Senior Commencement Process

2016 Ceremony. Photo Credit: GradImages

Congratulations Class of 2018!

We look forward to celebrating with you on Saturday, June 16, 2018 at 2:00pm in the UCSC Quarry Ampitheater.

The following steps will ensure you are set up for success in your graduation and commencement. Please read thoroughly and keep a look out for emails

IMPORTANT: If you are NOT a Rachel Carson Affiliate, but would like to participate in the Rachel Carson Commencement Ceremony, please see the Non-Affiliate Petition page.


STEP 1: Know the Difference between GRADUATION and COMMENCEMENT!
STEP 2: Register for Rachel Carson College Commencement
STEP 3: Check your "Public Information" status
STEP 4: Order Your Cap & Gown
STEP 5: Submit Disability Accommodation Requests
STEP 6: Understand Parking & Transportation Services  
STEP 7: Attend Rachel Carson College Commencement Rehearsal 
STEP 8: Celebrate Graduation Day! June 17th!

Step 1: Know the Difference Between GRADUATION and COMMENCEMENT!

Your college commencement ceremony and graduation from UCSC are two separate things.

  • At UCSC, graduation is the act of conferring an academic degree – receiving your degree or diploma.
  • Commencement is a ceremony, where you walk across the stage, symbolizing the end of your undergraduate career.

Graduation and commencement have separate online processes and timelines.


Apply to graduate (degree completion and diploma) for the quarter in which you will be finishing your graduation requirements. DO NOT apply to graduate for Spring if you will be finishing your final graduation requirements in a subsequent quarter.

To apply to graduate, you must submit an application via your Student Portal by the posted deadlines to announce candidacy. There is more information about how to apply to graduate on the Registrar’s Office website.


This page includes all 8 steps for you to prepare to participate in the Rachel Carson College Commencement Ceremony. Please keep reading to learn how to register, where to order your cap and gown, and all other related information. 



STEP 2: Register online for Rachel Carson College Commencement by Friday, May 4th at 11:59pm.

Click Here to Register for Commencement. 

Rachel Carson College students who plan to complete all requirements by the end of Fall 2018 are eligible to participate in the June commencement ceremony. Late registration will be available, but names may not be printed the commencement program. 

Commencement communication is sent through please ensure this address is not blocked or in the spam folder.



STEP 3: Check your "Public Information" status. 

All students have a “Public Information” status (a.k.a. Directory Restriction, FERPA or NRI) with the Office of the Registrar. The status of your personal information is currently set as either “Releasable” or “Restricted.”  If your status is set to “restricted”, the University may not release any information about you. Some students set their status to “RESTRICTED” without being aware of the implications. It is imperative that you check and confirm your status.

  • If your status is set to “RESTRICTED” as of May 5th RCC is required by law to NOT print your name in the print program, regardless of your wishes.
  • If your status is set to “RELEASABLE” as of May 5th we can and will print your name in the program, provided you have registered via Step 2. 
Check your portal to update. If you have special circumstances and wish to retain a “restricted” status but also wish to have your name printed in the program, please contact For detailed instructions on how to change the options, please click here.


STEP 4: Order your cap & gown.

Caps and gowns are strongly encouraged for the commencement ceremony. By ordering through the bookstore, you will receive a keepsake cap and tassle in addition to the rented gown. Announcements, stoles, diploma frames and other custom items are also available at the Bay Tree Bookstore Online Gradutaion Center for purchase.

Your cap and gown will be made available for pickup at the Baytree Bookstore prior to commencement. Immediately after your ceremony, rented gowns can be dropped off at the ceremony site.



STEP 5: Submit Disability Accommodation Requests by Friday, May 4th.

American Sign Language

If you or a guest will require sign language interpretation, please contact CPC Emily Davis (, 831-459-4902) no later than Friday, May 4. Though we will make every effort, we cannot guarantee assistance if a request is made after May 4, due to the high demand for university-approved interpreters during the commencement season.

Disability Parking

Each student registered for the RCC ceremony can pick up their two parking passes from the Student Life Office beginning Monday, June 11, 2018. Students may swap out one or both of these event parking permits for a disability lot parking permit (no special request or advance notice is needed).

The only benefit of a disability pass is that the lot is serviced by UCSC vans that have wheelchair-lift capabilities. Please obtain a disability pass only if your guest will benefit because they:

  • Use a wheelchair or electric scooter, or
  • Are physically unable to board the steps up into a campus shuttle, or
  • Will be driving themselves and are unable to walk from a parked car in East Remote to the internal shuttle stop (those that are not driving themselves can be dropped at the internal shuttle stop and wait while the driver parks).

Guests with a regular commencement pass can shuttle from their designated parking area and will disembark in the same location as the vans from disability parking. The wait for a shuttle from the main parking area is significantly shorter than the wait at the disability lot (because there are far more shuttles than disability vans), which is why a disability lot permit should only be acquired in the above circumstances. Thank you!

Wheelchair Seating

There is a limited amount of wheelchair accessible seating available in the Quarry Ampitheater. Please help us accommodate everyone's needs by noting in your registration form your needs:

  • Wheelchair seating (space to sit in a personal wheelchair)
  • Wheelchair transportation (assistance getting to seat due to limited mobility, do not have a personal wheelchair)

If a guest in your party will be sitting in wheelchair seating, please plan to have no more than 1 other person accompany them in the accessible seating area, due to limited space.

Any other requests...

Please note on your registration form or email We will do our best to make all necessary accommodations.


STEP 6: Understand parking & transportation services.

Parking on campus is limited during commencement. Each registered graduate will receive only two (2) parking passes for the day, so you may need to carpool, shuttle, bus, or walk. Passes can be picked up June 11th - June 15th at the Student Life Office, from 9am-5pm only. Photo ID will be required for pick up. If you do not live in Santa Cruz and/or cannot pick up your parking passes, we recommend you find a friend or classmate who can come and pick up your passes for you. Please notify the Student Life Office at of your intentions so that we can verify we are giving the right passes to the right person.


STEP 7: Attend Commencement Rehearsal on June 15th at 11:30am-12:30pm.

A brief Commencement Rehearsal will be held, meeting at the Quarry Amphitheater. We will do a "walk through" of the ceremony procedures and answer any last-minute questions. This is an important part of your commencement experience and ensures you will be confident in knowing what to do on commencement day. Don't miss it!


STEP 8: Celebrate! Rachel Carson Commencement Ceremony - Saturday, June 16, 2:00pm

  • Grads should arrive and check-in at least ONE HOUR EARLY.
  • Guests may begin arriving at the Quarry Amphitheater to find their seats at 1:00pm.
  • Ceremony will begins promptly at 2:00pm and will end at 3:30pm.

A few tips to enjoy the day...

  • If your guests will be using your 2 parking passes, it is recommended that you take a bus or carpool with your guests or other grads.
  • Don't forget to bring your cap, gown, tassle, and sunscreen!
  • Arrive to the check-in location by 1:00pm.
  • When you sign in you will pick up your Photo Card & Reader Card. These cards will be created using the information you provide online when you registered. The photo card is given to the photographer. The reader card is given to a staff or faculty member and read while you cross the stage.
  • Please note that there will be uneven and sloped ground leading to the ceremony site. Stiletto heels are strongly discouraged.
  • At the end of the ceremony, there will be a disignated area to return your gown.




Senior Committee

Are you passionate about the Rachel Carson Class of 2018? Join Senior Committee to make an impact in your final quarter. Senior Committee members select the senior gift, plan a senior celebration, help select the student speaker, and support commencement planning in general. Commitment includes attending weekly meetings beginning Week 1 of Spring Quarter. Join by March 1! Sign up here.

 Commencement Ceremony Participation

We have 3 opportunities for students to participate in the ceremony on June 17. Check your interests in your commencement registration, or fill out the involvement form to sign up for any of the following opportunities:

  • Multi-Lingual Greeters (several spots available)
  • Student Speaker (one spot available, application and interview process)
  • Student Performer (one spot available, auditions will be held)



To be eligible for University Honors, students must have completed 70 or more units at the University of California and have attained in their group a UC GPA that places them in the rankings as follows: Summa Cum Laude, top 2 percent; Magna Cum Laude, next 3 percent; Cum Laude, next 10 percent. Each year and for each group, the Registrar will calculate the GPA thresholds required for these levels of University Honors, based on the GPAs of recent graduates. For more information on University Honors, please refer to the Registrar's web page at

Please note: Because "University Honors" are determined on the basis of final grades after the end of spring quarter, this notation will appear on the diploma and transcript only, and will  be listed as “candidates for university honors” in the commencement program.


As guests may not approach the stage to take photographs of their graduates, professional photographers will be present, taking close-up, individual photographs of each graduate as they walk across the stage and receive their scroll, as well as two additional posed shots. Within a few days of the ceremony, you will receive proofs of your photos (sent to the email you listed on your registration form) and you are at no obligation to purchase.