How to write a congratulations card to a graduate

Updated November 21, 2016

Whether for kindergarten, high school, college or the military, graduations are special occasions for acknowledging major accomplishments. To celebrate the event, family and friends gather to offer congratulations to the graduate and often bring a card with money as a gift. As you prepare a graduation card for a family member or friend, go for more than just a signature inside. Instead, write some words of encouragement or advice as you congratulate the graduate on his great achievement.

Purchase a graduation card or a blank note card. Many graduation cards already have a message printed in them. If so, expand upon this message as you write your personal note inside.

Write a short and positive message that reflects the years of hard work the graduate has invested in her education or training. Acknowledging the arduousness of coursework can boost the graduate's confidence in her efforts. For example: "All your hard work has paid off! Congratulations!" You could also add a little humour: "After six years of papers, late nights and a VIP membership to the coffeehouse, you've finally done it!"

Offer your praises for how proud you are of the graduate and his accomplishment. Let him know that you always believed graduation day would happen.

Add a famous quotation that either sentimentally or humorously offers advice to the graduate. An inspirational quotation from Confucius reads: "Wherever you go, go with all your heart." Another, by an unknown author, says: "We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails." Alternately, go the humorous route by quoting this unknown author: "If at first you don't succeed, do it like your mother told you."

Close your message with "Congratulations" or "Best Wishes" followed by your name.

Tuck a gift card, check or cash inside the card.


Keep the entire message positive so the mood is joyous throughout graduation day. Remember that this day is about the graduate, so offer positive and kind words that praise her for all of her hard work.

Things You'll Need

  • Graduation card
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