Write A Jubilant Congratulations Card For Your New Graduate With This Guide

School is out for the year, and that means it’s graduation time for thousands of students all over the country. Whether someone is graduating with their PhD or celebrating the completion of kindergarten, graduation is a major life moment that deserves to be celebrated by everyone the graduate holds near and dear.

Gifts are a common way to celebrate, and a little extra cash definitely goes a long way for someone who’s just completed high school, college, or a graduate degree. It’s also important to use the power of words to let the graduate know just how proud you are of their accomplishments and how excited you are to celebrate their special day. Keep reading for some tips on what to get the graduates in your life and how to write that perfect, celebratory graduation day note.

Whether you’re graduating or know someone who is, find inspiration from these quotes from exceptional graduation speeches.

What to give a new graduate

It’s traditional to celebrate a new graduate with a gift and well-wishes for the next stage of their life. One of the most common gifts for new graduates is, well, money. After all, whether they’re heading off to college or the university, continuing their education post-bachelor’s degree, or stepping out into the world for the first time, they’re going to need extra cash, right?

While money and gift cards are always a good option, it’s also a nice idea to gift graduates with something they can use. A nice book bag, portfolio, or computer case could come in handy, depending on what they’re studying or where they’re planning to work in the future. Graduating high school students will likely be grateful for any gift that helps them prep for going away to school in the fall or outfitting their dorm room or first apartment.

Finally, most people want to share their admiration, congratulations, and perhaps even some life advice for a new graduate. The best way to do that is with a written letter or card, or even a congratulatory email or text if it’s not possible to see the graduate in person. Whatever the form, here are a few tips for what to include when you’re writing to a new grad.

Another great gift that encourages new grads to keep going further? The gift of Grammar Coach™, of course! Consider enriching the life of your loved one with Grammar Coach today.

How to write a message of congratulations to a graduate

A proper heading

This is a big event, and the recipient of your card or letter will likely keep it for many years to come. For that reason, it’s a good idea to start off with a proper greeting, like “Dear (Name).” Don’t forget to date your letter so the momentous occasion is marked and they can remember when they received it.

A clear statement of congratulations

Why are you writing this note? Get the main purpose of your letter out the right at the beginning. Be sure to include what type of graduation it is, and definitely include any special honors they’ve received, such as valedictorian or magna cum laude. They’ll be hearing the word congratulations a lot over the coming weeks, so you might even want to change it up by using some synonyms, like best wishes, amazing job, or way to go.

Specific praise

Round out the rest of your letter with sincere praise that expresses why you’re proud of them and celebrates their specific accomplishments. You can do this in two steps:

  • Compliment them on three qualities it took to complete their grade level, coursework, or degree. Consider their hard work, determination, creativity, organization, and any other skill they possess that are vital to success.
  • Talk about the future. What are a few things on the horizon for them? Mention these things, and talk about how the qualities you mentioned in the previous point will help them down the road. You might even include a word of helpful advice.

Feeling stuck? Check out our pointers on giving sincere praise in a way that doesn’t feel cheesy or contrived.

A solid closure

End your letter with a restatement of your initial congratulations and a proper sign-off, such as best wishes, sincerely, or good luck.

Example of a congratulations note for a graduate

The final product will both reflect your joy at sharing this momentous occasion with the graduate and also allow you to praise the skills they’ve developed during their academic career—even if it’s just that kindergarten year! Here’s one example of what a congratulations message might look like:

June 09, 2023

Dear Sam,

Congratulations on your college graduation! Getting a bachelor’s degree is no small feat, and I’m honored to be able to celebrate your well-deserved success.

Over the past four years, you’ve shown determination, ingenuity, and so much dedication. As you begin your career in education, I know these qualities will make you an asset to your fellow teachers and a favorite of your students.

I’m so happy to share in the excitement of your graduation day, and I know you have a bright future ahead.

Good luck in your next chapter,

Aunt Lucy

Congratulations on graduation template

If you’re helping a younger person work on a card for a sibling or other family member, or you want a little extra guidance on crafting the perfect note, here’s a template you can use to help get your thoughts down on paper. Simply copy and paste it into a new document, replace the parentheses with your preferred words, and then print!

Dear (Name),

(Congratulations / Best wishes / Great work) on your (college / high school / middle school) graduation!

I am so impressed by the (work / effort / skill) you’ve put into your education. I know your (passion / devotion / dedication), (determination / boldness / courage), and (creativity / imagination / resourcefulness) will take you far.

I’m honored to be able to share in the excitement of your graduation day, and I can’t wait to see what you do in the future.

(Sincerely / Best wishes / Good luck),
(Your Name)

Make it the perfect message with Grammar Coach™

The last step to writing a great letter or note is checking your message for errors. Thesaurus.com’s Grammar Coach can help eliminate any tricky mistakes you may have missed. You can paste our template directly into Grammar Coach and write your letter there, or you can copy your letter into the tool once you’re finished. Grammar Coach will point out spelling and punctuation errors, and can even suggest synonyms for words you may have overused.

Give the gift of Grammar Coach™!

One last point to consider: you can gift Grammar Coach to a new graduate. You’ll help them create a lifetime of good grammar and spelling habits right from the start of their new life.

Whatever the gift, don’t forget to tell them how you feel in your own words. Graduation is a special day, whether it’s for a pre-K student or someone getting a master’s degree. A heartfelt letter of congratulations and encouragement will go far in letting a new graduate know their loved ones are behind them and cheering them on, no matter where their next steps take them.

Are you writing for a graduate who was recently an undergraduate? Learn more about the terms here.

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