• Frequently Asked Questions about Graduation and College Commencement

  • What is the difference between graduation and commencement?
    Graduation refers to receiving a certificate or degree once a student has satisfied all certificate or degree requirements as verified by the Admissions, Registration and Records Office. After the verification process, the certificate or degree is printed, mailed and posted to the student’s Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) record. The mailing and posting process for spring term certificates and degrees usually takes 6-8 weeks after term grades are recorded.

    Commencement is a ceremony that allows students, family and friends to celebrate in the student’s academic accomplishments. Participation in the ceremony does not mean the student has graduated and students do not receive their certificate or degree at the ceremony.
    What do I need to do to graduate?
    Students must apply to graduate. The application should be submitted two terms prior to the term of completion. It is strongly encouraged that students meet frequently with their adviser throughout the year and prior to submitting a graduation application to ensure progress toward completion of a degree/certificate. Apply Now!
    Will I receive information about my graduation status and Commencement ceremony?
    Once the graduation application is submitted, an email confirming we have received the application is sent to the address specified in your request. By mid-May, information regarding Commencement is mailed to all students who have applied for graduation. Additionally, information is posted on the Commencement web page as details become available so check back periodically for updated information.
    Can I go to the ceremony if my certificate or degree requirements are not going to be complete by the end of spring term?
    Yes. Students completing their requirements at a later date may attend Commencement Ceremony regardless of the amount of credits still needed. Again, students do not receive their diploma, certificate or degree on the day of the ceremony. They receive an empty cover and the actual certificate or degree will be sent later upon completion of all requirements.
    If I don’t finish my degree requirements in the term I marked on my graduation application, what will happen?
    Your application stays on file for two terms after the term you planned to graduate (specified on the application). If your term of planned graduation changes, you should notify our office by emailing grad.apps@mhcc.edu.
    How do I get my name in the commencement program and is there a deadline?
    You need to apply for graduation by filling out the online application form. You will find the application deadline on the form.
    Can I attend the ceremony if my name is not in the program?
    YES! When students cross the stage to receive their diploma/certificate/degree cover, their names are announced from a card, not from the commencement program.
    What if I attend the ceremony and forget to fill out the application for graduation?
    You must fill out an application in order to be evaluated for the certificate or degree and to then receive the certificate or degree, if eligible. Apply Now!
    What does my GPA have to be in order to qualify for honors?
    MHCC Honors Students: Students graduating with school honors have an MHCC cumulative grade point average of 3.65 or higher as of the winter term before Commencement Ceremony. Honors regalia may be purchased from Rho Theta. Students do not need to be members to purchase honor cords. The cost for an honor cord is $15 plus $5 for shipping. Orders should be placed by June 7, 2023 to assure delivery before commencement. Click here to order.

    Rho Theta: Members of Phi Theta Kappa honor society must have an MHCC cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher as of the winter term before Commencement Ceremony to wear Phi Theta Kappa honors regalia. You can order directly from the Phi Theta Kappa store by using your membership number to log into the website www.ptk.org, or you can buy regalia through Rho Theta, MHCC’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa and save some money on shipping. Rho Theta is a student-run organization, so office hours are limited, but the Rho Theta office in the library will be staffed additional hours for regalia sales. Regalia sales will be held in early May, and the regalia will be available on a first come, first served basis until all items have been sold. The sales schedule will be sent by email to Rho Theta members who have applied for graduation.
    Where can I find cap and gown information?
    If you have applied for graduation, you will be sent a letter with detailed information for ordering your cap and gown by May. Additionally, the Commencement letter will be posted online on our graduation page, www.mhcc.edu/Graduation, follow the Commencement link to get to current year's information.

    ASMHCC Cap and Gown Program: The Associated Students of MHCC (ASMHCC) provide caps and gowns to students for free on a limited basis. The cap and gown rental program was established by the ASMHCC to assist MHCC students who cannot afford to purchase a cap and gown for graduation. Students MUST return their gown to help future students in need and keep the program sustainable. The cap and tassel can be kept by students; they are not required to be returned. If you have questions, please contact Rozina Lethe at Rozina.Lethe@mhcc.edu. To request a free loaner cap and gown, click HERE.

    How many guests can I invite to graduation and are tickets required?
    There is no limit to the amount of guests you may invite to Commencement Ceremony. However, we are combining ceremonies this year and recommend up to 10 guests per graduate. Tickets are not required for entry.
    When should I expect to receive my degree/certificate?
    The degrees/certificates will be mailed after final grades have been posted and the degree audit completed. Please allow 6-8 weeks for this process. Be sure that the Admissions, Registration and Records Office have your correct address by calling 503-491-7393 or checking online via MyMHCC.
    I am not going to be able to attend the ceremony. Are graduation portraits available at a different time?
    Unfortunately, no. Graduation portraits are only taken at the Commencement ceremony.
    Do I have to attend the Commencement rehearsal?
    No, Commencement rehearsal is not mandatory although we highly recommend attending if you can.
    Can I bring my pet to Commencement?
    No animals are permitted on campus grounds. For more information, see https://www.mhcc.edu/AR-4080-H.