10 Unforgettable Ways To Congratulate a College Graduate

Wondering how to congratulate a college graduate? Here are 10 unforgettable ways that go beyond sending them a card with warm wishes.

The day has come. You’re sitting down, wearing a gown and a hat with a tassel you ordered. Your heart beams as you wait to hear your name and receive your piece of paper – the fruits of your hard work.

Suddenly, when your name is called, you walk up to the stage in a strut, grab the diploma, and walk off. You wait until the ceremony ends – exactly when you know the real fun begins. 

For most college students, graduation day is one of the most important days of their lives so far – even more so than their high school graduation.

Earning a degree is a great accomplishment, so why not give them a graduation message for their college graduation that they’ll remember forever?

How to Congratulate a College Graduate

There are many ways to celebrate graduation other than a pat on the back. If you’re out of ideas, GenTwenty has gotten you covered.

Here are 10 ways to congratulate a college graduate: 

1) Make a congratulations poster

You could always go with a graduation card, but why not make a poster giving them your best wishes, saying good luck – they’re on to great things, and wishing them a happy graduation?

Are you on a budget and an arts and crafts fanatic? If so, you can make a congratulations poster for your fellow graduate.

All you need to do is purchase some markers, a poster board or any kind of poster paper, some pencil crayons, pencils, ribbons, glue, and scissors.

The next step is self-explanatory: You would decorate the board whichever way you want it, as long as you write the words, “Congratulations.” 

Fill it with heartfelt messages from a close friend, graduation quotes for this exciting time, and words of wisdom along with your congratulations message. It will sure be appreciated!

This poster will be perfect for instagram-able pictures after the ceremony, or just even for a souvenir to remember the hardships, successes, and challenges of graduating. 

2) Book an overnight hotel getaway

If you’re looking to throw a bigger celebration, one idea is to book an overnight hotel getaway.

You can start by researching the amenities and resources offered, and choose a location. Bonus points if you can choose a location near the college or school. 

Once you choose a location, you can then get ready for your overnight hotel getaway. You can buy some snacks, plan some outfits, and purchase some party products. After all, graduation definitely feels like once in a blue moon, so why not go hard and celebrate it? 

Graduation is a big day and after several years of hard work, it would be nice to treat them with a peaceful night away.

3) Prepare a congratulations video 

There are times when you want to put in a lot of artistic and creative effort to congratulate your bestie for their graduation.

One of these methods is to prepare a video, whether it would be a collage or a stop-motion animation.

Gather some memorable photos, sort them in subsections, add thoughtful subheadings filled with quotes, and top the video off with some graduation songs. Your bestie definitely did not see all of this coming. 

Wish them the best on their bright future and next adventure as they learn to navigate the real world. Not to mention congratulating them on their special day and outstanding achievement of earning their college degree!

4) Prepare a talent show

Alright, I know that preparing talent shows is a lot of work. However, if you can gather a group of four people and create a mini show with three to four performances, your bestie who is graduating will definitely be proud of your efforts. 

Make sure that every performance has the “graduation” theme tied into it, whether it would be a dance, a song, or a piano recital. Your bestie will feel that they are reliving the graduation ceremony, all over again. 

This is a fun and unique way to congratulate a college graduation on their new journey during graduation season. Use your talents to show them how proud you are!

5) Buy them tickets to a tourist attraction 

I’m sure there are tourist attractions located near the college. And if that is so, you can pick one of these tourist attractions and purchase some tickets for the graduate.

Then, you can plan out a get-together and experience a memorable day. 

6) Offer a “You Choose What to Do” Day  

When congratulating a graduate, it is important to ensure that they feel content with what they accomplished.

Another way of celebrating their achievements is offering a day where the graduate is able to choose what to do, what to buy, and what to talk about.

However, it is also important to set limits about this beforehand as well, so your boundaries can also be respected. 

By offering a “You Choose What to do” day, your bestie who just recently graduated may be able to explore new places, try cuisines they always wanted to try, and vent about the unpredictable future.

The day gives them some time to be heard and valued to celebrate their great success and good work… and before they have to start paying back their student loans!

7) Host a Dessert Party

Most times, sweets are all you need to brighten up a day. After the graduation ceremony, you can also book a table at a local dessert place or host a dessert party in a small backyard.

Make sure you bake enough cupcakes, cakes, or pies to bring for everyone attending, and the fun will follow. 

You could also give a speech at this party encouraging their big dreams and sending them off to their future endeavors with warm wishes. Don’t overthink it – you’ll find the right words!

8) Try a new sport with them

Graduation marks a new beginning for trying out new hobbies. In order to celebrate new beginnings, you can also try a new sport.

There are plenty of sports available now in recreation ccenters and gymnasiums; you can ask your bestie which sport they want to try out after graduation, and book a ticket for a drop-in session. 

9) Make a goodie bag

Remember how whenever you would go to parties as a kid, you would receive these goodie bags filled with treats? These goodie bags can also be used to congratulate a recent graduate as well.

You can begin by purchasing some chocolate bars, candy, mini craft kids, and a mini card. You can perhaps DIY some of these items as well.

Therefore, when the ceremony ends, you can give this goodie bag to the graduate as a way of giving graduation gifts, and they will remember all the nostalgia from childhood goodie bags. 

10) Host a game night

If the graduate is a huge game fanatic and prefers to socialize, one method is to host a game night. You can start by inviting some of the graduate’s close friends and your close friends.

After confirming the dates, you can set up a few stations at the chosen location. Other than video and computer games, you can also research some active games as well, such as two truths and one lie, charades, hangman, and murder wink. 

There will be a lot of socialization going on throughout the event especially through the active games. You’ll not only have fun but make new friends, learn more about each other, and leave with tons of memories. 

Also, at the end, don’t forget to pin the tassel on the graduation cap. 

In Summary: How To Congratulate A College Graduate

There are plenty of methods to congratulate a college graduate on their recent success. Although many choose to go to a party or a night event, there are other options to explore as well.

No matter what you do, you’ll be sure to make fond memories together to celebrate their well-deserved success at the end of a tough journey. For a new graduate about to start on a real life journey, a greeting card is the bare minimum, but these 10 ideas go above and beyond!

These other options also depend on the graduate’s preferences and comfortability, but it is always good to go outside of one’s comfort zone to try a new activity.

At the end, it is not only about the parties, but the people you’ll meet and the memories you’ll create. 

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About the Author


Candice is currently attending school for social service work. One of her passions is helping others through my writing. In her downtime, you’ll find her listening to music, watching random YouTube videos, and writing about career goals and resumes. She hopes to start freelancing for writing and obtain a leadership position in a public services sector.