San Jose Graduation Orientation

Graduating? Time to Get Excited!

Graduates cheering.

So you’re ready to graduate, aren’t you?  Congratulations! We hope you take some time to reflect on how hard you’ve worked to reach this moment in your academic career. Life happens between your first semester and your last. You’ve experienced joys and sorrows alike during your time as a Western Seminary student.  You’ve made sacrifices of time, money, and energy. Likewise, your loved ones have also sacrificed with you along this journey.

Some of you have blasted through your program, and others feel as though you’re crawling over the finish line. No matter what pace you went, you should be very proud of all of your hard work and everything it took to get to this point!  We trust that you have been transformed by the gospel and are fully equipped to go out and do the good works God has prepared in advance for you to do.

Here you’ll find all of the information you need to know in order to be prepared for the graduation weekend.

Graduation Banquet

Friday, June 11, 2021
Time and location TBA.

Commencement Ceremony

Saturday, June 12, 2021 
Time and location TBA.

If you haven't already, please take a look at the San Jose Graduation home page.



Preliminary Info: Graduation Fee, Absentia, and Graduate Questionnaire

Graduation Fee

By now, you should have already submitted your application to graduate through your SIS account and seen that a $250 graduation fee was posted to your student ledger. This is the indicator that Western has received your application to graduate.

What Does the Graduation Fee Cover?

  • Professionally printed diploma and cover
  • Graduation audit expenses
  • 2 Banquet tickets
  • Regalia
  • Facility expenses
  • Much more

Do you have to pay the fee even if you’re graduating in absentia? Yes. The majority of the costs for graduation is covered by Western, as it costs much more than this for each student who graduates. The fee is due at the time it is charged to your student account.

Graduates smiling while anticipating walking to front for diploma.

Is Participating in Graduation Weekend Mandatory?

  • Commencement: Yes.
  • Banquet: No.

Commencement is mandatory, except for the following degree programs:

  • Graduate Studies Certificate (GSC) graduates do not participate.
  • Graduate Studies Diploma (GSD) graduates have the option to participate if they so desire.

If you wish to graduate “in absentia” (not attend commencement), you should have indicated that in your application to graduate, followed by submitting an academic petition in SIS explaining the reasons for your request. Typically acceptable reasons are: moving/living out of state, unreasonable traveling costs, serious illness, etc.  “I don’t really want to participate” is not considered an acceptable reason. We hope that you’ll look forward to commencement as a way to celebrate and commemorate all of the hard work you’ve done to complete your program. Think of commencement as an Ebenezer of sorts in your educational and spiritual journey.

The banquet, while not mandatory, is highly encouraged. It is a special, joyful evening, meant to celebrate and reflect on your accomplishment with your classmates, family, and greatest supporters.

What Do I Need to Do Before Graduation Weekend?

Graduate Questionnaire

ALL graduates are required to fill out a Graduate Questionnaire. We will be utilizing your answers for various portions of the graduation banquet and commencement ceremony. We encourage you to reflect on what you want to say, and understand that these questions are more introspective. Consequently, it can take a little time, so start early. Your responses will be submitted to Student Services.

To complete this, simply click on the Graduate Questionnaire link. The link should have also been sent to you via e-mail. Questionnaires must be completed by March 31, 2021.


You are also required to submit a nice, forward facing, high resolution photo of just you. These are used in our slideshow as you walk across the stage during commencement. No need for a professionally done photo (unless desired). If your photo is not clear enough, you may be asked to submit another. If you do not submit one, we will use whatever we have on file for you (ID card photo).  You will be able to upload and submit your photo in the same Survey Monkey link as the Graduate Questionnaire.  An example photo is shown below.

Photo of graduate smiling.

The Graduation Banquet

Graduation Banquet Hall
When: Friday, June 11, 2021
Time: TBA
Location: TBA
Note: TBA

More info to come.


You will receive two free tickets to the banquet: one for you, and one for your spouse/guest. Additional tickets may be available for purchase and prices are estimated to be between $35-40.

More information and registration link will be emailed to you about two months prior to the event (sometime in April/May). All graduates must reserve tickets, even if you only intend to use the free ones. 

All seating is assigned to ensure groups get to sit together and we ask all guests to sit at their assigned table.

Who Should I Invite?

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Major supporters in your educational journey
  • Children 10+ (nursing infants of course are welcome as well, though we ask that you make arrangements for young children, as they may have a difficult time sitting quietly during some aspects of the program)

What Should I Wear?

Dress code: Dressy casual. It’s going to be reasonably hot in June, so we want you to be comfortable (no full tux needed!), but come looking like you’re ready to celebrate the occasion. 

Ladies:  Blouse and dress pants/skirt combo, or dress recommended.

Gentlemen: Button-up shirt/polo and slacks. Tie if desired.

Will There be Accommodations for Dietary Restrictions?

As best as we can. We will offer vegetarian, gluten free, and dairy free options in some entrees/sides. When you register for the banquet, there will be a spot where you can indicate dietary needs/restrictions and a space for comments as well.

Graduates and family gathered around a dinner table at banquet.

What Will We Do at the Banquet?

  • Eat delicious food
  • Hear from Western Seminary President
  • Hear from student speakers
  • Enjoy singing and music
  • Celebrate!

Be on the lookout for the registration link!

Questions about the Banquet? Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Gradutes smiling around a dinner table at the banquet.

Commencement: The Big Event

Commencement Ceremony
When: Saturday, June 12, 2021
Time: TBA
Location: TBA
Note: TBA

Graduates must arrive by 8:30 a.m. for rehearsal.

What Time Do I Need to be There?

All graduates need to meet in Western Seminary Student Resource Center (SRC) at 8:30 a.m.  The SRC is located by the Worship Center (see top right hand corner of the map). DO NOT BE LATE! Last person to arrive will get a “kick me” sign placed on the back of their regalia. Ok, not really, but don’t be late! You do not want to miss your opportunity to be in the group photo, as there will not be another chance.

Graduating Class of 2018


We will be running through commencement rehearsal as well as taking your official group and individual pictures. During rehearsal, we will line you up in correct order, show you where to sit, how to enter the stage; practice hooding, diploma receiving, and more. Your family and friends are not allowed in the rehearsal, but they can wait at the local coffee shop until doors open at 10:30 a.m.

After rehearsal, you will have just a little “down time” in order to use the restroom, freshen up, adjust your regalia, take pictures with peers, and grab a snack. We will be providing some light breakfast items and coffee for you.  Please stay nearby in the Student Resource Center and do not wander. We don’t want you to miss the queue to line up!

Rehersal Preperation

Where Do I Put My Stuff? Will It Be Safe?

We encourage you to put your personal items in the Student Resource Center. We will let you know which office/room to use. It will be locked during the ceremony and unlocked immediately after.  Please do not leave it unattended at your seat in the Worship Center.

Guest Invitation

The Worship Center is quite spacious and we are confident that it will accommodate all your guests. However, if you are planning to invite more than 20 people, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., so we can anticipate any arrangements that may be necessary.

There is a cry room available should it be needed for the little ones.

There are NO PHYSICAL TICKETS needed to attend the commencement ceremony.  

We know that reserving groups of seats can be tempting, but please be respectful of other guests who have shown up on time in order to get the seat they want. They’re here to see their loved ones graduate too.

Gospel Highlight

We know that not everyone invited to commencement will be fully committed Christians. Bearing that in mind, we ensure that through our graduation keynote and student speakers, the gospel is highlighted so that you may have an opportunity to witness to and connect with your unbelieving friends and family. Gospel-centered transformation is what Western’s all about, after all.

Immediately Following the Ceremony

Please exit the Worship Center and plan on meeting your friends and family in the courtyard (outdoor) for pictures and hugs, so as to thin out the crowd. Light refreshments will be provided (cookies, water), though we encourage you to go out and celebrate over lunch together. Remember to go back to the Student Resource Center to retrieve your personal belongings. 

Graduates Celebrating After Ceremony Graduates posing for an image with faculty.

Commencement: Regalia


Ordering and Distribution

On your graduation application, you should have noticed it asked for height and weight information. This was for your regalia order. Regalia packages will be ordered in advance by our Student Services team and you will receive an email when it has arrived so that you can come pick it up from campus.
Once you receive the regalia, you are encouraged to try it on to make sure there are no defects and it fits properly. Do not worry about the funky sleeves! They’re supposed to be that way! Students find them handy for hiding chapstick, phones, or other items in.

What’s Included in My Regalia Package?graduate posing in regalia.

  • Master’s gown
  • Master’s hood specific to your field of study
  • Mortarboard cap
  • Year dated tassel specific to your field of study

How Do I Care for My Regalia?

Please plan to hang up and steam your gown prior to coming to commencement. Avoid ironing the regalia, particularly the velvet portion of the hood. Do not wear your regalia in the car on the way over to rehearsal, but rather hang it up on a hanger and plan on putting it on during rehearsal.

The regalia we purchase uses a fabric from renewable managed forest. This fabric is scientifically proven to completely biodegrade and is a USDA certified biobase product.

I Already Have Regalia; Can I Just Wear That?

No. The Master’s level regalia is different than anything you may have already.

Do I Get to Keep My Regalia after Commencement?

Yes! All of this is yours to keep.

Can I Decorate My Cap?

Due to the fact this is a commissioning of students, as much as it is a celebration, we think it is most appropriate for the occasion for us a seminary and graduate institution to leave gowns and caps in their original condition without any extra adornment.

Other Purchase Options from Jostens

 There are other items available for purchase through Jostens: custom Western Seminary diploma frames, announcements, jewelry, and more. All of our items were updated just this past year and look really sharp. If ordering a diploma frame, the document size 8” x 10”. To view and order these items, click below to visit the Jostens site, and search for Western Seminary- All Locations.

Jostens Website

Diploma Example

This is one example of a diploma frame option. You may choose different options and personalize yours as desired.

After Commencement: Diploma & Transcript

Stack fo diploma covers


Diplomas will be mailed from Jostens to all fall, spring, and summer graduates, and they can take up to two months from the end of the semester for you to receive. It takes 4-6 weeks for the Registrar's Office to confer your degree and submit diploma orders through Jostens. Diplomas are expected to mail out 2-3 weeks after degree conferral.

To expedite processing, please make sure the following conditions have been met:

  • All of your final grades have been submitted by faculty and your degree has been certified.
  • Your account balance has been cleared to $0 with the Business Office.
  • You have completed the Financial Aid Exit Interview if you've received federal loans.
  • Your mailing address that is listed in S.I.S. is current.

Once your degree has been conferred by the Registrar’s office, you will receive an email informing you of such, and asking you to verify that your mailing address is correct. Be on the lookout for this important e-mail.

Using Your Legal Name

Like your transcript, your diploma will be an official document. Therefore, we will be using your full, legal name. If you legally change your name before you graduate, you must submit a Name Change Form prior to the last day of the semester in which your degree will be certified.


Once the aforementioned e-mail has been received from our Registrar, you are welcome to order your official transcript. DO NOT order your transcript until you have received the degree conferral confirmation email from the Registrar’s office. If you order it too early, you may need to reorder your transcript once your degree has been posted officially. Save yourself time and money by being patient. It can take 4-6 weeks for your degree to be conferred.

MAC students, we know that you are needing your transcripts ASAP to apply for your Associate number. If you would like to check on the status of your degree conferral, you may direct your email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. six weeks after the final day of the semester in which you graduate.

Where Do I Order My Transcript?

In your SIS account under the Student Records tab, then click “Transcripts on Demand.”


Official electronic transcripts (highly recommended) are $5.00 each. Print transcripts are $5.00 each plus the cost of shipping chosen at the time of order. If you request your transcript to be rush processed, it will be an additional $15.00 per recipient.

Ordering Transcript Information

Order Through SIS

Odds & Ends


Many graduates are curious about whether or not they'll be graduating with honors. Honors are determined by your final grade point average (GPA).Your honors status will be noted in the program. For fall graduates, this will be from your final term GPA. For spring graduates, GPA will be contingent on when spring grades are posted. For summer grads, this will be noted from your final spring semester GPA. 

RankFinal GPA
+Honors 3.60 - 3.74
++High Honors 3.75 - 3.89
+++Highest Honors 3.90 - 4.0


More info on photography to come. However, you can expect that a photo of you being hooded, receiving your diploma, and shaking hands with the President of Western Seminary will be taken.

Graduate standing with diploma next to seminary president.

Alumni Relations: Your Transition from Student to Graduate

Job Searching

Looking for a job after graduation? Check out Western’s placement page to browse job listings near and far. Also, our Portland-based Director of Placement, Greg Moon, would love to set up a meeting with you to talk.

Andy Peloquin
Andy Peloquin
Director of Student Development
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Placement Home

MAC Graduates

Have you checked out

Graduate holding a frame that says "Alumni".

Free Alumni Audit

As a Western graduate, you can audit one class, at any of Western's physical campus location, for free per academic year. Now you can take all of those electives you never had the time to do, homework-free! Keep your mind sharpened and be a lifetime learner. Submit the form below to the Financial Aid department at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and register for your selected class through your SIS account.

Alumni Audit Opportunity


Trustworthy. Accessible. How has the gospel affected your life? What possibilities are waiting for someone to come along and make realities? See the ways that you can partner with Western Seminary to bring trustworthy, biblical training to a world in need.


graduation 9Again, Congratulations!

You are now equipped with everything you need to know about the graduation weekend. 

To mark your completion of the Graduation Orientation, you must take the Graduate Orientation Quiz below.

Should you have questions, please review the Graduation Orientation one more time, and if you don't find the answer to your question, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Remember to:
  • Confirm completion of the Graduation Orientation by taking the Graduate Orientation Quiz.
  • Complete the Graduate Questionnaire and submit your photo by March 31, 2021 (click the link or check your email for the link to the questionnaire).

Graduate Orientation Quiz and Confirmation