How Long Do Graduation Ceremonies Last?

Most universities and colleges schedule between two and four graduation ceremonies per day that are organised into subjects or facilities depending on the number of students. As a result, your graduation ceremony is likely to last around 90 to 120 minutes. Due to the number of ceremonies in a day, organisers and staff do their best to ensure that the event is well organized, starts on time and runs smoothly throughout the event.

Getting Dressed In Your Graduation Gown & Cap

For most universities’ graduation ceremony you will start the day by collecting and getting dressed up in your graduation gown and hat. There will be a designated area or room where you will collect your gown and cap which you will have ordered previously. There will be plenty of members of staff available to help you get ready and explain the traditional way to wear your graduation robe. If you realise that you have hired the wrong size hat or gown don’t panic. It is extremely likely that the gown hire company will have a number of spares in different sizes for emergencies like this and they will be on hand to help you. Once you have put on your graduation attire and feel comfortable and ready you will usually walk over to the graduation ceremony location with your peers and guests. The gowning area typically opens a few hours before your ceremony is due to begin. This gives you plenty of time to get ready and take some photos with your friends and family while you are in your graduation attire. In addition, it is worth mentioning that you also will be able to have your graduation photos taken before your ceremony while it is quieter and less stressful. However, it is worth noting that the studios close 30 minutes before the ceremony start time to allow everyone to have enough time to get seated.

Getting Seated In The Venue

When you arrive at the graduation venue and it is time to be seated you will be separated from your guests and enter the venue along with your fellow graduands (people who are about to receive their degree). 

The seating arrangements will have been organised by the ceremony planners to help make the day as organised and efficient as possible. This usually means sitting in the same order you will be called to the stage. There will be plenty of staff members on hand to help you find your seat if you are confused. 

Where you sit can depend on how your university or college organises its graduation ceremonies, however, it is likely you will be sitting with people who were in the same course as you in alphabetical order, normally by your last name.

Similarly, your guests will have assigned seats to help get everyone seated quickly and easily. There will also be staff on hand to help them so you don’t need to worry.

Academic Procession & Welcome Speech

At the start of your graduation ceremony, there will be an academic procession that usually lasts for between 15 and 20 minutes. During the academic procession, senior academics and staff dressed in academic attire will walk onto the stage. You might recognise some of your lecturers during this procession. 

You will stand during the academic procession before being invited to sit again once the academic staff have taken their seats on stage. You will then be welcomed by the president, vice-chancellor or another senior member of the academic board.

The Presentation Of The Awards

After the welcome speech has finished the presentation of the awards will begin. Each graduand will be called on to the stage one by one. This process is very coordinated and staff members will be on hand to ensure nothing goes wrong. 

Usually, you will be called by subject in the same order that you are seated. This can lead to a long wait for your turn or a long wait after you have walked across the stage, depending on where you are seated.

Walking Across The Stage

 Your walk across the stage will be the following:

  • Your name and degree classification will be called and you will walk across the stage to the president. 
  • You will then shake the president’s hand and receive a cylinder or piece of paper that symbolises your degree certificate. 
  • Some universities and colleges will take a photo of each graduate receiving their certificate and shaking the president’s hand so be sure to smile. 
  • You will then walk back to your seat to relax and enjoy the rest of the ceremony.

Academic Procession & Graduate Exit

After the awards have been handed out there may be some further speeches by the academic staff or honorary graduates. The new graduates (you) will then stand while the academic staff on stage leave the ceremony. Once they have left the graduates will also exit.

After The Ceremony

After the ceremony, you will leave the venue and have some more free time to take photos outside the venue with your friends and family. Depending on your college, there may be a post-ceremony celebration happening nearby. 

All university graduation ceremonies will be different. Some will serve food and drinks, while others might have activities to help their graduates celebrate their recent academic success. 

At the celebration, you will often have the opportunity to have your photo taken while wearing your graduation gown and cap by a professional photographer. 

At the end of the celebration, you will need to return your hired graduation gown and cap to the gown hire company before heading out to celebrate with your family and friends.

Graduation Photography

A professional graduation photography service, like Lafayette, will allow you to capture the memory of your special day in a relaxed and authentic way. For more information on our graduation ceremony photography service, please view here, or get in touch with our expert team with any questions.
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