Graduation ceremony – Here is what to expect on the day

You have been told that your graduation ceremony is happening and now you’re wondering what to expect. Well, this will vary on each university. Each University will do it differently, they will have their own rules and regulations. The university’s website and your student portal will have the full details of your ceremony.

Here is a quick over view of what you could expect on the day.


Graduation ceremony – what do I need to arrange before the ceremony?

Leading up to the event your university will get in touch with you usually via email or your student portal. This will be the place you will find your confirmation of all the timings, also the plans for throughout the day.

Applying for your guests’ seats at graduation

The number of guests you can bring will depend on the university’s policy and the size of venue they have for the ceremony. The university will want to know how many guests you wish to bring with you. In general, the universities try to make it fair so that every student can bring the same number of guests. It’s recommended that you apply for your tickets ASAP to avoid disappointment.

Gown hire

The university will encourage you to hire your gown and hat. They will advise where you can hire them from as there will be a specific gown for your university. In order to hire your gown, you will need to provide measurements of your head and what size gown you will need. Don’t worry they tend to carry spares on the day just in case for mis-sizing.

Big day has arrived, what to expect on the day?

The big day has finally arrived, now to get ready for all the fun. Here is what you can expect to be doing on the day of your ceremony.

Putting on your graduation gown and cap

Generally, you will start the day by getting dressed in your graduation outfit that you spent hours searching for the perfect fitting dress/suit. Once dressed you will head to your venue and carefully (almost regally) slip on your graduation gown making you feel like you can conquer the world, placing the cap upon your head like a crown. Don’t worry if the fit of the gown or hat is slightly off there will be members of the hire team on site to help – they always carry spares.

Once your dressed and ready you will head in to the graduation ceremony with your peers and guests.

Taking your seats

Both you and your guests should be seated in good time for the start of your ceremony. Check your timetables! You may be allocated seat numbers so you will need enough time to find them. Being seated with all the other graduands (people who are about to received their academic degree) you will find your guests will be seated in another section of the venue. You may be sat in alphabetical order within your fellow course members in order to help the running of things.

Opening Ceremony

It will be different depending on university, but the ceremony generally opens with a staff procession, lasting around 15-20 minutes. Senior lecturers and staff, some of whom you’ll know will walk on to the stage. It will be expected that you stand at this point, while the academic staff find their seats. Once they have been seated you will be invited to sit again and additionally welcomed by the vice-chancellor or president of the academic board.

Calling you onto stage

There will be a specific order that you will be called up on to the stage. It will be shared with you before the ceremony to make sure you’re ready. Generally, each graduands will be called up one-by-one and this will be done in a very coordinated fashion. There will be staff nearby to usher people in the right direction.

The speaker will call you up by name and degree classification. Once your called you can make you way across the stage to shake the chancellor’s hand. They will give you either a cylinder or a piece of paper as recognition of your degree ( you should of already received your certificate). Some universities will take photos at this point of each graduate shaking the chancellor’s hand. Once you have completed this head back to your seat so you can enjoy the remainder of the ceremony. Additionally, there may be further speeches once everyone has walked across.

On completion of all the student’s presentation the academic staff on the stage will leave the ceremony. This is when the students can then leave the ceremony.

Once it’s all completed

Upon leaving the ceremony you can head outside. Fellow students could be taking photos with family and friends and chatting about the ceremony. There may be a post-ceremony celebration organised at a location nearby. All university graduation ceremonies will be different. Some will serve food and drinks; others will have activities to help graduates celebrate their success. You may find you have the chance to get a professional photograph whilst in your cap and gown. At the end of the ceremony, you will need to return the hat and gown if you have hired it. The hire team will be on site collecting these throughout the day.

Remember to SMILE throughout the day and enjoy every minute. You have worked so hard to be there and you truly deserve it.

Well-done Graduate!

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