What to Write in Graduation Cards for College Graduates & High School Grads

It’s that time of year: The time when kids and adults of all ages achieve the most major of milestones along their education journey: graduation! They’ve done all that work, faced all those challenges, pulled all those all-nighters (or managed to consistently achieve the equally impressive and nearly impossible feat of the last minute cram session). And here we sit, well rested and having long-since graduated ourselves, with pen in hand, staring blankly before us, wondering what to write in their graduation cards. 

We on the sidelines–parents, family, friends, colleagues, employers, and top tier recruiters–want to help mark the commencement occasion in a meaningful way, but that can be tricky. In some cases we’ve been intimately involved in the process of getting (yanking?) a kid through middle school angst or high school stress. In other cases we’ve watched from a teary, nail-biting distance as our kids navigated college without us. In many cases we’re the relative, team member, or friend who just wants to say “attaboy/attagirl/go YOU”.

The tried and true best method for getting your commencement congrats across is in a graduation card. Which begs the question: What to write in a college graduation card? What to write in a high school graduation card? And while we’re at it: How about middle school? Grade school? Grad school? And beyond? You’ve come to the right spot and just in the knick of time. Sharpen your pencil, uncap your pen, because we’ve got just the right sentiment for your graduation card writing success.

Why Deciding What to Write in a Graduation Card Is Tricky

If you’re at all close to the graduating senior, writing a high school or college graduation card feels like a long and winding trip down memory lane, culminating in a “this is your life” style tribute. This can feel daunting if composing award-winning poetry and/or detailed bio’s isn’t your thing, or if you’re just looking to cross this graduation card task off your “to do” list with your head held high. The good news: Award-winning writing isn’t required! There are succinct, spot-on ways to express meaningful congratulations to any senior in any commencement situation, and you don’t have to pull out the baby pictures to do so.

For quick tips for what to write in a graduation card, find your occasion below and get ready to sound effortlessly eloquent!

Tips for What to Write in Graduation Cards for College Graduates

Depending upon your relationship with the soon-to-be college grad, choose one of these sentiments for inspiration:

  • Parent: I’m proud to have seen you grow in so many ways throughout your college years. There are so many new adventures ahead and I can’t wait to watch you embrace them all. Congratulations and love always to you, my favorite child (just kidding; add that last part if you’ve only got one kid to begin with).
  • Friend/Family: You did it! It’s done! And the light at the end of the tunnel looks mighty bright! Congratulations on completing this chapter and beginning a new one. Let’s get drinks! (add the last part at your discretion–say, if you and your graduate are of legal drinking age, you don’t live in another state, and so on).
  • Employer: Congratulations on (yet another!) job well done!! We’re fortunate to have you on our team, and inspired by your growth mindset and commitment to your goals. Thank you for choosing [XYZ Company] as the place where you apply your new knowledge, many gifts, and unique talents.

Tips for What to Write in Graduation Cards for High School Graduates

High school commencement marks a clear step between childhood and adulthood. Choose a sentiment that reflects the growth behind and the growth coming ahead:

  • Parent: Thank the good Lord! Just look at how you limped your sorry self right over that finish line! (Just kidding. Sort of. Shout out to all the parents out there?) Seriously, here’s one that truly says it all: Witnessing your growth into an adult who is strong, smart, kind, and capable, has been the highlight of my life. Thank you for sharing this journey with me, including all the bumps, bruises, laughs, and ridiculousness. Looks to me like this caterpillar has become a butterfly and the wind’s beneath your wings. Looking forward to witnessing the amazing journey ahead for you!
  • Friend/Family: You did it! Congratulations on graduating high school! There’s so much fun to come and I’m down for all of it. Cheers! (If you’re a distant, though generous aunt or uncle, you know the drill: Leave off the part about being “down”–and be sure to include cash or check in the envelope.)
  • Employer: Congratulations on your high school graduation! We have enjoyed having you on the team here at [XYZ Company] and hope the path ahead includes a career with us. Here’s to new doors opening and a bright future ahead.

Tips for What to Write in Graduation Cards for “The Littles”

If your little one is making the leap from lower school to middle school, a card is in order. (And wherever parenting a middle schooler is concerned, a Caribbean cruise for the battle-weary parents is also in order, so don’t spend too much on the card!)

  • Parent: I love you to the moon and back again! Lower school was a blast and I can’t wait to see you shine so bright in Middle School. Congratulations on your graduation!
  • Friend/Family: We’re so excited that you’re graduating from lower school! You have learned so much and grown even more. You’re all set for your next adventure and we couldn’t be more proud of you!
  • Employer (We’re talking babysitting and lawn mowing here, folks): Congratulations on graduating from lower school! With all your natural talent and hard work, I have no doubt you’ll conquer middle school with success and a smile!

What to Customize for Commencement: Graduation Pens & More

Now that you’ve successfully navigated the conundrum of what to write in graduation cards, we couldn’t help mentioning, being, as we are, a personalized pen company, that a customized graduation pen or other personalized graduation gift serves as a great way for graduates, friends, and family to keep the commencement event in mind. 

You might be a teacher looking to give each student a parting gift, or a family member putting together a graduation party and looking for keepsakes for the guests, or an employer looking to call out team members who have completed special training or coursework. However you are celebrating, we like these winners:

  • Bright Soft Touch Falon Stylus Pen: The slim profile and elegant gold trim and matching stylus, plus your message laser engraved in gold mirror, are just right for a commencement occasion.
  • Swanky™ Graduation Pen: Add a little whimsy to the graduation festivities with this graduation-themed, click-top pen.
  • Full Color Colorama Pen: Wow, this full color, full wrap retractable pen is a bright billboard for your graduation message.
  • Full Color Contour Pen: Hand these full color, full wrap, wide body pens out to every graduate and spread your message into the after-campus world! Note the fully customizable barrel, contoured rubber comfort grip, and our exclusive SmoothWrite™ Ink.
  • Full Color Spiral Flip Pad: Young graduates will love this perfectly-sized, full color flip pad, which pairs well with one of the full wrap pens above!
  • Full Color 11 oz. Ceramic Mug: This ceramic mug features the dynamic design of your choice along with your personalized message and logo. It makes a great gift for every grad!
  • Meissa Journal with Pen: Riding off into the sunset after graduation? Send them off with this pocket-sized journal, featuring a soft touch cover, matching soft touch pen, and is packed with lined paper for notes on the go.

Keep in Mind: Simply Marking the Occasion Makes It Special

Whatever card you choose, words you write, or personalized pen or other graduation gift you give, as long as you’ve said, “Congrats!” you’re going to get a smile. Hopefully these tips on what to write in a graduation card have made it a bit easier to tell the new grad, “You did it!”. And look at you now, getting that graduation card in the mail, that congratulations email sent, that “You did it!” text delivered. Take your hat off, toss a mortar board if you happen to have one lying around, and give your good self a pat on the back, because the card part of commencement prep is complete!P.S. Looking for tips on writing holiday cards? Read our blog, What to Write in Holiday Cards for Clients & Employees. For more ideas about pens for special occasions, check out our blog, Engraved Pen Sets: Why We Love Getting and Giving Them.

Karleen Wise Andersen

From marketing tips to product recommendations, I’m here to help small businesses be their best.

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