What Do Graduates Really Want?
Tips and Resources For All of Your Graduation Needs
Graduation is such an exciting time in the lives of seniors and their families. When you think about it, they have worked for at least 13 years to get to this point. They have to be celebrated! I think everyone wants to celebrate them, but what do graduates really want?
As a high school counselor who deals with graduation every year, you would think I would have a little insight into this question. I really didn’t have a clue, so I did a little research so I would know what graduates really want. I sent a survey out to my students and got their thoughts.
Graduate Survey Questions
- What Gifts You Would Like to Receive?
- Are You Decorating Your Cap?
- What Party Themes Are You Planning?
- What Other Thoughts or Ideas Do You Want to Share?
So what is it that graduates really want? You can probably guess what the number one answer to this question was – MONEY! This really makes perfect sense, because they are setting out in the next step of their life’s journey. Whether they are going to college, the work force, military, or trade school, they will need money.
Gift cards was the second choice and things for an apartment or dorm was third. Although gift cards are like cash, they can be a little more personalized if you know what the recipient likes. I received the neatest graduation party invitation this year. Knowing that she was going away to college and would need items to set up her dorm, she included a QR code that takes people to her Amazon “Dorm” Wish List. Brilliant!
Here are some of the items on one of the wish lists, with the links listed below. She has very good taste – I am going to have to order some of these items myself!
- Rolling Utility Cart
- Desk Fan
- Desk Mat
- Rose Gold Desk Organizer
- Essential Oil Diffuser
- Electric Pot
- Coffee Pod Holder
- Keurig Mini Coffee Maker
- Rolling Laundry Hamper
- Essential Oils Set
- Fake Succulent Plants
- BISSELL Stick Vacuum
Other Ideas and Resources:
- A friend of mine used Shutterfly to make her son a photo album of all of his school years. It was really nice and a great keepsake.
- When my daughter graduated, we found a notebook kit called, Life Lessons. It was a scrapbook where you could put mementos from their school years, but the main focus was on gathering letters from relatives, former teachers, principals, Sunday School teachers, etc. The letters were written with advice to the graduate. This was priceless. Two years later when our son graduated, we could not find these. Our daughter made a scrapbook for him, and we gathered letters on our own.
- I am still working on the Bibles for my granddaughters. This is definitely not a last minute idea. Start this at least two years in advance. For more information, see the post, “Eternal Gifts for the Ones We Love.”
- Here is a post I found last week with great ideas, “High School Graduation Gifts on a Budget.”
- If you decide to give money, which is usually our choice, here is a unique way to present it, “Graduation Cap Mason Jar.”
- Other things listed in the survey were: jewelry, nice blankets, lava lamps, snacks, clothes, things for hobbies, things that allow them to be creative, and photo albums filled with pictures.
Although this is not a completely new thing, it was not around when I graduated, nor when my kids did. At first I didn’t care for the idea, but it has really grown on me. These students get creative, and they are very talented! More than half of the students plan to decorate their caps. I was a little surprised that the numbers were not higher.
If you are going to be helping someone decorate their cap and need ideas, I have found a wonderful resource. See the post, “60 Creative Graduation Cap Ideas That Stand Out From the Crowd.”
Graduation Party Themes and Ideas
For the most part, the graduates who completed the survey didn’t really seem to care what party theme they had. The common factor in almost all of the answers was that they wanted to be with their family. How wonderful is that?
The Types of Themes Mentioned Were:
- Family Dinner
- Dinosaurs with Graduation Hats
- College Theme
If you are looking for decorating ideas, here are a couple of other resources:
Graduation Party Centerpiece Ideas with Joann
Remember the party I had for my husband with the “Big Head” cut outs? You could definitely use that idea for a graduation party. There are also some simple food ideas for parties in this post.
In addition to that, I found an idea on a post that is like the big head, but it is full body decorations. I love it! Check out, “DIY Photo Graduation Party Decorations and Momentos.”
Inspiring Graduation Quotes
You probably know by now that I am a quote girl! I collect quotes and share them weekly. I hit the jackpot on inspiring quotes a few weeks ago when I received this post in my email, “300 Best Graduation Quotes and Sayings to Inspire.” You’ve got to see these.
Graduation is such a roller coaster ride for parents. The emotions run from proud, relieved, happy, sad, nostalgic, and everything in between. It is exciting but draining.
If you are a mom going through this experience, live in the moment and enjoy every moment with your child! The following article is specifically written for you. It is an encouragement, a prayer, and lessons to learn through the process. Read, “Confessions of a Mom Whose Baby Will Graduate Soon.”
Whether you are a parent, friend, student, or neighbor, it is always helpful to know what graduates really want when May rolls around on the calendar. Hopefully this has given you some ideas or encouragement in some way. Please share your ideas in the comments.
Have a Grace & Joy-filled day!
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“When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy.” Psalms 94:19
These are all such creative ideas, Susan, thanks so much for putting this together. My neice is graduating from middle school to high school and my cousin is graduating from high school and I didn’t have a clue has to how to make it special for them. This definitely helps! Hugs and thank you for all you do as a school counselor. I know it means so much to the kids and faculty to have you there. Hugs, CoCo
I really enjoyed this one, since the kids had a part in it! I hope it really helps. I’ve got one of their wish lists I’m going to add onto the post. She pretty much has the same taste as me. I’m going to have to order some of the items. 😂
I love that you went right to the source!! I always think money when I think Grad gifts too though my mom always gifted us kids a nice luggage set. We were at a graduation party last year and someone put a dorm care kit together by using items like laundry soap, shower caddy with supplies, cheap flip flops for the shower, favorite snacks, all these little odds and ends that most people would hardly even remember to pack until they got to their dorm. The grad love it and I thought that was a great idea.
I love that idea! My parents did something similar for us for Christmas, early in our marriage. It was really needed and one of the gifts that stands out in our memory. I think graduates would love it. Thanks for sharing!