Graduation announcement wording and etiquette

Graduation is a good circumstance to exercise a little pomp. Graduation announcements are a timeless way of showing off academic accomplishments and, like other cards for milestone events, an easy way to keep in touch with friends and family who might otherwise fall off your social agenda. As the way we communicate changes, some rules for graduation announcement wording and etiquette have modernized and some remain steadfast.


“Quadrata” announcement by Paperless Post. The white card features a large square customizable photo area to upload your own.

Quadrata” by Paperless Post


When to send graduation announcements

Plan to send a traditional graduation announcement roughly two weeks before the commencement ceremony. This will give plenty of time for printed cards to make it through the mail and plenty of time for your recipients to respond with a card of their own, if they like. (By the way—if you’re looking for a graduation invitation, we have those, too.)

How to write graduation announcement wording

You don’t need to do any voluminous writing here—just focus on the key details: the graduate’s name, class year, and school. Feel free to include a personal touch, like an inspiring quotation the grad likes, or words of gratitude or congratulations, too. If you have a senior portrait or a treasured photo from their time at school, by all means include it.

Who to send graduation announcements to

A good starting point for your graduation announcements mailing list is anyone you’d send a holiday card to—close friends, extended family, and important acquaintances. You may also consider important teachers, tutors, mentors, counselors, and scholastic colleagues for the mailing, as well. It takes a village, as they say, so make sure everyone’s contributions are recognized.


“Painted Circle” announcement by Paperless Post. The white care features a circular customizable photo opening with brush stroke details.

Painted Circle” by Paperless Post


High school graduation announcement wording

You may be asking, what wording should be used in a high school graduation announcement? Really, you can make things as simple or involved as you want, from including just a name, school, and graduation year, to adding the college your kid will soon be attending, or even highlighting which extracurricular activities they were involved in throughout their high school journey.


High school graduation announcement wording

Again, there’s no need to go into great detail here—simply including your child’s name, the name of their high school, and their graduation year is enough. But if you do want to include a little more personal information, a high school graduation announcement is a great place to list some of your student’s achievements and accomplishments during their high school career: Think National Honors Society, chess club, varsity soccer, etc. You can include highlights like travel, as well as the college they’re planning to attend. 


High school graduation announcement wording from parents

Presumably, for a high school graduation, it’s a parent, parents, or parent-figure who’s sending out the announcements. If you’d like to make that point even clearer, you can add, “NAME and NAME are proud to announce the graduation of our child NAME,” and then include the information stated previously, including high school and the year of the graduation ceremony.


High school graduation announcement wording from divorced parents

As stated above, you can include the names of both parents, and if one or both parents is remarried and the relationships allow, you may also want to include those spouses’ names. No matter what, remember that your kid is the star of the show here—so their name should be front and center instead of the parents’ names.  


“Grad Confetti” announcement by Paperless Post. The black card features a rectangular customizable photo opening with gold graduation-themed icons.

Grad Confetti” by Paperless Post


College graduation announcement wording 

You might be wondering, what is typical wording for a college graduation announcement? The good news is, it’s usually best to keep things simple and as straightforward as possible, adding just their name, school, and year of graduation. In other words, no one needs to know your student’s GPA, or how many 8am classes they skipped. However, there are ways to include other relevant info, if you choose. 


College graduation with honors announcement wording

Every college graduation is impressive and exciting, but when a student graduates with honors, you may want to highlight those extra accomplishments. Thankfully, there are no hard and fast rules as to where you should mention said honors on your graduation announcement. Depending on the design of the card you choose, you can incorporate the information alongside the college name and year. However, we’d suggest against putting your student’s honors front and center on the card, as it might come across as exceptionally braggadocious. (Though, to be fair, your kid has earned the right.)


College graduation announcement wording with mention of a job

The majority of graduates haven’t already found a full-time job upon graduation, so leaving this part out is no big deal. However, if your student has secured an exciting position, you can of course include it in their graduation announcement. At the end of your card, you can simply put, “NAME has accepted a position at NAME OF COMPANY.” 


Medical school graduation announcement wording

Celebrating a medical school graduation? You’ll almost certainly want to share the exciting news with family and friends. Here’s a bit of advice on how to word your med school graduation announcements. 


Medical school graduation announcement wording

Graduating from medical school is a particularly admirable accomplishment and one that’s very much worthy of highlighting. In addition to your typical graduation announcement wording, mention the medical school and program your graduate is leaving behind. You can also include cute, punny statements like “There’s a doctor in the house!” or something directly related to the field of medicine the graduate will be practicing. 


Medical school graduation announcement wording when husband and wife are both graduating doctors

First of all, congratulations on this incredible achievement. Just like before, be sure to clearly state the names, schools, programs, and graduation year of the new doctors. If they have a healthy sense of humor, you might want to include a cute, clever quip about how they can help each other out using their respective new medical fields. 


“Oliver Park I (Stationery)” thank you card by kate spade new york for Paperless Post. The white card features the words “thank you” and gold palm trees.

Oliver Park I (Stationery)” by kate spade new york for Paperless Post


Graduation gifts and thank you notes

Graduation announcements don’t require your recipients to send gifts in reply. (In fact, it’s considered bad form to make mention of a registry or try to solicit presents.) That said, if people do send gifts (or bring gifts to a graduation party) you shouldn’t consider the announcement the last word on giving thanks—personalized stationery is a perennial graduation gift for a reason, after all. Have your grad put that book-learning to use by handwriting a thank you note to every gift-giver. (If you want to avoid this altogether, including “no gifts” on an announcement is fully within the bounds of good manners.)



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