Summer 2018 TBD
The next Chicago ceremony has not been scheduled yet—however, once scheduled, the date and details will be posted here. Visit this page frequently in the coming months for the date and ceremony details, including registration and guest information.
Students are eligible to walk in the graduation ceremony if they have completed all graduation requirements prior to the ceremony date. Students should contact Education Advising to review their remaining credits and requirements in order to determine their degree completion date. Online students can reach Education Advising at 866.522.7747. Ground campus and Learning Center students should contact their Academic team for assistance.
What to Expect at Graduation
The timeline below provides step-by-step information on what to expect up to and during graduation. Please contact email@example.com if you have any questions.
- Step 1: Decide if You Are Attending or Not Attending a Ceremony
If You Are Not Attending a Ceremony
It is not necessary to fill out any forms as the Office of the Registrar will automatically mail your diploma approximately eight weeks after completion of the final class and all program and financial requirements have been confirmed by University officials according to the University Catalog. For questions regarding diplomas, please email the Office of the Registrar at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 866.522.7747 (Toll Free). Proceed to step 6.
- Step 2: Determine Which Ceremony to Attend
You’ve decided to attend a ceremony—great! Here’s what to do next:
- Determine Eligibility—Review your remaining credits and expected graduation date on your degree plan to determine when your degree will be completed as your degree must be completed before the date of the ceremony. You may also contact Education Advising to review your remaining requirements at 866.522.7747, option 3.
- Determine which ceremony is for you—Once you have your expected graduation date, visit the Graduation Center to view the list of ceremonies taking place after your degree is complete. Between the ceremonies for online graduates and the ground campus ceremonies, there are many options to choose from.
- Review Financial Obligations—Participating in the graduation ceremony can be a financial commitment. While there is no cost to attend the actual ceremony, students are responsible for purchasing their cap and gown as well as any costs associated with getting to the ceremony, including airfare, hotel, etc. Because costs vary with each student depending on their needs, we recommend researching your costs before registering to attend the ceremony.
- Step 3: Register to Attend the Ceremony
Complete the online participation form located on the Graduation Center approximately 4 months prior to the ceremony date. Students must register to attend the ceremony by the deadline listed on the Graduation Center. Note: it is not necessary to wait until you reach your final term to register. As long as your Education Advisor has confirmed your degree is scheduled to be completed prior to the ceremony date, you may register as soon as registration opens.
- Order Your Cap and Gown—Caps and gowns are not sold by Kaplan University and will not be available for purchase at the graduation venue. Therefore, they must be ordered prior to the ceremony. Cap and gown orders take up to 7 weeks to process so it is recommended that orders are placed early. Caps and gowns may be purchased through Jostens by clicking here.
- Make Your Travel Plans—Students who do not reside near the ceremony venue are responsible for making all necessary travel plans to get to the ceremony. We recommend booking your airfare and hotel early to avoid high prices.*
- Watch Your Mailbox for Your Graduation Event Guide—Your Graduation Event Guide containing important ceremony information will be mailed out approximately 2–3 weeks prior to the ceremony date. If you move, please contact email@example.com with an updated address as the guide will be mailed to the address provided on your participation form.
*It is recommended that graduates and guests refrain from booking travel accommodations until after the ceremony registration opens. In the event of a schedule change, Kaplan University is not responsible for reimbursing travel costs or other expenditures associated with attending the ceremony.
- Step 4: Tips for Making Your Experience Seamless
- Confirm Your Registration—You will receive a confirmation email from the Graduation Event Team within 10 business days. If you do not receive a confirmation email, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to make sure your form was received. Monthly ceremony emails will also be sent to all eligible students which will note whether or not you are on the list to attend the ceremony. If you filled out a participation form and received a ceremony email stating you are not on the attendee list, please contact email@example.com. Note: add firstname.lastname@example.org to your approved senders list to ensure our emails reach you.
- Avoid Unnecessary Fees—Preparing for graduation can be overwhelming, but keeping the following in mind can help ease the stress by keeping costs to a minimum.
- Order Your Cap and Gown by the Order Deadline—Orders placed after the deadline may require additional rush shipping fees to ensure your order is received in time.
- Make Travel Plans Early—Hotel and airfare costs are typically higher when booked close to your travel dates, so make any necessary reservations early. *
- Contact Us if Your Plans Change—If you are unable to attend the ceremony, please contact email@example.com by the posted cancellation deadline to avoid the cancellation fee of $125. Note: fee applies to all cancellations received after the cancellation deadline, regardless of intent to attend a future ceremony, as expenses are incurred on the students’ behalf with the venue and all ceremony materials.
* It is recommended that graduates and guests refrain from booking travel accommodations until after the ceremony registration opens. In the event of a schedule change, Kaplan University is not responsible for reimbursing travel costs or other expenditures associated with attending the ceremony.
- Step 5: What to Expect Graduation Weekend
There are many festivities to fill graduation weekend, including the School of Nursing Pinning Ceremony, Graduate Check-In, the Graduate Services Area, and of course, the graduation ceremony. Below is a sample schedule of the weekend, however each ceremony is unique, so please review the Graduation Ceremony Schedule of Events page for the specific ceremony schedule and details.
- Check-in—Graduates arrive at venue to check in and pick up their reader card and guest tickets (if applicable).
- Graduate Services Area—Graduates may visit various Kaplan University departments such as Student Life, Career Services, etc., for information and/or questions, or just to hear “Congratulations!” from multiple Kaplan University employees.
- School of Nursing Pinning Ceremony—Nursing graduates will be pinned by their dean.
- Check-in—Those who were unable to check-in Friday night may do so beginning one hour prior to the ceremony start time. Note: We recommend checking-in on Friday to avoid stress on graduation day.
- Line-Up—Graduates should arrive to their line-up area one hour prior to the start of the ceremony for announcements and to prepare to march.
- Graduation—You did it! This is your time to shine. Once you march into the theater, sit back and enjoy, but be sure to listen for your name.
- Be Prepared to Walk—Before processing into the theater, you will line up in a holding area with your classmates. There is moderate distance between the holding area and the theater, which may include stairs. Handicapped parking, sign language interpreters, early Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) seating and a designated ADA seating area will be available the day of the ceremony for both students and guests.
- Do Not Arrive Earlier Than Requested—While we encourage you to arrive early enough to become familiar with the area, if you do not have questions or do not require assistance, please refrain from arriving more than an hour prior to the start of the ceremony to avoid long wait periods.
- Step 6: Life After Graduation
Graduation is now behind you, but Kaplan University has more to offer.
- Explore the Alumni page to stay connected with fellow graduates and peers, and to take advantage of the many benefits available to Kaplan University graduates, including discounts with select retailers, continuing your education, and more.
- Career Services provides resume and job search assistance. Check out the career search tools available through the Career Network. The Career Network is accessible via the KU Campus portal to currently enrolled students and graduates of Kaplan University. It is a social platform for our students and alumni to collaborate with each other and the Career Services team. You can search for jobs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as well as track your job search activity.
- Check out the Social Hub to stay connected with us in the social media community.
Frequently Asked Questions (Chicago Ceremony)
Here you will find some answers to commonly asked questions about graduation.
The FAQs below pertain to the online student commencements. If you are attending at another location, please contact the graduation coordinator at the location for more details. Click here for a list of locations and their contacts.
- General Questions
See below for frequently asked questions about the graduation ceremony.
Am I required to attend graduation?
No, the ceremonies are celebratory events and graduates are not required to attend.
How do I know if I am eligible to participate in the ceremony?
Candidates may walk in the graduation ceremony provided they have successfully completed their final term by the date of the ceremony. If you are not sure when your degree will be complete, please contact Education Advising to go over your credits and requirements. Online students can reach Education Advising at 866.522.7747. Ground campus and Learning Center students should contact their academic team for assistance.
Can I attend a ceremony if I have a balance on my student account?
Yes. Owing a balance only prevents graduates from receiving their diploma, and the actual diplomas are not handed out at the ceremonies.
What do I have to do to attend a graduation ceremony?
Students who want to attend a ceremony must register by filling out the online Graduation Participation Form found on the Ceremony Info page of the Graduation Center. Participation forms are due eight weeks prior to the ceremony date. Forms will not be accepted after the posted deadline
How much does it cost to attend graduation?
Attending the ceremony is free, however, graduates are responsible for purchasing their caps and gowns and any travel expenses associated with getting to the ceremony, such as hotel and airfare. Graduates who can no longer attend the ceremony must notify the Graduation Event Team at least 5 weeks prior to the ceremony date to avoid the cancellation fee.
When should I register for my ceremony?
Registration begins approximately 4 months prior to the ceremony date and ends approximately 8 weeks prior to the ceremony date. Once registration begins, the online ceremony participation form will be posted on the Ceremony Info page of the Graduation Center.
How many guests may I bring to the graduation ceremony?
Guest seating limits vary with each ceremony as they are based on the theater’s seating capacity as well as the number of graduates expected to attend. Children 3 years or younger are expected to sit on the lap of an adult. Please see the Ceremony Info page for the upcoming ceremony’s guest seating limits.
Can I bring additional guests above the allotted amount?
After completing the online participation form, students may write to firstname.lastname@example.org with the number of additional guests they would like to bring to the ceremony. If seats are available after registration closes, the Chicago Graduation Team will approve the additional guests. Additional guests are not guaranteed as they are dependent on the number of graduates attending.
How can I get invitations for family members who need to apply for travel visas?
While there are no formal invitations sent out, graduates can write to email@example.com and we can provide a letter to be given to the embassy.
Can I attend a ceremony at a later date?
Graduates may attend any ceremony that falls after their degree completion date. Please visit the Graduation Center frequently for updated ceremony dates and information.
Can I attend the ceremony if I’ve earned a certificate?
Yes, graduates earning certificates may attend the ceremony, provided that eligibility guidelines have been met.
When and where do I need to check in for graduation?
The graduate check-in area is typically located in the host hotel’s lobby or theater lobby. Check-in time and dates vary with location, so refer to the Graduation Ceremony Schedule of Events page for specific ceremony check-in location and hours.
What time do I need to arrive at the ceremony?
Graduates who have questions or need to exchange caps and gowns should arrive one hour prior to the start of the ceremony. All other graduates should arrive 30 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony for line-up and announcements. Refer to the Graduation Ceremony Schedule of Events on the for specific line-up area information.
What time will the theater doors open for guest seating?
Theater doors will open one hour prior to the start of the ceremony. Please visit the Ceremony Info page for upcoming ceremony schedule information.
Are seats assigned?
Graduates will be seated by degree. Guest seating is open and on a first come first serve basis. Ushers will monitor and ask that seats not be saved.
Will the ceremony be broadcasted live over the Internet?
Yes, the ceremony will stream live on graduation day at www.graduation.kaplan.edu. The viewing link will be posted 24 hours prior to the ceremony.
Will my name be announced if I don’t attend the ceremony?
No, due to the volume of graduates eligible to attend the ceremony, only the names of those in physical attendance will be announced. However, all eligible graduates’ names will be listed in the ceremony program.
Can I purchase a copy of the ceremony on DVD?
The ceremony is not available on DVD; however the full ceremony will be available for replay on the Graduation Archives page.
Will there be a photographer at the ceremony?
Yes, a professional photographer will be onsite taking photographs of graduates before and during the ceremony.
How do I purchase professional graduation photos?
Graduates will be contacted by the photographer approximately 2–3 weeks after the ceremony, as soon as all photos have been posted to their website. If you are not contacted within a month of your ceremony, please visit the photographer’s site at http://events.lifetouch.com/kaplan
Is there a pinning ceremony for nursing graduates?
Yes, a pinning ceremony for nursing graduates will take place during graduation weekend. Please refer to the Graduation Ceremony Schedule of Events for specific pinning ceremony time and location.
Can I bring guests to the pinning ceremony, and will they need tickets?
Guests of graduates are welcome to attend the pinning ceremony and tickets are not required.
Is there a hooding ceremony?
Master’s and doctorate-level graduates will be hooded during the graduation ceremony. There are no separate hooding ceremonies.
- Caps and Gowns
See below for frequently asked questions about the ordering your cap and gown.
Where do I order my cap and gown and can I order a set if I am not planning to attend graduation?
Graduates are responsible for purchasing their caps and gowns and may do so through Jostens. You do not have to attend a ceremony to order a set. Those attending should order their set at least 7 weeks prior to the date of the ceremony or sooner to ensure there is time to exchange it if necessary. All caps and gowns are black, and tassels are color coded by degree. The ordering link will be available on the Ceremony Info page when registration begins.
Can I purchase or exchange my cap and gown at the ceremony venue?
Kaplan University does not sell caps and gowns. As a courtesy, a small inventory of caps, gowns, and tassels will be available onsite for exchange purposes, however, there is no guarantee that your size or tassel color will be available. We recommend ordering your cap and gown at least 7 weeks prior to the ceremony to ensure you have a gown.
My degree is not listed on Jostens’ site. How do I ensure I am ordering the correct gown and tassel?
Degrees are broken down by major/curriculum on the Jostens site. Please see the Cap and Gown page for a listing of degrees to determine which major/curriculum to select on your order form.
Can I purchase a tassel only?
Tassels come with the cap and gown set however there is an option to purchase the tassel separately on the Jostens site.
Do I need a hood?
Hoods are part of the master’s and doctor’s-level cap and gown packages and come with the set when ordered through Jostens. A hood can be ordered separately for those who already have a cap and gown.
Can I purchase a cap and gown if I’ve missed the order deadline?
Graduates who miss the ordering deadline may contact Jostens’ Customer Service at 800.854.7464 to see if they will accept a late order. Please note that late orders may be subject to additional late and/or rush delivery fees.
Can I use my cap and gown set from a previous ceremony?
As long as your cap and gown is black, you may use it again. Please note that certificate-, associate’s-, and bachelor’s-level gowns are the same. Master’s and Doctorate-level gowns are slightly different and come with the required hood.
- Diplomas and Transcripts
Question about your transcript? See the FAQs below.
When will I receive my diploma, and do I have to attend a graduation ceremony to receive it?
Diplomas are mailed by the Office of the Registrar approximately 8 weeks after completion of the final class and all program and financial requirements have been confirmed by University officials according to the University Catalog. For questions regarding diplomas, please email the Office of the Registrar at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 866.522.7747 (Toll Free). Diplomas are not distributed at the graduation ceremonies.
Where can I order a frame for my diploma?
Diploma frames can be ordered from the Student Store. Click here to view frames and other alumni items.
What size will my diploma be?
Diplomas are 8.5” x 11.0"
How do I obtain a copy of my transcripts?
Official transcripts can be ordered through Parchment Exchange. Please see the “Transcripts” link in the Registrar and Credits page of KU Campus for ordering instructions.
- Academic Honors
See below for frequently asked questions about academic honors.
How do I know if I have earned academic honors?
Associate’s- and bachelor’s-level graduates who complete their degrees with cumulative grade point averages (GPAs) of 3.70 or higher will achieve academic honors status. Certificate-, master’s and doctor’s-level graduates are not eligible for academic honors. Academic honors statuses will be noted on diplomas and transcripts.
The academic honors statuses are as follows:
- Cumulative GPA of 3.70–3.79—Cum Laude
- Cumulative GPA of 3.80–3.99—Magna Cum Laude
- Cumulative GPA of 4.0—Summa Cum Laude
Will I receive honor cords to wear at the ceremony?
Only associate’s- and bachelor’s-level graduates who attend the ceremony will receive an academic honor cord during check-in.
Will I be recognized for academic honors at the ceremony?
Graduates who achieved academic honors will be recognized during the ceremony agenda and their honors status will be noted in the ceremony program.
Can I wear my honor society cords at the ceremony?
Graduates who are members of an honor society may wear their honor society regalia (cords, stoles, pins, etc.) at the ceremony. Honor society graduates should contact the Office of Student Life at StudentLife@kaplan.edu. Graduates must be existing honor society members prior to their final term.
Learn more about travel to and from the ceremony.
Does Kaplan University provide hotel or airfare to those attending the ceremony?
No, graduates are responsible for covering all necessary travel expenses. As a courtesy, Kaplan University secures a limited block of rooms at hotels near the ceremony venue. Please see the Graduation Travel page for a list of hotels for the current ceremony. Graduates are responsible for reserving their own rooms. We recommend booking reservations early to avoid sold out rooms.
Will transportation be provided between the airport and hotel/ceremony venue?
Graduates and guests will be responsible for securing transportation between the airport, hotel, and venue. Shuttle services are available at most airports. Advanced reservations are required for round-trip airport transportation. Current ceremony shuttle information will be posted in the Graduation Travel page prior to each ceremony.
- Purchasing Additional Graduation items
See below for frequently asked questions about how to purchase other items for your graduation.
Where can I purchase additional items, such as printed graduation announcements and class ring?
Printed announcements, class rings, and diploma frames can be ordered through Jostens
Where can I purchase Kaplan University branded items?
Kaplan University branded items such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, totes, and more can be ordered through the Student Store