Graduation wishes: What to write in a graduation card

Graduation card

Hats off to graduates! Whether they’re earning a diploma, a program certificate, a degree or even a cool new professional title, their hard work deserves some warm, thoughtful words of recognition and encouragement.

Maybe you’re experiencing one of those “Class of Everyone!” years where you have a lot of graduation cards to send. Or maybe you just want some fresh ideas for what to write in a card for one special graduate. Either way, we’ve got you covered.

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You can read the whole guide or jump straight to the specific ideas you need. Whichever way you go, we hope our ideas help you add a little pomp to all your graduation-card circumstances!

Find tips for crafting your own special graduation message and get some real life examples from Hallmark Senior Writer Courtney Taylor in the video below or skip straight to the graduation wishes using the links above.


There’s no need to deliver a whole commencement address in your card. “Congratulations” is a great basic message, and it’s easy to say even if you don’t know the graduate well. Here are some ideas for going a word or two beyond to warm up and personalize your congratulations.

More casual

  • “Congratulations and BRAVO!”
  • “This calls for celebrating! Congratulations!”
  • “You did it! Congrats!”
  • “Caps off to you, Graduate! Well done!”
  • “What a proud day! We just couldn’t be happier for you!”
  • “What an impressive achievement!”
  • “Happy Graduation Day!”
  • “Good looks, brains, heart and now a diploma too? You’ve really got it all! Congrats!”
  • “You did the damn thing, Grad! SO proud.”
  • “The community, the church, your family and especially your mama could not be prouder of you.”
  • “You deserve all KINDS of high fives and hugs! You worked hard and got it done.”
  •  “¡Bravo! ¡Felicidades en tu graduación!”


More formal

  • “Congratulations on your well-deserved success.”
  • “Warmest congratulations on your graduation.”
  • “Congratulations on your graduation and best wishes for your next adventure!”
  • “So happy to share in the excitement of your graduation day, and so very proud of you, too!”
  • “With love and pride today and always,”
  • “Prayers and blessings on your graduation and for your future.”
  • “Tu graduación es la recompensa de todo tu esfuerzo. ¡Muchas Felicidades!”

Helpful tip: If the card you’ve chosen already has “congratulations” printed, follow it with an ellipsis […] and add to the “congratulations” message.

Look to the Future  

Graduation is the perfect time to look ahead, offer encouragement and express optimism and excitement about the graduate’s future. And you don’t even need a crystal ball to do it!

More casual

  • “Hope you’ll always find yourself as happy and full of big, crazy dreams as you are today!”
  • “Hope you’re able to take a well-earned rest, vacation—whatever kind of break sounds like fun. You’ve earned it!
  • “You’re going to be a star! Congratulations!”
  • “You deserve to see your dreams come true…congrats!”
  • “This definitely won’t be the last time I get to brag about you.”
  • “I’m so happy for you, even if this does mean you’re an [add school mascot here] for life.”
  • “You’ve stepped up on the world stage ready to be a star. Love to see your shine!”
  • “¡Lo lograste! Que todos tus sueños siempre se hagan realidad.”


More formal

  • “I’m sure today will be only the first of many proud, successful moments for you.”
  • “Sending warm congratulations today and wishing you all the best at Michigan State in the fall!”
  • “Congratulations today and best wishes for all your tomorrows.”
  • “I just know life has even more wonderful things in store for you.”
  • “Today, the field of education gains a very promising new addition. Congratulations on your graduation and best of luck in your teaching career!”
  • “Can’t wait to see where life will take you next. Wherever it is, our prayers go with you!”
  • “¡Muchas felicidades! Tu actitud triunfadora te seguirá llevando muy lejos.”

Helpful tip: Let your relationship be your guide if you decide to write a lighthearted message. If humor is part of how you communicate with the graduate in everyday life, then feel free to be your funny self when you sign the card.

Graduation During a Difficult Time  

Graduation is supposed to be a time of joy, but sometimes life has other ideas. Here are some message ideas for when difficult personal, family or broader circumstances make it impossible to celebrate the way you and the graduate would have hoped.


When Commencement Is Canceled

  • “Of course, we’re disappointed we won’t get to watch you walk across the stage like we’d always dreamed—but that just means we’re going to celebrate you even bigger as soon as we get the chance!”
  • “Even though graduation is going to look different for you, the achievement is still the same. You’ve put in the same hard work. You’ve learned and grown so much. And I couldn’t be prouder.”
  • “We’re sorry you’ve had to let go of the graduation ceremony and celebrating you’ve been looking forward to for the past four years. We wish it could have been different, but we want you to know we’re still so proud of you and what you’ve achieved.”
  • “It’s going to take more than a canceled graduation ceremony to stop me from blowing an air horn in your honor. Way to go, Grad!”
  • “You are still celebrated for this amazing accomplishment.”
  • “Aunque por el momento no podemos celebrar tu graduación, celebramos con orgullo tu logro.”


When the Graduate Is Struggling

  • “Congratulations on your graduation. I wish it could have happened at a happier time for you, but I hope it helps to know how loved you are and how proud you’ve made all of us who care about you.”
  • “You might not feel up to celebrating as you graduate, but we hope you do feel the pride, caring and good wishes surrounding you right now.”
  • “This is not how I pictured your graduation going, but you sure are the strong, resilient person I always imagined you’d grow to be. Anytime you don’t feel strong, please know you can lean on me.”
  • “As you graduate, you’re in all my proudest and happiest thoughts…and in my most caring, heartfelt prayers, too.”
  • “Sé que ahorita estás pasando por un mal momento, pero quiero que sepas que eres una persona que inspira a todos a su alrededor, y que se te desea todo lo mejor en tu graduación y siempre.”


When the Future Feels Uncertain

  • “You’re graduating at a tough time, but I believe in my heart that better days are coming. It may take some time, but I hope you can hang in there and keep believing, too.”
  • “Someday you’ll look back and think, Wow, I graduated at the strangest time ever… Until then, we’ll be here for you, cheering you on, looking forward to wherever life takes you next, and feeling so proud of you.”
  • “Graduation cards are supposed to wish you a bright future, but right now, I’m all for taking things one day at a time. I hope you’re able to do that, too. Especially today, I hope you can just enjoy all the pride and good wishes coming your way.”
  • “Praying for you as you graduate—for pride today, hope for tomorrow, and for love and support to go with you always.”
  • “Your talent is still your talent. Your hard work is still your hard work. Your dreams are still your dreams. You will help turn the world right side up again. Because you are still that amazing.”
  • “Hard work, talent, drive and vision will always outlast tough times. That’s how I know you’re going to make the world what you want it to be.”
  • “Recuerda que Dios está contigo hoy que te gradúas y siempre. Él te guiará y te acompañará a cada paso.”

Helpful Tip: It’s okay to be real in the face of hard circumstances. If the real you would say “This sucks,” then write “This sucks.” But don’t leave it at that. Try to take your message in a more hopeful, caring direction from there.

When You Can Be There  

If you’re going to be at the commencement ceremony or a part of the celebration afterwards, you might choose to focus your message on the pride and fun of sharing in the graduate’s big day.

More casual

  • “Congratulations, Jamal. It means so much to be a part of your graduation day!”
  • “WOO-HOO! We’re thrilled to be celebrating your graduation with you!”
  • “First I get to see you walk across the stage. Then there’s a party? Awesome!”
  • “Your whole village is stomping their feet and shouting your name right now, Kendrick.”
  • “¡Qué alegría poder ser parte de tu graduación!”


More formal

  • “So happy we could be here to watch you graduate with honors. It’s an honor to share in such an important day.”
  • “It’s my great privilege to know you…to think about all you’ve achieved…and to be with you on your graduation day.”
  • “You’ll always remember this day and so will all of us who were here cheering you on. Best of luck to you always!”
  •  “¡Muchas felicidades! Es un privilegio poder acompañarte en tu graduación.”

When You Will Not Make It  

Even when you can’t make it to the commencement ceremony or reception, you can still make your presence felt by letting the graduate know you’re with them in spirit.

More casual

  • “Congratulations on your high school graduation, Tyler! Wish we could be there to see it.”
  • “I wish I could be at your graduation to give you a hug and tell you in person how proud I am of you.”
  • “Even though we’ll miss seeing you in your cap and gown, we would never miss this chance to tell you we’re proud of you.”
  • “I feel a shout coming on! You can probably hear me from all the way over here. Congrats, Grad!”


More formal

  • “Sending warm thoughts and big congratulations to a graduate we’re so very proud of.”
  • “Thinking of you with love and pride on your graduation day.”
  • “Our warmest thoughts and highest hopes are with you as you celebrate your graduation.”
  • “Ojalá pudiera estar en tu graduación para decirte en persona que mi corazón está lleno de un orgullo inmenso por ti.”

Writing tip: When you can’t be there in person, you don’t have to include an apology in your personal message. Just the act of sending the card lets the graduate know you’re thinking of him or her.

Give Advice  

Graduation is a good time for the kind of advice that’s more about building people up than bossing them around. Keep your advice general, upbeat and encouraging, and it will be appreciated.

More casual

  • “Always remember: There’s no limit to what you can do if you keep believing in yourself.”
  • “Take pictures. Take your time celebrating. Take it easy for a while. Then get ready to take on the world!”
  • “It took a lot of hard work to reach this goal. You had to show up every day, whether you felt like it or not. I hope you feel great about what you’ve accomplished, and I hope you’ll continue to be a person who shows up day in and day out for those things that are worthwhile and important in life.”
  • “Graduation is like a bridge to the next part of your life, and everything that got you here—hard work, drive and confidence—is going to carry you across to the future you deserve.”
  • “Para alguien como tú ningún sueño es imposible de cumplir. Eres muy especial y tu determinación te llevará muy lejos.”


More formal

  • “May you always dare to do great things with your life.”
  • “Keep on growing. Keep adding to the goodness and beauty in the world. Keep developing those unique dreams and talents that make you who you are!”
  • “At my graduation, our commencement speaker challenged us to be lifelong learners, and that’s my advice for you as you graduate. Whatever you do, never stop learning, exploring, growing and challenging yourself to be your best.”
  • “Sigue esforzándote para alcanzar todas tus metas. Tu graduación es solo el comienzo de un futuro lleno de posibilidades.”

Writing tip: What’s the best life advice you’ve ever received? Or, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned so far? Answering either of those questions might be the perfect lead-in to a meaningful graduation message.

For a Family Member  

When it’s a family member graduating—whether it’s your sibling, your child, your niece or nephew, your cousin or even your parent—you might want to add an extra measure of warmth and pride.

More casual

  • “Your graduation day is a proud day for you and a dream come true for our family.”
  • “Congrats on graduating summa cum laude! I’m beyond proud to be related to someone so smart.”
  • “Know what makes your graduation extra special? It’s having watched you grow up, having so many good memories of you and knowing all the challenges you’ve worked through to get to this day.”
  • “Tu graduación es un día de orgullo para toda la familia, ¡así que vamos a celebrar!”


More formal

  • “Congratulations, with love for the grandson you are and with pride in the amazing person you are becoming.”
  • “It seems like just yesterday you were just a kid starting high school…now you’re a confident young man about to receive your diploma. It’s been our joy to watch you grow and achieve so much these past four years. Hope you know how proud we are and how much we love you.”
  • “It’s a beautiful thing, watching the daughter we’ve always loved growing up and getting one step closer to her dreams. Congratulations, with all our love,”
  • “Es maravilloso verte crecer y alcanzar tus metas. Te queremos mucho y estamos muy orgullosos de ti.”

Helpful tip: It’s probably most natural to share a memory of the graduate, but you could also share a memory from your own life experiences or graduation—anything that would be relevant to the graduate and fun or meaningful for him or her to read.

Warm Closings  

A warm closing is like the bow on top! Choose one of ours, or create your own.

  • Warmly,
  • Love,
  • With love,
  • Lots of love,
  • Love always,
  • Much love to you,
  • Best wishes!
  • Best wishes for your future,
  • All life’s best to you,
  • Congratulations!
  • Congratulations and best wishes,
  • Warmest congratulations,
  • Gratefully,
  • Blessings,
  • God bless,
  • God bless you,
  • God bless you now and always,
  • ¡Felicidades!
  • Credits:
  • Additional contributions by Ellen Brenneman, Cindy Phillips and Melvina Young.