Graduation vs. Commencement
Q: What is the difference between graduation and commencement?
A: Graduation is the completion of all degree requirements as recorded on the official transcript. Commencement is the ceremony that celebrates the completion of a degree. Participation in the virtual commencement ceremony does not imply that you have officially graduated.
Q: Do students have to apply for graduation?
A: Yes, you must apply for graduation online through WebAdvisor. Graduation applications must be submitted by Friday, Feb. 14, 2020, to avoid paying an additional late fee. More information regarding the graduation application process can be found here. If you have already completed your graduation application, you can check the status of your application by signing into Webadvisor and clicking on "Status of Graduation Application" under the Academic Planning section. Application status needs to state "Processing with the Office of the Registrar" by Thursday, July 9, at 5 p.m., to have your name included in the printed program.
About the Summer Virtual Commencement Ceremony
Q: Why are we not having an in-person ceremony at Brooks Stadium?
A: Safety, prevention, and mitigation efforts remain a top priority of the faculty, staff, and administration at Coastal Carolina University. We regret that we are unable to safely host a large gathering of 400+ graduates and their family and guests for a commencement ceremony at Brooks Stadium on August 7, 2020. Please note: The Center for Disease Control recognizes this type of event as the “Highest Risk” category.
To navigate the ever-changing circumstances of Covid-19, the University has adopted the standards outlined in the executive orders of Governor McMaster, the CDC guidelines, and accelerateSC guidelines.
Several recommendations have contributed to the decision to celebrate graduates virtually this summer. Here are a few:
Face-coverings - Staff and attendees would be required to wear a face-covering for the entirety of the ceremony. The particularly hot and humid climate in South Carolina in August could harm the health of attendees and staff for prolonged periods.
Resources – Additional staff and trained crowd control is a significant recommendation as we explore the return of large, in-person events. Because of Covid-19, CCU continues to operate at a limited capacity. Several resources (including staff working hours) have been limited. Without the proper amount of staff, we are unable to ensure the safety of all attendees.
Staff Training – Staff working the commencement ceremony must be educated on all safety measures necessary, this includes attendance counting, taking temperatures before attendees enter, sanitizing outdoor seating areas, ensuring guests wear masks, etc.
In addition to these recommendations, Coastal Carolina University continues to monitor testing data and projections provided by SCDHEC. The summer months boast numerous visitors to Conway’s neighboring city, Myrtle Beach. The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Horry County over the past month has increased at a rapid rate. In response, the University is taking all measures possible to prevent the spread of Covid-19 as we continue to prepare for the comeback of students for the Fall 2020 semester.
Q: When will the summer virtual commencement take place?
A: The virtual summer commencement ceremony will premiere at 6 p.m. EDT on Friday, Aug. 7, on the University's YouTube channel. A formal electronic invitation with a link to the virtual ceremony will be emailed to the graduates CCU email address the week of Aug. 3.
Q: Where can I find up-to-date information about the virtual commencement ceremony?
A: Detailed information regarding commencement can be found online at coastal.edu/commencement. Click on the “Summer Commencement” tab to find useful information. Also, follow us on Facebook @CCUGRADS ». Ceremony recordings and highlight videos from past commencement ceremonies are viewable on the CCU Commencement YouTube channel ».
Q: What will the format of the virtual commencement ceremony look like?
A: Similar to a traditional summer commencement ceremony, there will be one virtual ceremony for graduates from all five colleges on campus. The virtual ceremony will incorporate many traditional customs associated with on-campus commencement exercises, including formal remarks from the president and provost; a message from the commencement speaker; the official conferring of graduate and undergraduate academic degrees; and the playing of the alma mater. The virtual ceremony will feature individual recognition slides as graduate names are read.
Q: Will the virtual commencement ceremony be archived for future viewing?
A: Yes, the ceremony will be archived for future viewing on-demand on the Coastal Carolina University Commencement YouTube channel.
Q: How do I know if my name will be listed in the program and called during the virtual commencement ceremony?
A: Students who submitted their graduation applications by the original deadline of Friday, Feb. 14, 2020, should be included in the printed program and the virtual ceremony as long as their application status currently states, “Processing with the Office of the Registrar”. Students that completed their graduation late (after the Feb. 14, 2020 deadline), must have an application status that reads “Processing with the Office of the Registrar” by Thursday, July 9, at 5 p.m. EDT, for their name to be listed in the printed program.
For a student’s name to be called during the virtual ceremony, their graduation application status needs to read, “Processing with the Office of the Registrar” by Sunday, July 19, at 5 p.m. EDT. Students can check the status of their application by signing into WebAdvisor and clicking on “Status of Graduation Application” under the Academic Planning section.
Deadlines related to the virtual commencement ceremony:
Friday, Feb. 14 - Deadline to complete a graduation application for summer 2020 commencement without paying a late fee.
Thursday, July 9, at 5 p.m. EDT - Deadline for a name to appear in the printed program. Please note: graduation application status needs to read, “Processing with the Office of the Registrar.” Students can check the status of their grad application by signing into WebAdvisor and clicking on “Status of Graduation Application” under the Academic Planning section.
Sunday, July 19, at 5 p.m. EDT - Deadline to complete the Graduate Submission for Virtual Commencement form and submit a change of address for the grad packet mailing. Please note: if a change of address was not submitted on the graduate submission form, the grad packet will be mailed to the address provided on the student's graduation application.
Grad Packets, Honor Stole, Regalia, Class Ring, and Graduation Announcements
Q: What will be in my grad packet?
A: Grad packets will be mailed the week of July 27 to summer 2020 graduates. Unless you submitted a change of address on the graduate submission form, your packet will be mailed to the address you provided on your graduation application. The following will be included in the packet:
- Two (2) hard copy commencement programs.
- A CCU Alumni flag.
- Information regarding your automatic one-year membership to the Alumni Association.
- Honor stole.* (must be purchased through the ODK website)
- Veteran stole.* (must be purchased through Veteran Services)
- Sun Belt Conference/CCU Department of Athletics stoles and/or cords.*
- CCU organizational cords.*
* For qualifying students
Q: How do I know if I am graduating with honors?
A: In determining honors for the virtual commencement ceremony, the student's GPA from the Spring 2020 semester (or the start of the Summer 2020 semester) is used.
All students who meet the minimum GPA requirement and the 60-hour residency requirement will receive an email from the Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) faculty advisor, email@example.com, notifying them of eligibility to order an honor stole. If you did not receive an email from ODK and believe that you might be eligible, please contact the Office of the Registrar at firstname.lastname@example.org or 843-349-2019. Visit coastal.edu/odk, to order honor stole by Friday, July 17.
Summa cum Laude: a cumulative GPA of 4.0
Magna cum Laude: a cumulative GPA of 3.75 - 3.99
Cum Laude: a cumulative GPA of 3.5-3.74
Graduation with honors that are recognized at commencement ceremonies is based upon the student's cumulative grade point average available at the beginning of the semester of graduation. Actual graduation with honors is calculated after the final semester's grades have been received and certified and will be indicated on the diploma and official transcript.
Q: Can I still order regalia?*
A: Yes, regalia must be ordered Friday, July 17, to receive before the virtual ceremony.
Bachelor's regalia is available to purchase online through Oak Hall. Bachelor's regalia package (cap, gown, and tassel) costs $70.95 plus tax (includes shipping and handling). Order Regalia »
Master's regalia is available to purchase online through Oak Hall. Master's regalia package (cap, gown, hood, and tassel) costs $115.95 plus tax (includes shipping and handling). Order Regalia »
Q: Can I still order graduation announcements and a class ring?*
A: Yes, class rings and announcements will continue to be processed as ordered. Balfour is the official CCU vendor for class rings and announcements. Class rings need to be ordered by Monday, June 29, and graduation announcements need to be ordered by Monday, July 6, to receive before the virtual ceremony. Order now »
Future In-Person Commencement Ceremony
Q: When will I be able to participate in a traditional ceremony on campus? Do I need to register or sign up? Can I still participate in a future ceremony if I participate in the virtual commencement?
A: CCU is committed to having students and their families return for in-person celebrations when public health guidelines allow. Potential dates, logistics, and activities for in-person recognition are currently being explored. As more information is known regarding the current COVID-19 pandemic and the continued need for social distancing, the University will be able to provide more details. At this time, no action is required on the graduates’ behalf. Participation in the virtual commencement ceremony will not prevent a graduate from being able to participate in a future in-person ceremony.
Post Commencement Details
Q: When will I receive my diploma?
A: The Office of the Registrar will review graduation applications once final grading is complete. Because this occurs on a rolling basis, diplomas will be mailed four to eight weeks after the date of the ceremony (Aug. 7). Diplomas will be mailed to the address specified on your graduation application unless the graduate submitted a change of address on the graduate submission form. Please visit, https://www.coastal.edu/registrar/diplomainformation/, for more information.
Q: How do I know if I graduated?
A: An email regarding a degree candidate’s graduation status will be sent to their coastal email address once it is determined. Graduation status can also be viewed by logging into WebAdvisor. Electronic transcripts can be ordered, which display the degree earned and the date the degree was conferred. More information on transcripts »
To be eligible for graduation, the student must meet all course requirements, all “in residence” requirements, all departmental or program requirements, and have submitted a graduation application. Graduates must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Coastal Carolina University, and have earned the minimum hours as determined by the degree (120 earned hours minimum). If a student has received a grade of I (incomplete) for any of his or her classes for the current term (or have an “I” from a previous term), he or she must have completed all coursework and turned it in to the instructor by the end of the term.
Q: How do I join the Alumni Association?
A: All summer 2020 graduates will automatically receive a one-year membership to the CCU Alumni Association. Visit coastal.edu/alumni/alumnibenefits/ to view all the included membership benefits. Your official CCU Alumni Association membership card will be mailed to the address you supplied on your graduation application. Please feel free to use your Alumni Relations department as a resource for any questions that you may have after graduation and stay connected by sending them an email anytime at email@example.com or calling 843-349-ALUM.
*Please Note: Due to the continuing unforeseen impacts of COVID-19, we cannot guarantee any delivery times. We work with the manufacturer of each product to establish a deadline that will hopefully get the product to the consumer before the commencement date.