Things to Remember

What are the steps to complete my degree and graduate?
  1. Meet with an advisor (determine your goals)
  2. Choose a degree
  3. Follow your degree plan
  4. Apply for graduation (after 45 college-level credit hours are completed)
Why meet with your assigned advisor?
  • Process a degree review  
  • File the necessary paper work  
  • Complete the mandatory graduation application   
  • Confirm if you will be attending the commencement ceremony   
Do the requirements for a degree ever change?

You will stay on the degree plan and catalog year that you are following. Do not check the latest catalog for the latest degree plan as it may have been updated. Instead follow the degree plan from the year you started as a student or the year you declared your major. If you're unsure, check with your assigned advisor. If you decide to change your major and/or catalog year, you must meet with your assigned advisor to process the change and review the new major and/or catalog year requirements. You have five years to complete the degree plan requirements. Once the five years have passed, you would meet with your assigned advisor to look at a newer catalog year or ask for a catalog extension.

At what point do I apply for graduation?

At 45 college level credit hours and with your assigned advisor.

How many college credit hours does it take to earn a degree from NVC?

Approximately 60 college level credit hours.

Which developmental level courses count toward degree completion?

Developmental level courses do not count toward degree completion but are necessary to enroll in college-level classes.

What are the costs if I participate in the graduation ceremony? There are no costs associated with the graduation ceremony. Cap and gown are free and for you to keep. There is also no application fee. There is only a small parking fee ($3.50 this year).

There are no costs associated with the graduation ceremony. Cap and gown are free and for you to keep. There is also no application fee. There is only a small parking fee (pricing will vary by year).

Do I have to attend the graduation ceremony to receive my degree?

No, you do not have to attend the graduation ceremony to receive a degree but you do need to apply for graduation to have your degree reviewed so you can be awarded a degree.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What should I expect during my Graduation Advising Session?

During your mandatory advising session you will expect to have your certified academic advisor review your Alamo GPS, verify your major and catalog year, complete any necessary forms and paperwork, and complete an application for graduation.

What is the difference between commencement and graduation?

Commencement refers to the ceremony, which is an opportunity for students to celebrate their academic accomplishments with their peers, family and friends. There is no cost for graduation. The diploma, cap and gown are provided by the Alamo Colleges District. Participation in commencement does not guarantee or indicate degree completion.  

Graduation is a process consisting of meeting with your certified academic advisor, applying for graduation on paper, updating your diploma name and address in ACES if necessary, along with completing all academic requirements.

Why is it mandatory to meet with an academic advisor prior to graduation?

We want to make sure you are on track and on time to graduate with your certificate or degree. We also need to verify that you have satisfied all of your program requirements to be awarded your certificate and or degree earned.

When should I visit with my Academic Advisor for Graduation Advising?

You will want to visit with your Academic Advisor within your last 2 semesters of completing your certificate or degree.

Is participation in the commencement ceremony required?

No, you do not have to participate in the commencement ceremony in order to receive your diploma. However, you still need to meet with your Academic Advisor to complete mandatory graduation advising as you approach completion of a program. 

When will I receive my diploma?

 Eight to ten working weeks after the official close of the term in which you have graduated.

Is there a graduation application fee?


Is there a fee to attend the ceremony or for cap and gown?


What if I want to purchase a duplicate diploma or re-print?

Students may request a re-print or duplicate diploma at the link below, the fee is $25

Is there a commencement ceremony after every semester?

Northwest Vista hosts one commencement ceremony in May every year for students who complete their degree in Fall, Spring, or Summer. Students completing in the summer can attend the ceremony if they are lacking only 8 credit hours or less.

Can I decorate my cap and gown?

Your cap and gown may be decorated in good taste.

Can I keep my cap and gown?

Your cap and gown is a keepsake for you to cherish, you will not need to return it.

Is there a limit to the amount of guests I invite?

Please invite all who have supported you through your educational journey.  There are no restrictions for the number of guests that you may invite to celebrate your accomplishment.

Will there be pictures taken at the commencement?

Yes, there will be professional photographers available to take your picture with your cap and gown and diploma cover after you have crossed the stage

Who do I contact if any of the information provided on my application for graduation has changed?

You may contact your assigned advisor or the degree completion team at

What are the requirements to be eligible for graduation?

To be awarded an Associates Degree and/or Certificate please review your appropriate college catalog to learn of your requirements.