: For safety and space reasons, strollers are not allowed. Guests with children may leave their strollers in the monitored drop-off area.

Q: I have special needs and require additional accommodations?
A:  For the ceremony, there will be reserved seating for special needs on a first-come, first-served basis. Upon arrival please check in with ushers and they will assist you. Because seating in the reserved area is limited, only one family member will be able to accompany the individual. If the special needs guest is arriving with a large group, we recommend arriving early to secure seating.

Individuals with special needs requiring additional accommodations, please contact the Office of Business Operations at 630-637-5656 for assistance.

Q: Where are we able to park?
 As with all major campus events, parking near the Residence Hall/Recreation Center for Commencement will be congested. We encourage Commencement guests to utilize campus parking lots north of Chicago Avenue. Street parking is also available, please follow all city of Naperville signage. Information and directional signs will be posted to assist the guests of our graduates.

Limited handicapped parking is available near the Residence Hall/Recreation Center and is highlighted blue. Drop-off is available for elderly or special-needs guests.

Click here for parking map.

Q: Do you have any recommendations for hotels/motels to stay at if we are traveling from out of town?
 North Central College has partnered with some of our Naperville hotels to offer discounted rates to all friends and family of the school. Whether you are visiting, attending a sporting event or seeing a play, one of our hotels can surely accommodate you. Please support those who support us by staying in Naperville!

Click here for Hotels that support North Central College.

Q: Is the Commencement ceremony available in Spanish?
Spanish translation of this year’s Commencement ceremony will be available to those who have made reservations in advance. Starting at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, guests who provide a photo ID can obtain their reserved headsets at the table to the left as they enter the Residence Hall/Recreation Center. The ID will be retained until the headset is returned to the same location.

Q: Where can I buy flowers for my graduate?
A: You can do so RIGHT HERE!

Q: What different restaurant's are recommended in downtown Naperville?
: Make a reservation with one of our Restaurant Partners to complete your graduation celebration. Click here to view our restaurant partners!


We hope that you find this section helpful and informative. If you have any other questions regarding your graduation eligibility please contact the Registrar's Office at 630-637-5252 or If you have any questions regarding the commencement vent itself, contact or call Mary Reynolds at 630-637-5202.