- Apply for Degree, Diploma, or Certificate
Graduation candidates must apply for graduation by the published deadline during their last semester. Students within 10 credits or 12 internship credits of completing their degree may participate in the spring commencement. Students graduating in the fall who wish to participate in the spring commencement must give a detailed explanation in the Student Notes section of the graduation award application regarding what courses they still need to register for and where they will be taking them.
Graduation award applications should be completed the semester prior to your final semester. i.e. Spring graduates should apply before the end of the Fall semester. Before applying, students should check their Degree Audit to verify all requirements are complete. The application deadline for publication in the Spring Graduate List is April 5, 2024. Any applications received after the deadline will be processed, but names will not be published in the Graduate List and will not be included in the Commencement Ceremony program.
- Complete the Graduation Award Application
- Review your DARS audit for accuracy and completeness before completing the graduation application.
- Fill out the form and submit online.
- Please indicate your interest in attending the Commencement Ceremony on Step 3 of the form.
- Complete the career services registration form
- Fill out the form online, then submit online.
If you are unable to submit these forms online, please email Kelli Kienitz.
How Do I Get a DARS Report?
Sign into eServices with your StarID and password. Click on Academic Records and choose Degree Audit Report.
- Complete the Graduation Award Application
- Graduation Requirements
Students must complete all required courses and achieve a cumulative grade point average of 2.00 or better on a 4.00 grading scale.
Students graduating in fewer than four years must meet the graduation and degree requirements in the current college catalog or those degree requirements in effect during their first term at Ridgewater College. Students graduating more than four years after the date of first enrollment must meet the requirements stated in the catalog in effect for the year in which graduation occurs.
To be eligible for graduation, a student must have earned at least one-third of the semester credits at Ridgewater College and must be enrolled at the College during the semester in which the degree requirements are completed. An exception may be made when a student who has completed at least 20 credits at Ridgewater College lacks 10 or fewer credits for graduation. Such students may petition the administration for permission to complete the degree requirements through transfer of acceptable non-resident credit. Petitions/transcripts will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis for recency or to ensure compliance with current graduation standards.
For those who qualify, the Graduate List will note, with one star, individuals who have achieved a cumulative GPA of at least 3.50. Their diploma will also be embossed with the honor student seal. Two stars will indicate a cumulative GPA of at least 3.75. In addition to the honors seal, these students will receive gold braids if they attend the commencement ceremony. Three stars will indicate a perfect 4.00 GPA. In addition to the honors seal and gold braids, these students will also be given a medallion if they attend the commencement ceremony.
To be eligible for honors, at least two-thirds of all credits earned at Ridgewater College must have a grade point value letter grade assigned (i.e., A – F).
All student account holds must be cleared before a diploma/degree can be released (including parking fines).
Students who borrowed money while attending Ridgewater College must complete exit counseling before the diploma/degree can be mailed.
Please make sure to complete the graduate career services registration form. This will allow you access to employment opportunities after graduation. Even if you have obtained employment, the State of Minnesota requires that we report that information. Feel free to contact Career Services with any questions.
- Ceremony Details
2024 Commencement Ceremony Information
Hutchinson Commencement Ceremony
Thursday, May 09, 2024
3:00 pm-4:30 pm CDT (approx.)
McLeod County Fairgrounds
840 Century Ave SW
Hutchinson, MN 55350
Willmar Commencement Ceremony
Friday, May 10, 2024
3:00 pm-5:00 pm CDT (approx.)
Willmar Civic Center
2707 Arena Dr
Willmar, MN 56201
Sign up to walk at one of the 2024 Commencement Ceremonies using the Ceremony Participation Form at the button below:Ceremony Participation Form
Hutchinson Campus 2023 Recording
VOD streaming rentals of the Hutchinson ceremony are available for $1.99 for a week of viewing time after the ceremony. Copies of the ceremony are also available for purchase in Blu-Ray or DVD for $10 per disc through HCVN. Interested parties can visit hcvnonline.com/purchase-media or contact the Hutchinson Community Video Network at (320) 587-3113 or [email protected].
Willmar Campus 2023 Recording
- Additional Ceremony Information
Parking is FREE at both events. Follow the signage to designated parking areas. Parking is based on a first-come, first-served basis.
Students must arrive at their designated ceremony no later than 2:00 pm CDT dressed in their black cap, black gown, and Ridgewater tassel. Signage will be available to direct students where they need to go when they arrive.
There is no rehearsal prior to the ceremony. It is imperative for students to arrive by 2:00 pm CDT to receive instructions for the event, such as line up and walking in.
Gowns will not be sold at the ceremony. Students must arrive dressed in their black cap, black gown, and Ridgewater tassel. If a student owns a black cap and gown from a previous ceremony, they are welcome to wear that apparel to the ceremony but they must purchase a Ridgewater tassel from the Bookstore.
If a student is part of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), they may wear their PTK tassel in place of the Ridgewater one.
Apparel can be purchased in mid-March at the Ridgewater College Bookstore, in person at either bookstore or online at the Bookstore website.
According to the Ridgewater graduation policy, the only items that can be placed on a graduate’s cap and gown during the ceremony are Ridgewater-issued tassels, honor cords, or medallions or Phi Theta Kappa-issued tassels or honor cords. We ask that you do not wear a decorated cap during the ceremony.
If students would like to decorate their cap for photos, extra caps are available for sale in the Bookstore for $10. Students may purchase an extra cap and decorate it to wear for photos before and after the ceremony, but they must change into the plain black cap during the ceremony.
Honor cords will be given to each student at the ceremony. Honor cords cannot be provided beforehand. Students should arrive by 2:00 pm CDT on the day of graduation to receive their honor cords.
If a student is part of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), they should talk to their PTK advisor for information about obtaining PTK honor regalia.
Inviting Guests from Abroad
If you are inviting guests to graduation from outside of the United States, you can find information about visitor visa requirements here. A letter of invitation from the college is not needed to apply for a visitor visa.
Information for Guests
The doors will open at 2:00 pm CDT at each ceremony for guests. There are no tickets for guests, but we recommend that each student brings no more than 8 guests to the ceremony. Seating is based on a first-come, first-served basis. Guests of the Commencement Speaker and Student Speaker will have reserved seating if it is arranged prior to the ceremony with Student Life.
- Grad Expo
The Grad Expo is Ridgewater College’s graduation preparation open house. We will have a table present for each of the different areas below to help you get everything done on your graduation to-do list:
- Student Life
- Records & Registration
- Financial Aid
If you’re not sure what you need to do to graduate, attend one of our graduation expos!
The Grad Expo dates are TBD for 2024 Commencement Ceremonies, but they will occur in late March.
- Graduate List
Ridgewater College has one Commencement Ceremony each spring for graduates from the entire year. This Graduate List includes graduates from the previous summer and fall and current spring semester. Future graduates for the next summer or fall semester will be included in the next spring ceremony and graduate list. Exceptions can be made if you are within 12 credits of completing your requirements. You must contact me to make a request to be included in the current spring graduate list.
Please check the spelling of your name and honor status. A key for the honor status symbols is located at the bottom of the graduate list.
If your name is not on this list, you either:
- did not complete your Graduation Application or it is still processing
- you completed an Authorization to Withhold Directory Information form telling us not to release your name
- or, you will be published in next year’s list.
Please contact Kelli Kienitz, Ridgewater registrar, at [email protected] or 320-222-5215 if you have questions or your information is inaccurate. The deadline for changes to get your name in the 2024 Commencement Ceremony Program is Friday, April 12, 2024.
- Graduation Questions
If you have questions about the Graduation Award Application, Graduate List, or other questions regarding requirements to get your degree, diploma, or certificate, please contact:
If you have questions about the graduation ceremony, please contact: