Polk State College holds two graduation ceremonies each year, one in May and one in December.

Polk State College Commencement Ceremony, May 2019

Graduation Details

Graduation application deadline: Monday, April 1st, 2019
Ceremony date: Thursday, May 2nd, 2019
Ceremony time: 6:30 p.m. until ~9:30 p.m. (Doors open at 5:00 p.m.)
Graduates must arrive between 5:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Also between 5:15 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. is the SALO Graduation Celebration – Photo Booths, Music, Giveaways, and Fun.
Ticket Information: RP Funding Center reaches capacity for Polk State’s May 2 graduation. Polk State College’s 120th commencement ceremony that will take place May 2 at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland has reached capacity as determined by fire code. Tickets are no longer available. More than 650 students are expected to participate in the ceremony and have each claimed up to six free tickets for their guests, putting the event at capacity per RP Funding Center’s guidelines. The RP Funding Center’s doors will open at 5 p.m. Students participating in the ceremony do not need tickets. Guests are encouraged to have their tickets scanned for entry by 6 p.m. The ceremony begins at 6:30 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., guests who do not have tickets may seek entry at the ticket redemption table in the main hallway if there are any unscanned tickets. Polk State is currently unable to take phone calls or emails for ticket requests. The College apologizes for any inconvenience. Those who are unable to attend graduation may view the ceremony live on this webpage above.
If you signed in and claimed tickets, they are reserved for you. Check your personal email as listed on PASSPORT. Do NOT use the web link that was previously provided to redeem tickets.
Location: RP Funding Center
Address: 701 West Lime Street, Lakeland, Florida 33815
Caps⁄Gowns: Caps and Gowns will be available from the Bookstore on Monday, April 8th, 2019.
Regalia: Students may wear medallions, pins, stoles, and cords if provided to them by an approved organization or club of the College.
Graduation Posting: It takes up to thirty days to post your graduation status on your records. Each student record is carefully reviewed manually to ensure you have met requirements.

Graduation Deadline

The deadline for graduation applications and the dates and times of the upcoming commencement are also posted in the College Calendar. If you miss the deadline, your name will not be in the Commencement bulletin and receipt of your diploma may be delayed.  You also may not be able to acquire a cap and gown from the Bookstore.  You cannot walk without a cap and gown.

Steps for Graduation

  • The online application to graduate is open from the day after Drop/Add ends for each term until the Graduation Application Deadline posted on the Academic Calendar.
  • If you do not complete as planned your graduation application will be moved to the next term.  If you miss the second term, you must reapply to graduate.
  • If you withdraw from a course, fail a course, or have other academic issues that delay your graduation, YOU MAY STILL WALK IN THE CEREMONY AS PLANNED.
  • There is no fee to apply for graduation.  You must apply for each degree or certification you are seeking.
  • Your graduation date will be posted when you have completed all requirements.  That can be the standard graduation dates or any date after which your requirements have been completed.
  • Summer and fall graduates participate in the December Commencement.  Spring graduates participate in the spring commencement.  If a summer graduate wants to participate in the spring commencement, the graduate must contact the Graduation Coordinator at  863.298.6815 or 863.297.1010 extension 5278.

Graduation FAQ

Graduate Accolades:
We want to honor you at graduation. Tell us your story so we can share your success with others. Complete the Graduate Accolades Form and send it to

Graduation Application:
The application process begins by applying online through PASSPORT under [Advising]. Applications open each term beginning the day after the Add/Drop deadline.

Graduation Application Instructions:
The graduation application screens provide many details about graduation. Please read them carefully. You will receive a detailed email at your address with complete graduation instructions. If you do not qualify to graduate after grades are posted, your application will be moved to the next term.
Please complete the graduation survey also found as a link in PASSPORT under [Advising].
Please complete the graduation accolades form at the end of the application online.

Diplomas are printed after all requirements for a term have been completed and the group of graduates are all validated. The address on your Graduation Application will be used. Be sure it is accurate! Diplomas are mailed approximately 8-12 weeks after each graduation – spring, summer, and fall.
Certificates are printed after each cohort completion. You will receive them from the program manager or in the mail using the address Polk State has on record within 2 weeks of completion.

There is no Graduation fee.

Holds Be Wise!
Check Passport for obligations such as library fines, tickets you received on campus, and other fees. Check with the Graduation Coordinator for any additional holds you may have. You will not receive your transcript or diploma until all holds are resolved.

Graduation photographs will be taken the night of the ceremony. The photographer will contact graduates with special photo packages that can be purchased.

Graduating with Academic Honors:
Academic Honors are based on GPA and described in the college catalog under the Regulations section. Honor cords are given to students based on the term preceding the graduation term. If you earn academic honors after the Registrar has certified your final GPA, your transcript will reflect that.

Honors Program Graduates:
Be sure to wear your regalia as an Honors Program Graduate. We are proud of our honors students and honors program graduates. If you graduate from the Honors Program a note will be on your transcript. An honors seal will be displayed on your diploma based on your final GPA.

Graduation Protocol:
The Commencement ceremony is a most dignified event. Decorum and courtesy are very important for graduates and their guests.
All graduates and members of the general audience should stand and remove hats following the lead of the stage guests.
No air horns, balloons, bubbles, beach balls, or similar items are allowed in the ceremony. The use of noisemakers may be intended to show one person’s pride in a graduate, but it can also ruin the chance for another family to hear the name of their graduate announced.
If you need to use the restroom, leave your cap on your chair.
You may not leave until the ceremony concludes.

Caps, Gowns, Regalia:
Caps and gowns are purchased from the bookstore in person at either campus. IF YOU WRITE ON OR DECORATE YOUR CAP, you must do so tastefully without vulgarity or inappropriate content. If your mortarboard is deemed excessive or in poor taste by an administrator you may be required to remove the decorations, purchase another cap, or may not be allowed to participate in the ceremony.

Regalia, other than honors regalia, is provided by your clubs or organizations. Regalia must be approved. High School graduation regalia should not be worn. You cannot wear pins, sashes or decorative items outside of college-approved regalia.

Tassels should be worn on the RIGHT side. After you officially have been conferred your degree at the end of the ceremony, you will be directed to move your tassel from the right to the left.
BAS graduate regalia includes a tassel and cord in the traditional color of drab representing the Business discipline.

Announcements and Invitations:
Many students choose to order personalized announcements or invitations to send to their families and friends. We recommend you order these from the bookstore before the graduation application deadline.
Due to space limitations at the RP Funding Center, student guests will need to obtain an admittance ticket. Students will be limited in the number of guests allowed. See the ticketing information at the top of this page under Graduation Details.

Phi Theta Kappa Stolling, Golden Key International Honour Society, and Nurse’s Pinning:
These ceremonies are separate from Commencement. Contact the club sponsor or the nursing program director for details.

What to Wear:
Graduates must be attired in full academic regalia to participate in the ceremony. This includes medallions, pins, stoles, and cords if provided to them by an approved organization or club of the College.
Female graduates — Business attire. No flip-flops or beach-type sandals.
Male graduates — Dress shirt and tie with long trousers. No flip-flops or beach-type sandals.
Guests — Business casual.

There is never a rehearsal at Polk State College for commencement. Therefore, it is very important for students to arrive on time to check in.

Graduation will require tickets. See the ticketing information at the top of this page under Graduation Details.

Access for Disabled Persons:
The ushers will direct you to special seating. One guest may sit with the disabled guest and in some instances more. Seating with the disabled guest is subject to availability and demand on a first-come-first-serve basis.

No reception is provided after the ceremony. We encourage you to celebrate at one of the fine local restaurants with family and friends.

Motels and Hotels close to the RP Funding Center:
Hyatt Place Lakeland Center (Right by the RP Funding Center)
525 West Orange Street
Lakeland, FL 33815
Ph.: (863)413-1122

The Terrace Hotel (Historic Hotels of America)- Downtown Lakeland
329 E Main Street
Lakeland, FL 33801
Ph.: (863)688-0800

Hampton Inn & Suites (Approximately 3 miles from the RP Funding Center)
In the Lakeside Village Mall Complex
3630 Lakeside Village Blvd. Lakeland, FL 33803
Ph.: (863)603-7600

Ceremony Participation Deadline:
If you met the deadline with your graduation application, you can choose to participate late. You must complete a graduation application online, and secure a cap and gown. For assistance, contact the Graduation Coordinator at 863.298.6815 or 863.297.1010 extension 5278.

You cannot just “show up” at the ceremony and expect to walk.