Graduate Checklist

Get ready for the big day and navigate it with ease with these instructions and tips.

This page addresses the steps that graduates should take after applying and being approved for Commencement. To see if you're eligible and to learn how to apply, purchase regalia, get tickets and download the app visit Graduates.


Determining transportation plans 

Read the Commencement parking flyer enclosed with your mailed parking permit to familiarize yourself and your guests with Special Events Parking, which includes information about the time parking lots open, garage information, accessibility parking details for permit holders and non-permit holders, ride share instructions and shuttle services.

All degree candidates will receive one parking pass for Lot 4, 5 or 8, which are in close proximity to the Towson Center Gym (where degree candidates must report 90 minutes before the ceremony). You may share this pass with your guests. This option requires walking long distances in some areas that are sloped or uphill.


Giving tickets to guests

Make sure your guests have their tickets. You can do this on the day of before you go to student robing room in the Towson Center (map location). 


Dressing for the ceremony

Remove your cap and gown from the packaging as soon as your receive it to ensure that both the size and order are correct. Steam your gown to remove wrinkles. Check out this wikiHow for easy ways to remove wrinkles. Your gown must be zipped during the ceremony.

About an inch from your eyebrows, place the cap level with the point in front. Hang your tassel on the right side. For master’s candidates, place your hood over your head with the colors facing outward and back, then position and secure the hood cord to a shirt button or with a pin. Doctoral candidates will carry the hood to the ceremony.

Ensure you have flat-soled shoes because the walk from the robing area in the Towson Center to the ceremony in the arena requires a walk of one mile that involves going up and down stairs and standing for long periods of time.

For information on Cap Decoration Guidelines, visit Graduates.


Displaying honors

Candidates may display distinguished accomplishments during Commencement activities with honor cords and medallions.

Honor cords and medallions are distributed by individual colleges or programs and are not for sale at the U-Store or regulated by the Office of the Provost. Latin Honors are determined after the ceremonies by the Graduation Office.


Bring what you need, leave prohibited items

Candidates with sensory needs or health-associated challenges that may be impacted by crowds, loud noise and lights are encouraged to bring ear protection or items that may relieve stress or agitation.

Anyone entering TU Arena or the Towson Center (i.e., faculty, staff, volunteers, degree candidates, guests, etc.) must account for their attendance and will undergo handheld metal detection and bag checks for prohibited items. For details visit Event Safety and Security Information (PDF).

Do not plan to bring any personal items with you to the robing room. This includes coats, bags, extra shoes, umbrellas, etc. The only thing students will be permitted to bring from the robing room to the arena are small bags that do not exceed 10x10x2 inches.


Arriving on time

You must check into the candidate robing area, located in the Towson Center gym, at 8:30 a.m. for the morning ceremony and 1:30 p.m. for the afternoon ceremony.

You will be required to present a photo ID upon arrival so that Commencement staff can quickly identify you and provide you with your student name card that will be used as you walk across the stage.

You will spend approximately 90 minutes in the student robing area prior to joining the processional into the arena for the ceremony. Be sure to bring your ceremony attire (gown, hood if a master's candidate, cap and tassel). 


Participating in the ceremony

Here are some tips for what to expect at the ceremony as a graduate: 

  • Before you leave the robing room, scan the digital program QR code to follow along during the ceremony.
  • When it is time for your name to be called alphabetically in the group of candidates receiving the same degree level, you will enter the stage via stairs on either side and exit the stage down the center stairs. Special arrangements are made for candidates who cannot navigate the stairs.
  • At the top of the stairs, you will hand your name card to a faculty member to scan so that your name can be read aloud.
  • Each ceremony lasts approximately 90 minutes as all graduates in attendance will be recognized on-stage.
  • Ceremony photos are taken by a professional company (GradImages) as you proceed to the stage and at multiple points on stage. Proofs will be sent to you within a few weeks of Commencement.

after the ceremony

Relive your experience

When you share memories from the day on social, use #TUproud and tag Towson University for a chance to be featured!

You can access:

  • staged photos taken during the ceremony by GradImages
  • candid photos taken by our university photographers via Flickr
  • a recording of your ceremony via Vimeo

Additional Ceremony Tips

Commencement ceremonies can be loud and raucous, with bright lights and big crowds. The ceremony includes music and video components. It is particularly loud when undergraduates turn their tassels during the ceremony, which will be announced before it happens. There may be loud noises at other times during the ceremony when guests celebrate their graduates (although air horns and other noise makers are prohibited).

It is perfectly normal and expected that Commencement may bring up feelings of excitement, anxiety and overwhelm. It can be very helpful to share these feelings with friends, family and other trusted loved ones in order to work through them. TU's Counseling Center is also another great resource for candidates who may want advice for managing stress or anxiety related to Commencement and all it may evoke.

Candidates and guests with sensory needs or health-associated challenges that may be impacted by the environment are encouraged to bring ear protection or items that may relieve stress or agitation. 

  • In honor of the graduates and to limit disruptions before the ceremony ends, we ask that guests remain in their seats for the duration of the ceremony (approximately three hours).
  • Our wheelchairs cannot leave the Arena. We recommend that guests who have mobility challenges bring their own walkers and wheelchairs.
  • Accessible seating in the stadium is available to accommodate guests with disabilities. Due to the number of guests requiring this seating, companion seating is limited to 1 per party in these areas.
  • For safety reasons, guests should not block the aisles or passageways by attempting to greet or take photos with graduates.
  • At Commencement, all names are meant to be heard.
  • Unopened bottles of water will be permitted. Concessions are available for cashless purchases throughout the Ceremony and located on both sides of the stadium.