Speech Requirements and Process

The speech you submit, must not be more than 10 minutes long. An ideal Commencement speech is usually between 5 to 10 minutes. After you submit the speech, the Commencement Student Speaker Committee will review your written speech and select some speeches. If your speech is selected, you will be invited to audition in front of the same Committee.

Typically, the Committee will rank the Student Speaker Candidates and submit their recommendations to the President of the College. Once a decision has been made, you will be notified whether you were the selected candidate or not. In rare occasions, we might ask the top candidates to do a second audition.

After the student speaker has been selected, the selected candidate will work with certain staff at the College to finalize their speech and practice the delivery of the speech. Typically, there is publicity regarding this selection and the Student Speaker is invited to the President’s reception prior to the Commencement Ceremony. The Student Speaker also sits on the dais with the Platform Party through the entire ceremony and is dressed in academic regalia. It really is quite an honor! We hope you will apply.

Guidelines to Write a Good Speech

Remember that the speech is both about you AND your fellow students. Therefore, they must be able to relate to you story. This is often done by sharing a personal story that shows you overcoming a challenge, and shows your commonly shared humanity. Appropriate humor also helps. The speech is also about a beginning: you are “commencing” into a world where you hope to make your dreams a reality. So, are your classmates. Along with the challenges you encountered, you also either overcame them or are facing them courageously to get here. Remember to have a message of hope and celebration in you speech.

You also went through a lot to get to the verge of graduating! So, did your classmates. So, what is your NSCC Connection: Where did NSCC fit into your story? How did it help you grow as a person? How did it help you with your goals? Was there any person (a faculty member, staff person, or student) who helped you or inspired you to succeed in your academic, career or personal goals? Was there a program that really helped you connect to the College and gave you confidence to succeed (examples: Trio, Veterans Services, Student Government Association, STEM club or other clubs and organizations)? Remember to acknowledge that. It creates a shared sense of humanity, gratitude and appreciation. And as we talk about gratitude and appreciation, do not forget to acknowledge those folks in your life who helped you get here: it might be your family, a mentor, a friend.

Commencement is a beginning, but it is also the end of a chapter in your life. What did you learn here that made you a better person. How did the NSCC Mission and Values resonate with your values and goals in life? Did your experience here teach or further strengthen these values for you? Where are you going from here? What do you hope to do when you leave these doors? We want to know… and, so do your classmates.

Finally, the technicalities: Speech Organization and grammar is always important. Remember that good writing usually shows good thinking. The speech should have an intro/thesis, conclusion, and supporting paragraphs. Good grammar and accurate spelling never hurts! And, finally, try to write a speech that is almost ready; that is it has the polish to be easily edited or does not require major edits.


We hope you will participate by submitting your speech for Student Speaker selection! We wish you all the best!

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