SWCC Graduate

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 commencement 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 online application for graduation in order to receive their degree or diploma. 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.  The deadline to file the Graduation Application is:

  • Fall - End of first week in October
  • Spring - End of first week in February
  • Summer - End of first week in February (if enrolled during spring semester) or end of first week of summer session

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.

Please review the graduation checklist during your final semester. 

Graduation announcements may be ordered through the SWCC Shoppe (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.

Federal regulations require all students borrowing Direct Student Loans to complete loan exit counseling prior to graduation. Students may complete loan exit counseling online at www.studentloans.gov. You need your FSA User ID to complete online exit counseling.

During your last few weeks of the semester in which you plan to complete requirements to graduate, please fill out a brief questionnaire, the 2015-16 Post Graduation Plans Questionnaire, regarding your plans following graduation. 

All Career Technical students must complete a COMPASS assessment post-test which is designed to measure academic improvement and is required prior to graduation.  The assessment center will notify your instructor during the last half of your final semester regarding completing the test.

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.

Southwestern Community College has partnered with the National Student Clearinghouse for official transcript orders. There is a $5 fee per transcript ($2.75 transcript fee and $2.25 processing fee). Transcripts will not be processed if there is a business office hold on your student account. If a hold exists on your account, you will be notified via e-mail. Once your order has been received, your transcript will be mailed from SWCC within five to seven business days. Please allow two extra weeks when the request is at the end of a term. If you select for the transcript to be received by mail, please allow three to five additional days for delivery by the United States Postal Service. To order a transcript, please visit SWCC’s Web site at www.swcciowa.edu/transcripts.

Caps and gowns may be picked up from the Registrar’s Office beginning Tuesday of commencement week during regular office hours.  Evening or off-campus students may pick up gowns between 6:15 and 6:30 p.m. of the evening of commencement.  Students will meet in room 220 at 6:30 p.m. on commencement day.  Please dress appropriately.  Your cap should be worn squarely on the head (not tilted back) with the tassel on the right side.  You will receive instructions regarding the processional order and procedures at this time.
Any student or guest requiring accommodations to attend commencement should contact the director of student development at 641.782.1458.

Graduates who maintain a 3.5 cumulative grade point average or above will graduate with honors. You are invited to wear an honor cord at commencement and this distinction will be noted in the printed commencement program.  There is no charge for the honor cord. 

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 http://www.ptk.org/Store/Graduation.aspx.

Meet in the Instructional Center, room 220 (large fixed seating tiered lecture room), at 6:30 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 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.

For career assistance, please visit Career-Related Services.

Graduate Satisfaction Survey Report is compiled 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 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.