Preparing for Graduation

Students wishing to receive a degree from the University of South Carolina Aiken must use the online graduation application on Self Service Carolina (SSC). The online application will not be available after the posted deadline.

Failure to apply for graduation by the deadline will delay your application until another term.

    • May (Online Application available from December 15 - January 31)
    • August (Online Application available from May 15 - June 15)
    • December (Online Application available from July 18 - August 31)

If you experience difficulty with the online graduation application, contact the Office of the Registrar at (803) 641-3550 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Additional Information for August Graduates

Any August graduate who wishes to participate in the May ceremony must complete this form no later than January 31 in order to receive recognition in the USC Aiken Commencement program.

August Graduation Participation Form

For Cap, Gown, and Announcement ordering information and deadlines please contact the USC Aiken Bookstore at 803-641-3457, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Website : www.bkstr.com/uscaikenstore/home

NOTE: An order placed for a cap and gown and announcements, does not guarantee a student will march in a commencement/convocation ceremony. The graduation application must be completed by the deadline and be on file in the Records Office to be eligible to march in a ceremony.

Regalia for Honor or Service Organizations

Only students who are members of recognized USC Aiken honor or service organizations are allowed to wear the regalia of these organizations. A list of those organizations is below. If you have not already received your regalia, please contact the advisor for the organization.

Organization Cord or Stole Color(s)
African American Student Alliance Stole Black
Alpha Kappa Alpha Stole Green & Pink
Alpha Omicron Pi Stole Red
Alpha Psi Omega (Theatrical Honor Society) Cord Blue & Gold
Baptist Collegiate Ministry Cord Burgundy & White
Beta Gamma Sigma (business honor) Stole Blue & Gold
Broken Ink Cord Pink & White
Circle K Stole Navy
Delta Sigma Theta Stole Black, Red & White
Gamma Beta Phi Stole Gold
Habitat for Humanity Stole White
Kappa Alpha Psi Stole Red & White
Kappa Delta Pi (Education Honor) Medallion  
Lambda Chi Alpha Stole Green 
Lambda Pi Eta (Communications Honors) Cord Red & White
MAP Mentors Stole Black, Green, Red & Yellow
NAACP Stole Navy
National Society of Leadership and Success-Sigma Alpha Pi Stole Silver
Omega Phi Alpha Service Sorority Stole Blue
Omega Psi Phi Stole Purple
Omicron Delta Kappa (leadership honors) Cord Black, Blue & White
Order of Omega (Greek Honors) Cord Gold & Ivory
Pacer Accounting Club Cord Navy, Maroon, & Silver
Pacer Spirit Cord Navy & Silver
Pacer Times Cord Burgundy & Silver
Phi Beta Sigma Stole Blue & White
Phi Mu Stole Pink 
Pi Gamma Mu (science honor) Cord Navy & White
Psi Chi (psychology honor) Medallion Blue & Gold
Resident Student Association Stole Blue
Rotaract Stole Red & Yellow
Sigma Gamma Rho Stole Blue
Sigma Tau Delta (English Honor) Cord Black & Red
Sigma Theta Tau International (nursing) Cord Lavendar & White
Student Athletic Advisory Committee Stole White
Student Government Association Cord Red & Navy
Student Nurses' Asociation Cord Blue & White
Tau Kappa Epsilon Stole White
Tri Beta (biology honors) Cord Green & Red
UNITY! Cord Purple
Veteran Honor Society Cord Red, White & Blue
Zeta Phi Beta Stole Blue & White
Zeta Tau Alpha Stole Silver

The Chancellor's Medal

Degree candidates who qualify for graduation with honors from the University will wear the Chancellor's Medal. This medal is a gift from the University to those students who have achieved the highest level of academic excellence. If you have been notified that you are likely to graduate with honors, please pick up your medal at the Office of the Registrar in Penland 109.

Each student must complete a Graduation Update Form in order to participate in the ceremony. You must complete the form found at the link below and return it to the Alumni Office in the Alumni House (Pickens-Salley House).

Graduate Update Form

For December Graduates

Tickets are not required for the December Ceremony, but each student must complete a Graduate Update Form in order to participate in the ceremony. You must complete the form and return it to the Alumni Office in the Alumni House (Pickens-Salley House).

For May and August Graduates

Each degree candidate who has indicated they will participate in the ceremony will receive 8 (eight) tickets. Tickets will be available in the Alumni House (Pickens-Salley House), between April 17 and May 1, from 8:30 am-4:30 pm, Monday-Friday. You must complete the Graduate Update Form and present the form in person.

Graduating students have the opportunity to participate in the traditional Senior Gift.

It is a wonderful way to stay connected to USC Aiken while receiving information on career opportunities and other ways to be involved.

With a $25 donation, graduates will receive a Class of 2019 T-shirt, a special gift and one year membership to the Alumni Association. To participate, complete the form below and bring both the form and your donation to the Alumni Relations Office in the Alumni House (Pickens-Salley House).

Graduate Update Form

On Thursday, December 12, 2019 at 10:30 a.m., the University will host the Senior Celebration Brunch in the Convocation Center Practice Gym (North).

An invitation to this event has or will be sent to graduating seniors and their families from the Office of Alumni Relations. The brunch will give students and their invited guests the opportunity to view the Convocation Center, meet with faculty, and spend part of a very special day together. There will be opportunities for guests to have photos taken of graduates and their faculty members during this event.

Graduates receive a free Brunch ticket. Additional Brunch tickets are $10 per person ($5 for children ages 2-6). These tickets are purchased in advance from the Alumni Relations Office in the Alumni House (Pickens-Salley House). Space is limited, so please purchase family tickets in advance using any of the below methods:

  • Call the Office of Alumni Relations at 803.641.3408
  • Mail your check (payable to Aiken Partnership) to Alumni Relations - 471 University Parkway, Aiken, SC 29801. Please enclose this form.
  • Brunch tickets can be purchased at the Alumni House (Pickens-Salley House) on the USC Aiken campus; the address is 471 University Parkway, Aiken, South Carolina 29801.

On Thursday, December 12, 2019 at 11:30 am, immediately following the Senior Celebration Brunch, graduates and their guests are invited to learn a little bit about the Commencement ceremony that night.

This short 20 minute information session will take place on the floor of the Convocation Center and will feature information about photography opportunities, the order of the program, and other relevant information to help make the ceremony as smooth and stress free as possible. Graduates can also work with the person who will be reading names to make sure his/her name is pronounced correctly.

For more information about this session, please contact Ahmed Samaha, the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 803-641-3411.

Students receiving bachelor's or master's degrees wear black gowns and caps. The color of your tassel is determined by your degree. These items should have been purchased at Grad Finale.

Women are strongly encouraged to wear flat or very low-heeled shoes. Some women wear dresses while others wear dress slacks. Men generally wear dress slacks, dress shirt and tie, and dress shoes.

The Graduation Ceremony

Degree candidates should enter the front side entrance of the Convocation Center as marked with green arrows.

View a Map of the Convocation Center

Please note the candidate entrance, seating and line-up locations all designated in green. The candidate Check In area is in black.

All degree candidates (as well as guests) will be participating in a security check, and candidates should arrive at 4:30pm to allow enough time to complete the process and allow you to check in by the 5pm deadline. By 5 p.m., you should already be wearing your cap and gown and be prepared to begin the line-up.

5 p.m. is the deadline for checking in - not a suggested time or arrival.

If you miss the Information Session, make sure you know your degree name and approximately where you will be in the order of degree candidates.

View the graduation lineup

covoparkingforgraduation

There is one area of the parking lot designated "by invitation only" for members of the Platform Party.

For May Commencement, all guests need a ticket for entry. If they are bringing children, each child (including babies) must have a ticket as well.

Parents and guests should use the main front doors leading into the lobby.

Guests must be on time and seated no later than 5:45 p.m. The doors to the arena area will close at 5:50 p.m. for the processional. The ceremony will begin at 6:00 p.m.

If a member of your party needs a sign language interpreter for hearing impairment reasons, please contact Ahmed Samaha, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 803-641-3411. A request must be made by November 15, 2019 for an interpreter to be present.

If an interpreter is requested, there will be a special area of the Convocation Center offering unobstructed views of the sign language interpreter. If a member of your party needs to be seated in this section, someone else in your group may accompany that person; however, due to the limited amount of seating in this area, not everyone in your party can be accommodated in this section.

See a map showing location of hearing impaired seating

Family and friends who are unable to attend can still be part of the event by watching a live stream of the entire ceremony. By the evening of December 12, there will be a link to the broadcast on the home page of our website: www.usca.edu. This live stream will begin about 15 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony.

Send Letter or Message to Your Graduate

Parents who are unable to attend may send their graduate a special letter or message through our Office of Parents and Family Relations.

Unfortunately we will not be able to deliver items other than letters or cards. Please include your graduate's first name, last name, and middle initial and submit it to the Office of Parents and Family Relations by December 5, 2019. If they will be attending the ceremony, we will make sure it is delivered on the day of graduation. Submissions after that date are not guaranteed to be delivered.

Families can email the message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or send via US Postal Service to:

Parent and Family Relations
Your graduate’s name
USC Aiken SAC Room 158
471 University Parkway, Aiken, SC  29801  

Food and beverages are strictly prohibited.

Noise Reduction

Please turn off your cellular phones and/or pagers. Cowbells, air horns, whistles, and other loud artificial noise makers are not allowed.

Families are asked to withhold applause or loud celebrations during the announcement of graduate names so that we don’t prevent any family’s ability to hear clearly, and to refrain from using any noise making items or from causing distractions that would prevent others from enjoying the ceremony. We’ll join together to congratulate all of the graduates collectively after all names have been read.

As a courtesy to other audience members, please be aware that sound reverberates in a gymnasium and that even the slightest noise is magnified. Please keep movement to a minimum.

We respectfully ask that younger children not be brought to the ceremony at all since they can become restless and disruptive. Also, no baby strollers are permitted inside the Convocation Center.

Photography

Please do not to step into the aisle during the processional or recessional or rush across the stage in order to take photographs. The marshals will be instructed to send guests back to their seats if they attempt to do this. There will be a photographer taking photos of each graduate during the ceremony.

During Convocation, professional photographers from Grad Images will take photographs throughout the evening. Multiple individual shots of graduates will be taken during the ceremony, which graduates will have the opportunity to purchase at a later date. The Alumni Office is pleased to provide a complimentary photograph of graduate which will be mailed approximately 4 weeks after the ceremony.

Additional photos will be available for purchase online at www.gradimages.com.

After Graduation

Graduates, as you finish your senior year and join the ranks of the Alumni, be sure to watch your student email account for instructions to setup your @alumni.usca.edu email account! You will receive a "free" USC Aiken Alumni email address that never changes, even when you change jobs or mail providers. It should arrive within just a few weeks of graduation.

Regular student email accounts are removed after one year of non-activity as a student, but once you switch to your Alumni account, it’s yours for life!

Learn more about alumni email accounts