smiling graduate holding IUP diploma frame

Attention, college seniors, spring is here! If you’re graduating in May, the countdown to commencement has begun. So are you ready for graduation? We know from experience that you’ve already got a lot on your plate this time of year. You’re applying for jobs (or to grad schools), reaching out to all your networking contacts, and doing your best to stave off senioritis. Unfortunately, the stress of this final semester of your college career only intensifies as graduation weekend closes in.

Do yourself a favor and prepare well in advance for commencement. Make a week-by-week calendar and mark out important dates leading up to graduation. In addition to everything you’ll need to complete academically at your institution, don’t forget about pinning down dates for graduation parties, and putting together grad gift ideas and to-do lists for friends and family.

Doing as much as you can ahead of time will ensure a smooth and stress-free graduation week. Otherwise, you’ll be setting yourself up for a very last-minute race to get everything accomplished the first two weeks of May. Plus, before you even get to the graduation ceremony, you’ll have to focus your energies on your final exams. After all, you need to keep your grades up if you want to maintain a robust GPA for your resume. With all of those factors in mind, we’ve mapped out the ultimate guide for preparing for graduation.

Apply for graduation

If you don’t complete your online graduation application, you cannot participate in the commencement ceremony; it’s that simple. Seems a little obvious, but there’s a reason colleges send out the reminder email at least three times during the school year. If you forget this step, nothing else matters.

Attend your school’s grad fair

By attending your college or university’s graduation fair, you will check off so many boxes on your to-do list. First and foremost, you will need to order your graduation cap and gown, so attending grad fair is definitely a must. Other regalia elements may include cords, honors medallions, and custom stoles, so you should find out which ones you’re eligible to wear from commencement department reps in attendance. Many fairs are held at the campus bookstore where they may offer graduation bundles that include cap and gown plus diploma frame, graduation announcements, and alumni swag. These bundles are a great way to get all your grad essentials and save money on them.

Order graduation announcements

And address them. And send them out. Undoubtedly, your incredibly proud parents will help get the word out. Don’t rely on them to remember every family member and close friend. It’s a big deal that you’re graduating college; let everyone celebrate with you by sending out custom graduation announcements.

Order your class ring

It’s the one piece of school memorabilia that’s acceptable to display in every situation. Class rings are a strong tradition in universities; an immediate bond is formed when you see a total stranger wearing your school’s ring. Don’t miss out on this display of your alumni pride.

student holding siena college diploma frame

Get your diploma frame

You worked hard to earn that priceless piece of paper. Protect your college degree in a frame made in the United States with your school colors, logos, and wordmarks to preserve its value. It is the perfect gift to put on your graduation wish list!

Whether you’re looking for a diploma frame with a tassel holder with gold foil embossing or a high-quality double document frame for your dual degrees, you can easily customize your school’s frames to create your own signature style! Simply search your school on Church Hill Classics’ online college diploma frame store, pick a favorite style, customize to your liking, and add to cart. Best of all, they have a live custom service team to answer any questions you may have during the designing and ordering process.

Sort out all your paperwork

Jobs and internships need resumes, cover letters, and letters of recommendation. Grad schools need transcripts, GMAT/GRE scores, and more letters of recommendation. Whether you keep printed copies or you’ve got them stored digitally, it’s a good idea to form some kind of filing system. The last thing that you need is for a school (or job) to call and ask for a transcript only to have to dig through the ocean of papers in your closet.

graduate at grad fair holding ohio state diploma frame

Follow up with all of your contacts

Regardless of whether or not they know someone who can get you a job, send everyone an email, even if it’s just to say thank you for the help along the way. Trust us: They’ll want to know how you’re doing and will appreciate the thought. And, you never know, they may know someone who knows someone working at your dream job.

Visit the career center

Whether you need to brush up on your interviewing skills, polish that resume, or draft a knockout cover letter, your school’s career center is the place to go. Most universities offer professional-grade services like these for free, so be sure to take advantage of these opportunities while you still can.


Don’t forget to take a few moments for yourself. Catch up with an old friend. Go for an easy jog or bike ride. Enjoy a movie. Unwind by playing some video games. Take a long, hot shower. Life will only slow down if you let it.

Enjoy the big day

This is the most important step. All of your hard work, sleepless nights, and gallons of coffee will be worth it when you hold your diploma in hand. It deserves a place of prominence in a custom frame in the office of your first new job. Let it be a constant reminder of some of the best years of your life.

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