What’s the difference between graduation and commencement?

Graduation is the act of completing the requirements and receiving a degree in a chosen program. Commencement is the ceremony celebrating students who are graduating.

Your eligibility to graduate is determined by the status of your degree audit. After registering for your last semester of classes, check your degree audit to make sure all requirements will be met with currently enrolled in or registered courses. If not, contact your Academic Advisor/Student success Navigator. For help reading your degree audit, please visit our degree audit website.

  • Missouri Civics Exam:  All students graduating with an associate degree must pass the Missouri Civics Exam prior to graduation. Please check your degree audit for more information and to complete this requirement.

Filling out the graduation application ensures that your name will be printed in the official commencement program at the ceremony. It’s easy to apply online in myOTC by clicking the Graduation button. You can also download the Printable Application for Graduation, scan it or take a picture of it with your phone, and email it to registrar@otc.edu, or drop off the form at the Student Services office at any OTC location.

  • When should I apply? Students should apply for graduation early in the semester they will finish their last requirement. NOTE: Summer 2023 graduates should apply for summer graduation but submit their application in early spring in order to be included in the commencement ceremony program.
  • What is the graduation application deadline? Applications will be accepted until the last day of classes for a student’s final semester. All late applications will be reviewed on an individual basis. Students who miss the deadline may graduate at the end of the following term.
  • How do I make sure my name is printed in the official commencement ceremony program? All students who wish to have their name listed in the commencement ceremony program must have their graduation application submitted by April 1to be guaranteed.

Some programs of study may require an exit assessment. Click here for more information.

Students who have borrowed student loans are required to complete exit counseling. Click here for more information.

OTC holds one commencement ceremony each year in May to recognize the graduates from that academic year. All students who graduated the prior summer and fall, or will graduate in the current spring or summer are invited to attend. Attending commencement is not required in order to graduate. For more information on commencement, please visit our commencement ceremony information website.