That special student in your life is finally about to become a graduate. This calls for a celebration of their accomplishments and warm wishes for their future. A graduation card is the perfect way to show the graduate how proud of them you are.

If you’re attending a graduation party or ceremony, or were invited to one but can’t attend, you should give the graduate a card to celebrate their accomplishments. Here are some tips on writing a heartfelt graduation card.

What to Write in a Graduation Card

The grad will appreciate that you took the time to write them a special message. If you’re not sure where to start, these graduation message ideas will help you craft a sentimental card!

  • Congratulate the graduate on all of their hard work.
  • Bestow advice or inspiration from your life experiences. What did you wish you knew at their age?
  • Use a joke when appropriate.
  • Make it personal by sharing one of your favorite memories of them.
  • Wish them well and focus on the future.

Congratulatory Graduation Messages

A congratulatory graduation message is a versatile option when writing a card. These can be less personal and therefore appropriate if you don’t know the graduate that well. They’re also a good starting point for a close friend or family member.

General congratulatory messages

  • Congratulations! You did it just like we knew you would!
  • You have made us so proud, we can’t wait to see what your future brings.
  • So honored to celebrate your graduation day with you, and very proud of you, too!
  • Education is the key to unlocking your potential. The diploma helps a little, too. Congrats!

Congratulatory messages for high school graduates

  • Congrats! [Future college] is lucky to have you!
  • [College/ trade school/ job] will be such an exciting endeavor. Congratulations!
  • Even with the added stress of [list their extra-curricular activities] you succeeded with flying colors. Congratulations!

Congratulatory messages for college graduates

  • Congratulations you are going to be a wonderful [teacher, doctor, etc.]!
  • Be proud of your accomplishment! You made it!
  • For all the lack of sleep, late night studies and hard work, your reward is here. Congratulations to you.

Inspirational Graduation Messages

If you want your grad to look towards the future, try using an inspirational message to get them excited about what’s to come. They’ve probably went through a lot of stress earning their degree and could use some words of encouragement.

  • Life is a journey and only you hold the map!
  • Don’t strive to make your presence noticed. Live to make your absence felt.
  • Being a graduate doesn’t mean that you know everything—but you are better prepared to learn what life has in store for you.
  • You have such an exciting adventure ahead of you!
  • This degree is a stepping stone to assist you in realizing your full potential. Congratulations!
  • “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” – Henry David Thoreau
  • Don’t be afraid to carve out your own path. You have all of the tools you need.
  • You worked so hard for this degree, but it is everything that you learned that will propel you to success.
  • Take this great achievement and turn your dreams into your plans.
  • On your graduation day, we honor your journey and your destination. We are looking forward to seeing you embark on a new leg of your adventure!

Funny Graduation Messages

Sometimes it’s all too serious. It’s okay to lighten the mood a bit. Funny quotes are great as long as you know the grad’s sense of humor. These can be enhanced with a funny memory or used to give them a dose of the “real world” that’s to come.

  • Respect your elders. We graduated without Google.
  • Even though I’m upset about losing my bet, congratulations on graduating! Just kidding, I always knew you could do it.
  • Congrats on filling a minimum job requirement!
  • It’s been such a long journey, did you ever think the day would finally come? I didn’t either!
  • Wow, that is one expensive piece of paper. Congrats on your piece of paper!

Funny messages for college graduates

  • Don’t forget to thank those who were always there for you during your time at school: caffeine, instant ramen and Wikipedia.
  • Hate to break it to you, but that was the easiest part of your adult life…
  • My hope for you is that your amazing college memories last longer than your student loans.
  • Do you realize that now you’ll be PAID to work instead of paying to work!?
  • Now that you’ve graduated, maybe you will be smart enough to figure out how to pay back your student loans.

Graduation Messages for Daughter

With her new degree, she can do anything she puts her mind to. Let your daughter know that she is loved and supported. You also have full permission to get nostalgic and cause some tears.

  • It has been a privilege to watch you grow into the woman you are today.
  • Time flies. It seems like just yesterday when we were holding you in our arms for the first time! We are so proud to see our little bundle of joy grow into such a capable and intelligent woman. Continue making us proud sweetheart!
  • We see that you are a powerful woman with the world in your hands, but in our hearts you will always be our little girl.
  • Congratulations! Chasing dreams is not an easy job, but you’ve done it! It required passion, commitment and dedication. We love you!
  • We still remember your first day of school. We were nervous for you to be away from us. That same feeling arose when we moved you into the dorm. Now we understand that it’s never easy to let you go, but the fact that you are so well prepared for your future makes it a little easier.
  • “She turned her can’ts into cans, and her dreams into plans.” – Kobi Yamada
  • To our little girl on her graduation day. Remember to relentlessly pursue what you want. Just don’t forget to stay humble along the way. We are so proud of you and your accomplishments. Congrats, sweetheart.
  • We are so proud of how intelligent, caring and driven you are everyday—we can not wait to see the places you go! You can do anything. We love you.
  • We take pride in being your parents, especially on days like this. We think about you often and love you so, so much.
  • The biggest honor is having you as our daughter.
  • You’ve always been a hard worker driven by your passions and dreams. Congratulations!

Graduation Messages for Son

He worked really hard to get where he is today, and now he gets to celebrate his accomplishments. Show your son that you are proud of the man that he has become. Don’t be afraid to get a little mushy.

  • Time really flies! Our baby boy is a graduate and we are so proud.
  • “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” – Michael Jordan
  • Here’s to the variety of new opportunities that have opened for you, our son. Enjoy your graduation day. We love you!
  • We are always proud to call you our son, but today we are especially proud. Congratulations!
  • It has been an amazing treat, to watch your journey of growth from a little boy to the man you are today. But remember, you’ll always be our little boy in our hearts.
  • We love and support you as always, and we couldn’t be prouder to be your parents.
  • I remember the day that you got accepted into your dream school. You were so excited. Then we moved you in and you were off on your own! We are so proud of you for striking out on your own and completing this major accomplishment. Congrats, we love you!
  • Congratulations on this achievement—the world is at your fingertips. Don’t forget that we are always a phone call away.
  • Sometimes we wished that you didn’t grow up so fast, but then we figured out that that would keep us from seeing you turn into the intelligent and handsome young man that you are today. Congratulations!
  • After [number of] years of hard work, your big day has come and you’re walking at graduation. We knew you could do it!

Graduation Messages for a Friend

Good friends have been there through the ups and downs. Celebrate your journey together and your big accomplishments by writing them a heartfelt card filled with your favorite memories.

  • I know that you are an accomplished graduate and all, but don’t forget to call me every once and awhile!
  • Even though we joke around a lot, in all honesty I am very proud to call you my friend.
  • Wow, how did I get so lucky to have such a smart and hard working friend?! Congratulations!
  • It is so great to see all of your hard work come together to accomplish this goal; live it up and celebrate. It’s your time!

Messages for when you attended the same school

  • I’m thankful for all of the fun times we’ve had these past four years, and know that I’ve made a lifelong friend!
  • All of those hours spent at the library were worth it. Congratulations!
  • I am so grateful that we got to share so many memories these past years!

Messages for when you attended different schools

  • Although I wish that we could’ve experienced college together, I am so happy for you and your achievements.
  • Looking back, it’s probably a good thing we didn’t go to school together. Otherwise you may not have made it to graduation!
  • I’m so happy that our friendship survived through these hectic times. Congratulations, I am proud of you!

These messages could be used on their own, but depending on your relationship with the grad, we suggest including a personal message, memory or advice for their future. If you want give a gift along with their card then consider something personalized and unique for your grad. Handwritten cards and personalized gifts really show that you put extra care and thought into their gift. After all, they deserve sincere accolades for their hard work!