Holidays & Celebrations


Become An Expert At Planning For Your Child’s Graduation

Graduation Planning

Become An Expert At Planning For Your Child’s Graduation

Graduation planning is not only important, it's imperative. You, and especially your graduate, have been thinking about graduation since kindergarten. Some thoughts you know are nothing more than simple daydreams, others however need to be made concrete and workable if the transition to post-high school life is going to be smooth.

What Kind of Plans?

The first thought given to actual planning of an imminent graduation event is usually invitations or announcements of some kind. Beyond that what else is there? Let the voice of experience be your guide; there is plenty more to plan. Have you and your graduate discussed anything about life after they walk and toss their cap?

A few things to consider are time sensitive. There is the college, trade, or tech school application to fill out and submit. Summer jobs or internships are also time sensitive and tend to fill up quickly. Some thought and plan also needs to go into how the schooling and living expenses are going to be met. If you haven’t already made a course of action for these items it isn’t too late, but it may mean a delay in start times.

Another big question that hangs in the air around graduation time is when is your grad going to move out; are they even planning to move out? At times this choice is taken out of parental hands by college schedules and locations. If your 18 year old's pursuits are close enough to home to allow them to stay under your roof it will be a good idea to ask them what their plans are. If they plan to stay home, have a frank conversation about house rules and any modifications that will or won’t be made now that they are ‘free’.

If your child has no idea what they want to do after high school, establish some expectations. It's understandable that a child may have difficulty deciding on their future, but they cannot wait forever. Tell them that you expect them to at least be doing something after high school. Whether that's volunteer work, a job of some kind, school, or something else, they need to be productive in some way. Allowing your child to hang around the house for a while doing nothing after high school isn't going to benefit them or you.

College Applications

If your child has decided that they want to go to college, they need to begin applying in the fall of their senior year. Your child should have a concrete list of schools they want to apply to by the beginning of their senior year. Make it a summer project for them that they need to make this list; tell them that you expect it to be done by the end of July.

Your child should have at least 4-5 options to apply to. They likely will not get accepted into every school they apply to, so they need to have options. The more, the merrier, but keep in mind that some schools may have an application fee. Discuss with your child how you will pay for this; are you going to cover the expense, or do you expect them to foot that bill?

Make sure your child knows for certain when the deadline for college applications is. Some schools may have different deadlines than others, although they tend to be fairly consistent. Your child absolutely does not want to miss the deadline for an application, as then they'll have to wait until the following year. If your child has a tendency to be forgetful, make sure you stay after them to ensure the applications get done.

If your child decides to go to trade or technical school instead, the process is fairly similar. Put together a list of schools your child wants to attend, and get applications in on time. If they choose to go into the military, the time that they apply is more flexible. Still, they do not want to wait forever.

Planning for the Day

The life plans to prepare for graduation have to be made well in advance of the actual event. Once these things are out of the way it is time to think about the actual day of commencement. Ordering announcements nice and early is a must. Printers get overwhelmed not only with graduation but spring and summer weddings. Getting your order in avoids the rush, allows for time to address the envelopes and leaves wiggle room in case of a mistake.

Graduates usually want a fair chunk of the day of graduation to spend with their friends. Parents on the other hand want to celebrate the day with their child. Sit down with your graduate and discuss how the time will be divided. Maybe you can take the family out to celebrate graduation the night before or after commencement. Perhaps your child’s friends can be included in your family celebrations on the night of graduation for dinner, then the kids can go their own way for the balance of the evening. Whatever the plans are, you need to have a clear picture so to avoid unwanted graduation day drama and hurt feelings.

A final note, you will also want to be certain the cap and gown is ordered in good time. If you are unsure where to rent them, contact your schools administration offices. They will point you in the right direction.

To top