Although the graduation period isn’t right now, I am sure many of you are wondering what happens when you find out that you’ve passed your course. I also apologise in advance as the post is rather long.

First off, congratulations! University isn’t easy and I am sure it hasn’t been plain sailing for you. All those months of hard studying in the library, writing your dissertations and the stress. Trust me, by the end of it though I am sure you’ll miss it. You’ll get to a point where you don’t know where you are or what to do next. Unless you’re one of the few that do. If you are unsure what to do after your degree then you should consider reading my post ‘Options after your degree’ as it offers some helpful advice on various things you can do, if you’re not sure.

If you have not passed, do not panic. This is the worst thing to do because it will get you down. I know it may be disheartening but there are other people in the same situation as you. You should be able to resit some modules or re-study a semester. Everything happens for a reason.

So let me guess… you’re now apprehensive about what to expect at graduation? Well here are my top ten tips that will help.


– You will firstly receive an email congratulating you on passing your degree. Although you may have worked out whether you have passed your degree including the classification, nothing is fully confirmed until you receive this email. You will receive an invitation to graduation, along with details on the academic dress and guest tickets for the day.


– The schedule. Make sure you know exactly what the schedule is for the day, as it is important to know when and where you need to be at all times throughout the day. You should receive an email about the order of events a couple of weeks before the ceremony.


– Nerves? It’s not as scary and daunting as you may think. You’re probably overthinking a simple walk along a stage, devising plans if you trip or fall. The percentage of people that do this is so small.


– Dress. So I am sure your next worry is ‘what am I going to wear?’. This was my initial worry. You want to judge it right so you’re not underdressed but not look as if you’re going to a wedding. Of course, it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. It is also a day about you, so wear whatever feels comfortable for you. If you are comfortable with heels, then wear them. If you are not, but feel like you should because other people are wearing them, DON’T! One thing university should have taught you is to be yourself and don’t follow the crowd (as cliché as that sounds). My tip for anyone wanting to wear heels, wear ones with straps so they are securely on your feet. I learned this from my Postgraduate graduation.


– Guest Tickets. If you would like guest tickets, you need to apply for them as soon as they become available. They sell out quickly, due to demand and it will be the worst feeling if your family or friends cannot see you graduate. Usually, you get allocated 2 tickets per person graduating, with the option to purchase 2 additional tickets thereafter.


– Take pictures on the day! I took loads of pictures during my Undergraduate graduation but failed to do so on my Postgraduate graduation because of the schedule of events and the weather. This was a regret of mine. It’s great to have pictures to look back on in a few years, or even to show your children or grandchildren.


– Academic Dress. The gowns and hat are warm, I mean super hot. So I have graduated in both the Summer and Winter. I was actually grateful for the gown in the Winter, as the weather was miserable. This meant the pictures I took were only inside Bristol Cathedral, which was a shame. The weather was so nice for my Summer graduation, which meant the pictures were nicer. However, it was horrible in terms of dress. As disgusting as it sounds, I had sweat in places I didn’t think I could. I was grateful I wore a white dress underneath and not black.


– Food. Make sure you have a decent size meal because you never know how long the ceremony and picture taking will last. My biggest tip is don’t drink too much water because you’ll find yourself running to the toilet every 10 minutes, which is hard to do in a ceremony.


– The Walk. Do not worry about which way you have to walk to get to, over and off the stage. It is all explained to you on the day very clearly. I worried about the way I shook the Dean’s hand but even this was explained. Every uni has a different way, from a general handshake to a nod, so just wait till the day to see which way they want you to perform.


– Friends. It is probably the last time you will see your uni friends for a while, so make the most of it. Take lots of pictures and experience the day together.


– Have fun! Remember, the day is about you and your success. It is probably the only time you will graduate unless you further your university education, so make the most of it.