Parents and Families

A family celebrates with a new graduate.

We may be deep into winter here in Michigan, but Spring Commencement is just around the corner. If your student is planning to graduate this spring, here are a few important dates to keep in mind. 



If you have not done so already, you may want to reserve accommodations. Hotels in the Ann Arbor area fill quickly during graduation weekend. Learn more about Ann Arbor area hotels at Should you be looking for other lodging opportunities, we suggest visiting Airbnb and selecting Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Dexter or Ypsilanti as your location.

You may also want to consider making meal reservations. Some very popular Ann Arbor restaurants are already accepting reservations for the big weekend. In addition to restaurants, the university’s Pierpont Commons will host a Commencement Brunch Celebration on Saturday, May 4.


No Later than March 1:
Make sure your student has applied to graduate! Students who would like to have their names included in the university’s official commencement program must apply for graduation through Wolverine Access no later than March 1. In addition, individual schools/colleges may have additional deadlines around this time for inclusion in school/college graduation ceremonies’ printed programs.

If you need to apply for a visa in order to attend the graduation ceremony, be sure to ask your student to submit a request for a letter of invitation. The University of Michigan will provide a letter of invitation to assist graduates whose parents must apply for a visa in order to attend. To obtain this letter, your student must:

  • Apply for graduation.
  • Visit the International Center website for an overview of documents needed to apply for a visa.
  • After successfully completing the first two steps, make a formal request for the Letter(s) of Invitation by submitting an online request form. The university will email the letter of invitation to your student, who can then forward it to you for use in documenting your visa request. Note: it can take up to two business days for the university to process a letter of invitation.


Mid- to Late-March:

If you wish to order paper announcements, the ordering and printing process takes about three weeks. You can find more details about the University of Michigan commencement announcements and additional mementos on the Commencement website.

You may also want to discuss with your student when you should arrive in town. Official University of Michigan commencement activities take place Thursday, May 2 through Sunday, May 5. Commencement activities range from the big ceremony in Michigan Stadium (also known as General Commencement) to small ceremonies, receptions, and open houses. (Individual schools/colleges, programs, departments and student organizations often host their own celebration events during the days leading up to the general commencement ceremony.) Ask your student about any of these specialized events in advance so that you know when to arrive in town and can make travel arrangements if necessary. 

If you or a member of your family will require special assistance during the general commencement ceremony in Michigan Stadium, click here for a resource that can help you make the necessary arrangements (the deadline for completing and returning the Accessible/Limited Mobility Ticket Request is Monday, April 8​). In addition, if you plan to attend any of the smaller departmental commencement activities and you need special accommodations, it is best to get in touch directly with the school/college/program/department that is sponsoring the event to inquire about any special accommodations that you might need.  


Early April:

Discuss with your student how many guest tickets you will need. While tickets are free, each graduate receives a limited number. Ticket distribution for eligible students will begin Monday, April 15.



Review the items on the “Guest Checklist” for full details about parking, transportation, and other logistics of navigating commencement weekend. In particular, be sure to check out the information about what you can and cannot bring into Michigan Stadium.


May 2-5, 2019:

Enjoy the commencement activities with your new graduate! And congratulations!



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February 2019 Newsletter

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