How to Write a Graduation Thank You Card

Grads throwing their caps up

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Graduation is the time to celebrate ... and you should. But don't forget the importance of sending a thank you note for all the gifts you receive.

You'll probably receive presents and money from friends and family members who want to help celebrate one of the biggest accomplishments of your life. It's definitely an exciting time of your life as you focus on your future, but don't forget to show your gratitude to others.

Whether you’re graduating from high school, college, or trade school, you’ll need to send thank you cards to everyone who sends a gift. There are other people you may want to thank as well. Don’t forget about your teachers, professors, librarians, and other folks who supported you throughout your educational journey. They probably don't expect a thank you note, but they all played a part in getting to this point in your life.

For the Parents

If you're the parent of someone about to graduate, remind them of the importance of sending a note to the generous people who gave them something. Make sure they have the notecards or paper they need and the list of who gave what. Don't write their thank you note for them, but be available to help with organization and ideas if needed.

When to Write a Graduation Thank You Card

It's best to write a thank you card as soon as possible after receiving a graduation gift. If possible, do it within a couple of weeks. Although it's still proper to wait up to a month after graduation, the longer you wait the more difficult it will be.

Why Write a Thank You Card?

Whenever someone takes the time to select a present or do something special for you, thanking that person is the right thing to do. Even if you don’t like the gift, it's important to show gratitude. After all, it took some effort on their part. The least you can do is show some good manners and let them know you appreciate the fact that they thought enough of you to give you something.

Keep Track of All Gifts

As each gift arrives, jot down what the item is and who sent it to you. This is essential because you’ll need to be specific in the thank you note. It only takes a tad more effort, and the personalization shows that you're paying attention. It will also leave the sender with a much better feeling about you. 

Thank You Message to the Family

Remember to thank the people who supported you the most as you first stepped foot in a classroom, stood by you throughout your education, and applauded all of your accomplishments. These are the people who were by your side, no matter what. 

The message to your family should be a heartfelt show of gratitude for always being there for you. Express your love and appreciation for all they’ve done to support you. You can also use a little bit of humor as long as it’s loving and not sarcastic.

Here is an example of a graduation thank you letter to the family:

Dear Mom and Dad,

Thank you so much for standing beside me throughout the years, as I studied, goofed off, studied some more, went off to college, repeated the process, and finally graduated. I always felt safe, knowing that I had a safe nest to return to. 

I also want to thank you for the generous gift card. I’ll have fun stocking my new apartment with new decor and a snazzy bookshelf. As soon as I have everything set up, I’d love to have you come for a visit. 



You can add more if you feel the urge. Chances are, your family will read the whole thing because they have a strong vested interest in you.

Thank You Message to Friends and Distant Relatives

Your thank you message to everyone outside your immediate family doesn’t need to be as long or detailed. Always start by showing your gratitude, specifically mention the gift, and express how you plan to use it.

Here are some examples of what to say to friends:

  • Thank you so much for the generous check. It will go a long way toward helping me set up my apartment.
  • I’m so grateful for the gift card to the electronics store. I plan to get a new laptop. I also want to thank you for being such a good friend and study partner.
  • I appreciate having you at my graduation ceremony. Your friendship will always be special to me.
  • Thank you for the gift card to the suit store. This will help me make a good impression at my first job interview.
  • Thank you for coming to my graduation. It’s always fun to have aunts and uncles there to celebrate such an important event.
  • Thank you so much for the bedding set. It will make my dorm room feel more like home.
  • Thank you for the beautiful necklace, bracelet, and earrings. They’re perfect for several of my outfits, and I’ll think of you every time I wear them.

Note to Teachers, Professors, and Others Academic Professionals

As you went through high school and college, there were people who taught, mentored, and prepared you for the next phase of your life. It’s always nice to express your gratitude to these folks for sharing their knowledge. 

These notes can be brief, but it’s nice when they are specific. It shows that some thought went into your words.

Here are some things you can write to those who were involved in your education:

  • I want to express how much I appreciate having you as a math teacher. Now I’m prepared for college and confident that I have what I need to succeed.
  • Thank you so much for making literature interesting and fun. Because of your passion and ability to relate the stories and characters to our lives, I’ve decided to pursue a degree in English.
  • Thank you for being such a fabulous science teacher. I looked forward to your class every day because your lessons were so interesting and gave me a good understanding of the subject.
  • When I first walked into my computer class, I was clueless. Now I feel I’m ready to tackle any technology assignment at my new job with confidence.
  • Thank you for all the lessons you taught last semester. But more importantly, thank you for showing compassion and kindness when I needed extra help.
  • When I first stepped foot on campus, I felt so lost. Thank you for your guidance, assistance, and willingness to answer even the most basic questions.

Final Thoughts on Graduation Thank You Cards

It’s important to write thank you cards to everyone who gives you a gift. It’s also nice to acknowledge anyone who has done something special for you, leading up to your graduation. Even if they weren’t able to attend the ceremony, many of them were there throughout your education, cheering for you every step of the way.