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Graduation day tips for online students



Graduation day is the highlight of the year for the University of Essex Online team because we get to watch our online students receiving recognition for all their hard work.

We’ll soon be attending our seventh(!) graduation event at the Essex Colchester campus and over the years we’ve discovered a few tips and tricks to make the day stress-free for you and your family. Here they are…


Eat before the ceremony

Before your graduation ceremony (which typically lasts one to two hours) you’ll need time to collect your robes, have your photo taken and meet friends. It is likely there will be a big break in between your normal mealtimes. Have a hearty breakfast or lunch to tide you over – you don’t want your stomach rumbling in the middle of the ceremony. If you’re bringing children, remember to fetch snacks.


Wear comfortable shoes

This applies to both men and women! Graduation is not the time to break in a pair of new shoes or trial a new pair of high heels. Wear a pair of comfy shoes that you don’t mind spending some time in.

You’ll be standing for long periods and you may have to walk up and down stairs to collect your award. Make sure you’re not the one tripping over on the graduation DVD!


Check the weather

Come rain or shine, your graduation ceremony will be going ahead. The ceremony will be indoors but there will be periods of time where you are outside (walking to the venue, collecting your gown, waiting for friends, queuing at cash machines). Make sure you’re prepared for the weather; bring an umbrella if rain is forecast and water, sunglasses and sunscreen if it’s hot.


Get there early

For online students who are graduating on campus it will probably be the first time you’ve visited the university and it can take longer than you expect to get around. Arrive in good time for your ceremony to allow time to register and collect everything you need. By arriving early you’ll be able to work out where everything is before the crowds arrive.


Arrange a meeting place

During the ceremony you’ll be seated away from your visitors so prearrange somewhere to meet them afterwards. Once everyone leaves it gets very crowded outside and you are advised to leave your belongings (including your phone) with your family. Before the ceremony, identify a landmark or quiet spot away from the main exit where you can regroup.


Pre-book restaurants

If you would like to extend the celebrations by going out to eat after the ceremony make sure you book in advance. Restaurants will get very busy. Your graduation venue could be far away from the town centre so think about travel arrangements and if you intend on driving make sure someone acts as the designated driver.


Decide which souvenirs you want

On the day there will be a range of souvenirs that you can buy to remind you of your graduation. Try to decide beforehand if you would like to purchase some of these – this way you’ll know how much money to take and it saves your family buying duplicate items should you get separated.


Carry business cards

For most online students the graduation ceremony will be your first opportunity to meet fellow students face-to-face. Make the most of this opportunity by having business cards with you, or at least have your contact details to hand.


Plan your day

As you can tell from the above, it’s all about being prepared. Most online students don’t live near the campus/graduation venue so book accommodation and make travel arrangements in advance. Create a plan for the day to make sure you can fit everything in. Note down important details such as where to park, where to collect your gown, when to return your gown and restaurant bookings. Have these details with you to avoid panic on the day.

Enjoy the day

You’ve worked hard to get to this point and the graduation ceremony is your chance to celebrate with the University of Essex Online team, staff and students. Smile and enjoy!


Want to attend your own graduation day? Apply for an online course today