Amusing Answers in College ...


College graduation ceremonies aren’t exactly the most entertaining affairs.

By design.

A speaker will make a case to “follow your passion” followed by a glorified roll call that, depending on the size of the school, can literally last hours.

Still, to lower the probability of something going awry, schools provide an FAQ. While these documents read like a CSPAN transcript on tax reform, I did come across a few passages worth sharing.

Emerson College

Q: My gown is wrinkled, what do I do?

A: DO NOT IRON IT, it will melt! Simply hang it up overnight.

And there’s nothing worse than sporting a melted gown on the big day. Researching the Emerson curriculum, I discovered the school doesn’t offer classes in chemistry, which explains the need to explain to grads that heat will melt plastic.

Q: Will you really be collecting tickets?

A: Yes! The Agganis staff will be making sure that everyone has a ticket, so DON’T LOSE YOUR TICKETS because your guests will not be able to attend.

Another vignette from Emerson. Enough Emerson grads debate the probability of someone being at the gate to “really collect tickets” that the topic makes the FAQ.

Brooklyn College

Q: Does my child need a ticket?

A: Children, with the exception of infants and toddlers who remain on an adult’s lap, must have a ticket. Campus and Community Safety officers will enforce this policy. Children are not permitted to march or sit with the graduates.

Sounds like Brooklyn College has experienced problems in the past with kids jumping the barricade and mixing with the grads.

Georgetown University

Q: If it rains and graduation is in the gym, can I get more rain-site tickets? If it rains, can I attend the first ceremony even though my name is in the second half of the alphabet?

A: No and no. McDonough Gymnasium will be filled to capacity, so we cannot issue additional rain-site tickets or allow graduates and families to choose which ceremony to attend. There is generally overflow seating (with a televised broadcast of the ceremony) in a tent outside the gym, as well as the McShain Lounge.

Got a kick out of the language which comes across as a scolding, “no and no.”


Q: Are dogs allowed at Commencement?

A: Dogs may be brought onto the UCLA campus exterior spaces if they are under the control of a competent person and restrained by substantial chain or leash not exceeding six feet in length. A complete policy can be obtained. However, because some participants or audience members may be allergic to or afraid of dogs and we want to ensure that commencement is a positive experience for everyone, bringing a dog is discouraged with the exception of guide, signal, and service dogs used by disabled persons in accordance with the California Health and Safety Code.

Grumpy bulldog

It sounds like anyone who brings a dog is sequestered and asked questions to determine if he or she is a “competent person.” In a group of 200 students, 36 are taking biology, 52 are taking Spanish, and 126 are taking neither biology nor Spanish. If one of these 200 students is to be chosen at random, what is the probability that the student chosen is taking biology, but not Spanish? I sense a lawsuit looming.

Pima Community College

Q: What should I do if I’m feeling nervous?

A: Relax, take a few deep breaths. Make eye contact with someone. Smile. Talk. It’s not a final exam, so just have fun. And be careful on those stage stairs!

I suppose it’s nerve-racking to sit with hundreds of classmates and when your name is read to stand up and walk across the stage to receive a congratulatory scroll.

Q: What’s the proper way to receive the congratulatory scroll?

A: Extend your right hand to shake hands with the dignitaries on stage. As you shake hands, extend your left hand above the right to receive the scroll.

Again, Pima CC leaves nothing to chance. If I were going to quibble, I’d suggest illustrating the technique since some students are visual learners.

Portland State

Q: I graduated several years ago and want to participate in a Commencement Ceremony.

A: You are welcome to come to the event as a guest. Due to the fact that we are at capacity for University Commencement, you may only participate in a Commencement Ceremony if you are eligible.

Apparently, participating in the Portland State commencement ceremony is the next best thing to the Space Mountain Ride at Disneyland.

Eastern Kentucky University

Q: Will EKU kick me out if I don’t finish my degree by my graduation term on my application?

A:  NO, NO, NO … the term you have on your application is just a goal, it is when you anticipate you might graduate.  If all things go as planned, and all courses are offered when you need them, and the stars are aligned just right, etc.  But life happens. That anticipated graduation term may need to be adjusted. Your College Graduation Expert will do that for you. Contact her/him to discuss deferring graduation to a later semester, or it may be done for you after your application is reviewed, or after your final grades are reviewed.

I would characterize the answer as an emphatic no. Also thought the line “but life happens” made for a nice empathetic touch.



Be sure your graduate gives you the tickets before Friday morning (when the graduation ceremony takes place).

I expected to see a second tip to “put money for a snack in an envelope and safety pin it to the graduate’s shirt.”

What’s the take away from this deep research?

If I attend UCLA’s graduation ceremony, I’m definitely not taking a dog.



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