How to Achieve the Appropriate Etiquette For a Memorable Graduation


Last Updated on July 15, 2024 by Team Experts

Graduation is an important day in a student’s life as they celebrate their academic achievements and get ready to move on to the next part of their lives. Making the most of your graduation is the best way to commemorate the occasion so read on for our tips on graduation etiquette and have the graduation of your dreams.

Graduation Invitations

The first thing to do for any graduation is decide on the guests you want to bring with you. 

All graduates are allocated seats so that they can invite family and friends to celebrate their graduation with. Of course, there’s always a limit to seats so you won’t be able to invite everyone you want to. To avoid hurting feelings, the best way forward is to have conversations with your loved ones so that you can decide together who comes to watch and that way no one feels left out or unincluded in your graduation.

And though many of your family and friends won’t be able to attend the graduation, they will still be able to join in celebrations before and after.

Remember to allocate your seats wisely. Depending on the number of seats, it’s always a good idea to invite your parents and then spread the remaining seats out to a sibling, grandparent, close friend or date. An equal sharing is the fairest way to involve your loved ones in your ceremony.

Putting on Your Graduation Gown Properly

Looking smart and professional is always an important part of graduation and creates a positive and respectable impression.

Always try to wear a shirt or dress with a button or something to hook your graduation gown on so it doesn’t ride up around your neck. This lessens the need to fidget and adjust it which creates a more professional atmosphere. 

If you are wearing a tie, put it over the front of the hood as another way of pinning it down. The hood should always spread evenly across your shoulders with the colours on the outside.

The typical etiquette with the mortarboard is to make sure the tassel is on the right side of the cap at the beginning of the ceremony before moving it to the left after you have become a graduate. If you’re graduating from a Masters or a PhD, the tassel will start on the left hand side. 

The mortarboard should always sit flat on your head and if you need to, use pins and hair grips to secure it.

The Graduation Photograph

Photography etiquette is a vital part of the day as this picture will be what you look back on when remembering your big day.

Your hair should frame your face and your back should remain straight, body at an angle so you aren’t facing the camera head on. Putting your chin down and your ears forward yields a great look for a forward-facing photograph. It may look and feel unnatural but it delivers good results you can look back on in pride. 

Giving Gifts at Graduation

Graduation etiquette isn’t just for students to participate in. It is often considered appropriate for guests to get their loved one a gift when they graduate to celebrate their achievements 

Gift-selecting and gift-giving is entirely up to the gift giver whether they make it a private moment at home or at a party or at the graduation itself. Plus, any number of gifts can be given to the graduate. A lot of gifts are little souvenirs like a graduation themed teddy bear, jewellery, a new book, something small that the graduate can look back on and remember graduation.

Sometimes the gift can be a little bigger. A laptop is always a good option to replace the one that got worn out from years of study at university. 

Accepting Your Certificate

The final stage of graduation is the acceptance of the certificate. The key is to remain calm and maintain a natural relaxed pace so it doesn’t look like you’re rushing or walking too slow. Try and make your smile natural and polite as you approach the presenter. A few nerves are fine as long as you are maintaining positive behaviour. 

Take the certificate with your left hand and shake the presenter’s with your right. Be firm and confident and maintain good posture as it’s likely people will be taking a lot of photos of the ceremony itself. 

Remember to look out at towards the audience as you exit the stage so it doesn’t look like you’re trying to get it over with as fast as possible. Maintain the smile even if you don’t make eye contact and instead choose to just pick a spot over someone’s head. 

It’s important to be able to look back on your graduation memories fondly so maintaining good etiquette can make all the difference in preparing you for this momentous event and making the day as enjoyable as possible. If you end one chapter of your life on a positive note, you’re sure to get off to a good start with the next.

Read more: Know About Some of The Best Dramatic Novels


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Erin Lane is a creative writer and lifestyle blogger from Canberra, Australia. She is a hard-working, organized, dedicated professional interested in learning new things. With over six years of experience in writing, Erin has covered numerous topics, including health, tech, fashion, fitness, makeup, home improvement, decoration, business, and finances. Erin is an active person who enjoys nature and traveling. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter/X, Instagram

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