What to Write in a Graduation Card

Whether you're celebrating a cute little kindergartner in a cap and gown or congratulating someone on their college degree, graduation is a milestone that deserves some major kudos!

With all the greeting cards available for any type of scholar, you'll have no problem finding just the right sentiment to celebrate the day. But how do you craft a personal message that will stand out in the "congratulations" crowd? Read the following tips before you put your pen to paper and you'll have no problem. Choose one, choose them all, or mix and match; Make it yours!

Be Specific

The type of graduation will inform what you write. Is the graduate moving on from middle school? Getting a high school diploma? Law degree? Celebrating a Ph.D? Finishing med school? Give a shout-out for the graduate's specific achievement and then choose the rest of your message based on where they're going from there. Keep it light and fun for kids and increasingly more insightful for the higher degrees. Here are some examples:

  • From Kindergarten Adventures to First Grade Fun. You're on your way!
  • Congratulations on your college graduation! Keep following your dreams and they will always lead you in the right direction.
  • Continue being a life-long learner, and you'll graduate life successfully.
  • Congratulations on your Master's Degree!

Make It Personal

...you might share memories, remember other milestones, and express how proud you are.

You probably thought about your relationship with the graduate when you picked out the card, so carry that over to what you write. Even if the main message of the card expressed some of these things, it still means a lot to add your personal touch.

For someone close to you, like your child, godchild, niece or nephew, you might share memories, remember other milestones, and express how proud you are.

For your sibling, friend or cousin, you could focus on the personality traits you respect or admire or take a celebratory approach.

  • Today proves something we've always known about you. You can do anything you set your mind to! We are so proud.
  • Congratulations, {name}! You have what it takes to reach your goals and I'm confident you'll continue to succeed. Keep up the good work!
  • Looking back on all you've done, celebrating where you are, and feeling excited about your future adventures. We'll always be cheering you on every step of the way!

For someone graduating from a specific type of program, such as nursing or law, you may want to write a message or wish that calls attention to their specialty, or addresses the reason why they chose the path they're about to embark on.

  • You've always helped people, and wanted to make the world a better place. This is a great day for you...and your future patients (or clients). So proud of you!

Don't Know the Graduate That Well?...

Occasionally the graduate may be someone you don't know as well (someone you don't see often, the child of an acquaintance, etc.) but that doesn't mean you can't still be a little creative.

Who Says Simple Can't Be Sincere?

  • I'm hoping you'll feel a great sense of accomplishment as you celebrate your hard work.
  • All the best to you for a bright and happy future!
  • You did it! Way to go! Success is yours.

Say Something Encouraging

Graduation is a memorable milestone and cards tend to be keepsakes for years to come.

Graduation is an adventure...with a lot of unknowns ahead! It's an exciting time, but it can also be a little scary. As you might imagine (and remember), the graduate could have some mixed feelings about closing one door and opening another. So along with your positive words about their next endeavor, give the grad a vote of confidence. And depending on your relationship, this could be a good time to remind them that you've always been there for them...and always will be.

  • Middle School's loss is High School's gain. Have fun and enjoy these wonderful years!
  • You've not only graduated from high school, but you've graduated to adulthood. How exciting! Wishing you all the best now and in the future.
  • Graduation...it's an ending and a beginning. But either way you look at it, you did it...and you've got a lot to be proud of!

Be Creative

If you're comfortable with the graduate's sense of humor, feel free to joke around-as long as you keep it light. Teasing them about taking their time to get their degree or wearing that funny cap is fun, but bringing up their college loans or the tough job market can be touchy.

  • One degree equals two happy parents! Congratulations on your Graduation!
  • All your hard work has paid off and now you have a funny hat to show for it!
  • Congratulations on the new initials after your name...oh yeah, and all that stuff you learned, too!

Or, take a more insightful approach, and include an inspirational quote. A simple search of graduation quotes will lead to plenty of websites for countless words of wisdom.

  • Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.
    - Henry David Thoreau
  • The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
    - Eleanor Roosevelt
  • I hope your dreams take you...to the corners of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes, to the windows of your opportunities, and to the most special places your heart has ever known.
    - Anonymous

Keep It Brief

Now that you have all these ideas, keep in mind that the graduate will probably have a stack of cards to skim...and will most likely be focused on the money or gift card inside. But don't let that stop you from writing something special. Graduation is a memorable milestone and cards tend to be keepsakes for years to come.

  • The time has come to celebrate...and to dream of what the future might hold.
  • Thinking of you on your graduation...and wishing you happiness always!
  • Many dream, some try, but only a few achieve. You are an achiever and you've made us all proud!

In short, be encouraging. Be inspirational. Be optimistic, uplifting, and brief-without-being-curt. Be cheerful. Be positive. And never forget to be yourself. ☺