General Graduation Information

Southwestern Community College grants degrees, diplomas, and certificates to those who successfully complete programs offered by the college. Students must maintain a 2.0 grade point average on all applicable work (nursing students must earn a grade of "C" or better in all courses). All requirements of the chosen program must be satisfied, although adjustments may be made when program curriculum has changed and courses are no longer available. Please refer to the current college catalog for requirements for your program.

Southwestern conducts two graduation ceremonies each year in the Student Center gymnasium at the Creston campus. Students who complete requirements in December and May are invited to participate in the spring commencement ceremony.  Students who meet their graduation requirements at any time during the summer are invited to participate in the summer commencement ceremony. There is no charge to participate in the commencement ceremony.  To see graduation dates, please refer to the academic calendar.  

In order to ensure that you successfully meet requirements, and have followed all procedures required in the graduation process, the following information is provided.

Make sure that your application/student file is complete. Southwestern requires a final high school transcript and official transcripts from all colleges that you have attended.

Meet with your faculty advisor or counselor to make sure that you will meet requirements to graduate. Students are encouraged to request a degree audit from your advisor/counselor at least one semester prior to their planned graduation to assist with planning their final semester.

Candidates for graduation must complete an application for graduation in order to receive their degree or diploma. Applications are available through the registrar's office at the Creston campus or at the Red Oak or Osceola Centers. Students who plan to participate in the commencement ceremony must indicate their intent on the application for graduation and provide their chest and height measurements (caps are adjustable, so cap size is not necessary). There is no graduation fee. Students who plan to receive more than one degree, diploma, or certificate need to indicate all programs on the form. Candidates for graduation should submit their applications to the registrar's office by the following dates:

  • Fall - September 30
  • Spring - February 7
  • Summer - February 7 (if enrolled during spring semester) or May 16

If you find you will not be completing requirements for the term indicated on your application for graduation, please contact the registrar's office at 641.782.1422 and submit another graduation application for the term in which your requirements will be met.

A list of prospective graduates will be e-mailed to students and faculty. 

Graduation announcements may be ordered through SWCC's Bookstore by the end of the first week in April for fall and spring graduates. Announcements and envelopes must be picked up and paid for within two weeks of ordering.   Announcements for summer graduates may be ordered during the first week of summer session to be picked up and paid for within two weeks of ordering. The bookstore will be closed June 25 & 26. 

Federal regulations require all students borrowing Direct Student Loans to complete loan exit counseling prior to graduation. Students who do not schedule an individual exit session with the financial aid office may complete loan exit counseling online at You need your PIN # to complete online exit counseling. If you no longer have your original PIN, apply for a new one at

If you are graduating from a career and technical education program, you must make an appointment at the assessment center to complete a post test prior to graduation.

Your account must be paid in full by the last day of classes of your last semester of enrollment. This includes any fines you have been assessed by the library, parking, and dormitories. Your transcripts or degree/diploma will not be released unless your account is paid in full.

All borrowed books or other material/equipment must be returned to the library or the proper department before you will be allowed to graduate. All library fines must be paid.

If you live on campus, you must check out through the housing supervisor. Please leave a forwarding address for your mail with the registrar's office.

Transcripts may be ordered at the end of the term to be sent once grades and graduation status are finalized. Authorization forms for releasing transcripts are obtained from the registrar's office, at the Creston campus or at the Red Oak or Osceola Centers, or online. The online form must be printed, filled out, and mailed to the registrar's office at Southwestern Community College, 1501 W. Townline Street, Creston, IA 50801. A fee of $5 per transcript must be paid to the SWCC business office prior to the transcript being sent.  To pay by credit/debit card, please call 641.782.1448.  Transcripts are forwarded only upon written request from the student. Transcripts are not issued until all accounts with the college are paid. Requests for transcripts will be honored as quickly as possible in order of receipt. Please allow six weeks for processing.

Caps and gowns may be picked up from the registrar's office (Administration Center) beginning Tuesday of commencement week during regular office hours. Evening or off-campus students may pick up their gowns between 6:30 and 6:45 p.m. on the evening of commencement.

Graduates who maintain a 3.5 cumulative grade point average or above will graduate with honors. They are invited to wear honor cords at commencement and their distinction will be noted in the printed commencement program.

Members of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society are invited to wear the stoles and tassels designating this honor. Their distinction will be noted in the printed commencement program. You may purchase these items from the PTK website at for the amount of $24 for the stole and $10 for the tassel.   

The SWCC Bookstore is selling gently used PTK stoles and tassels this year only at a discounted rate.  At the bookstore, the PTK stole is $10 and the tassel is $3, and numbers are limited. The bookstore has the list of PTK members and will sell them to you at your earliest convenience.  The Bookstore will be closed June 25 and 26.

Meet in the Instructional Center, room 220 (large fixed seating tiered lecture room), at 6:45 p.m. on commencement day. Please dress in an appropriate manner. Your cap should be worn squarely on your head (NOT tilted back) with the tassel on the right side. You will receive instructions regarding the processional order and the procedures to follow at this time.

Any student or guest requiring accommodations to attend commencement should contact the special needs coordinator, 641.782.1458.

Each graduate will be photographed as you cross the stage to receive your diploma. Graduates will be notified via e-mail when photos are available on the photographer's Web site. You may place an order if you wish, but there is no obligation to do so.

Following commencement, the faculty and staff of Southwestern Community College will host a reception for our graduates in front of the Student Center. If inclement weather, the reception will be held in the upper portion of the Student Center. All students, family members, and friends are invited to attend.

Students who complete all requirements for graduation shall have their names listed on the commencement program. Graduates' names will be released to area and hometown newspapers for publication following commencement.

Following graduation, the registrar's office will finalize grades and graduation status and apply degrees to transcripts. Please allow six weeks for processing. Any student who does not maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or better will not be eligible to graduate.

Degree/diploma covers will be presented to the graduates during commencement exercises. Inserts will be mailed to your permanent address. Make sure that your correct permanent address is on file in the registrar's office. Please allow six weeks for processing.

Services are available to you as alumni. Contact Career Services, which is located in room 215 in the Instructional Center of the Creston campus, or call 641.782.1495 or 800.247.4023, ext. 495 for job search planning, resumes, or other career-related concerns.

Career Services compiles a Graduate Satisfaction Survey Report on an annual basis. The information from this report is utilized to ensure that our programs are current, meet employment and educational needs, and maintain current industry standards as well as identifying employment/educational trends. You will receive a Graduate Follow-up Placement Student Satisfaction Survey in late November following graduation. Please complete and return to Career Services as soon as possible.

The alumni office strives to remain in contact and provide services to alumni. We appreciate the opportunity to keep you connected to your school, your friends and your faculty. The alumni office also provides scholarships and grants to deserving SWCC students through annual fundraising activities. For further information, please contact the alumni office at 641.782.1455 or 800.247.4023, ext. 455 or visit Southwestern's alumni page.