Rockland Community College (RCC) was unable to host an in-person graduation ceremony during the pandemic, but still wanted to create a memorable experience that celebrated their students’ accomplishments. While RCC had an in-house marketing team, they knew that creating this type of experience would require additional support so the marketing department could also focus on their other responsibilities throughout the College.


RCC engaged Swim Digital Group (Swim) to create a comprehensive graduation experience that would give students the celebratory feeling that they would have received from an in-person ceremony. To execute this ceremony, Swim knew there would need to be more than a virtual platform, it would need to be personalized and have individual aspects to make the students feel valued and celebrated.


Swim created an all inclusive commencement experience that included: 

Communications Strategy

With the change in venue, it was important to communicate with graduates leading up to the event. The communications plan allowed for them to share the event details with friends and families, and directed them to a save-the-date page with event details. Swim created the communications content based on the strategy, designed th emails, developed the HTML code and coordinated the dissemination of each email. 

In addition to communications leading up to the event and on the day of, Swim executed a follow-up communications plan that encouraged students to join the Alumni Association and support the RCC Foundation. It was important that the event was leveraged to garner long-term support of the College.

Virtual Platform

The commencement platform was the central point of all aspects of the ceremony. This platform gave graduates access to the commencement programs, the graduates’ guestbook, highlighted student achievements, showcased each graduate and shared social media content related to commencement. 


The virtual platform also housed the individual videos from ceremony speakers and the conferring of the degrees. In addition to building the platform, Swim completed the final editing and graphic elements of each video.

Submission Form

Swim knew that one of the most important aspects of a graduation is being able to celebrate with loved ones, and that was going to be difficult for many students during the pandemic. To help accomplish this, Swim created a submission form on the save-the-date landing page that allowed family, friends, faculty and staff to share messages and well wishes with the graduates. On the day of commencement, the guestbook was live on the virtual platform and submissions were added over the next few weeks.

The virtual platform also housed the individual videos from ceremony speakers and the conferring of the degrees. In addition to building the platform, Swim completed the final editing and graphic elements of each video.

Live Stream

While all video content was pre-recorded and segments were uploaded to the virtual platform, Swim combined all videos into one video to be livestreamed on commencement day. The video was streamed on Facebook and YouTube so graduates could watch the ceremony together, and interact with loved ones and the RCC family during the ceremony.


Through the virtual commencement, Swim helped to graduate more than 700 RCC students in June 2020. The live stream on YouTube and Facebook was watched by more than 6,000 users who were able to congratulate and celebrate graduates in real time.





Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to apply for aid yearly?

Yes. If your financial circumstances changes, you may receive more or less aid. For example, your eligibility for financial aid could change significantly, especially if you have a different number of family members in college. Renewal of your financial aid package also depends on your satisfactory academic progress (SAP) towards a degree.

I probably don’t qualify for aid. Should I apply for aid anyway?

Yes. Many families mistakenly think they don’t qualify for aid and prevent themselves from receiving financial aid by failing to apply for it. There are a few sources of aid such as unsubsidized Stafford and PLUS loans that are available regardless of need, but you have to fill out a FAFSA to qualify. The FAFSA application is free, we recommend that everyone fill it out

Will financial aid cover all of my costs?

Maybe. In some circumstances, financial aid will cover the student’s full tuition and fees for the school year. However, it could only cover a portion. Once your FAFSA is processed and your award has been packaged, you will receive a letter outlining your full award.