What to Write in a College Graduation Card

A close up shot from behind of someone wearing a graduation cap.

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If you have gone through college, you know firsthand how big an undertaking it is. After spending years studying and working relentlessly, graduation is a welcome sigh of relief. Whether the graduate's college is large or small, their ceremony is an important event. Their achievement should be celebrated.

While some college graduates throw themselves a party to celebrate, others may decide to keep their head down, gladly accepting cards or gifts through the mail. Some graduates even begin their new career immediately after they graduate, leaving them with no time to celebrate their achievement. No matter their situation, college graduates will greatly appreciate a heartfelt card congratulating them. It’s always nice to feel appreciated for your work.

Congratulate Them

First thing's first—always include a note of congratulations in a college graduation card. Even if you have purchased a pre-printed card with a note inside, be sure to add your own handwritten note to make it more personal and meaningful. Telling a graduate congratulations lets them know that you are happy for them and that they just achieved something significant. It’s an important sentiment to include in any graduation card or gift. Your note doesn’t necessarily have to be long. If you aren’t much of a writer, keep it simple:

  • Congrats, grad! Enjoy.
  • Congratulations on this major achievement. Let’s celebrate!
  • Wow! Congratulations on graduating college. I can’t wait to see what you do next.
  • Great work. I’m so happy for you!

Offer Words of Wisdom

Personal advice is always welcome in a college graduation card. If you have had experiences that have helped you learn while you were in the workforce or going through life, write about it in the card. It could be very useful for a college graduate about to set foot in a different world that they’re used to. No matter the age of the graduate, they will appreciate pertinent words of wisdom. 

Even if you think your advice seems a little on the cheesy side, you should add it. You never know how much impact your words will have and the sentiment is always appreciated.

  • Never lose sight of who you are.
  • No matter what, you have to keep trying to do your best.
  • Don’t listen to what negative thinkers have to say.
  • When you need motivation, always remember who is by your side cheering you on.

Show Support

Now that they have completed college, graduates must step into a new world, which could mean a new career, more schooling, or something else. It’s a time of uneasiness and possibly stress as they figure out their next steps in life. That means that they need as much support in that moment as they can get.

Whether the college graduate is your friend, loved one, or acquaintance, you should show your support. It’s an easy thing to do and it has a big impact on them.

  • I am always here if you need me.
  • Great work. I’m rooting for you!
  • I can’t wait to see what you do next. I know you’ll do great things.
  • Your hard work will soon pay off!

Encourage Them

As graduates work to get their footing after college, they can sometimes feel scared or anxious. Those feelings come with all big life changes and positive words can make a big difference, especially for mental health. In a college graduation card, be sure to encourage the graduate. They may even hold onto your words and revisit them when they are having a tough time adjusting to their new normal. Your words may be the confidence boost they need to achieve something.

  • Great job. Keep up the good work.
  • I knew you could do it! You rock.
  • You are such a hard worker. Show the world what you can do!
  • Congrats! You can do anything you put your mind to.

Add Your Favorite Quote

Sometimes, a quote perfectly encompasses what you want to say. Write it down! Quotes can invoke all sorts of emotions and they can provide encouragement, support, and wisdom through eloquent wording. It may become your favorite college graduate’s mantra. If you have a quote or saying that has gotten you through tough times, writing it in a college graduation card is perfect.

Try to choose a quote that is powerful, motivational, or pertains to education. The quote you include in your graduate’s card should be one that is relevant to the milestone they just reached. They may need motivation to work hard as they take their next step in life, or they may need words of support that will lift their head up if they struggle along the way.

  • “Your life is your story and the adventure ahead of you is the journey to fulfill your own purpose and potential.” - Kerry Washington
  • “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” - Winston Churchill
  • “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” - Malcolm X
  • “The Way Get Started Is To Quit Talking And Begin Doing.” – Walt Disney
  • “Now go, and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for you being here. Make good art.” - Neil Gaiman