How to Write a Congratulatory Note to a High School Graduate

by Sarah Snow ; Updated September 28, 2017

High school graduation is a time for celebration and accolades.

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High school graduation is the biggest public event in a teenager's experience. It celebrates academic achievement, and marks the beginning of a transitional phase from adolescence to adulthood. Many students overcome great odds when they graduate from high school. These include learning disabilities, social difficulties and family issues. When a student graduates from high school they triumph over their challenges and gain confidence to excel in future endeavors. There are many ways to recognize a graduate's achievements and composing a congratulatory note is an excellent place to start.

Choose an uplifting card that is appropriate for a high school graduation. Graduation is a major achievement and the card should reflect the importance of the student's success. Cards that are blank inside are best because a personal message is more meaningful than stock phrases.

Write a formal greeting. Use "Dear Graduate" or "Congratulations Graduate" rather than a colloquial greeting like "Hi Jennifer". Using the word graduate in the greeting gives the status of a new title to the person receiving the card. The use of formal grammar denotes the dignity of the graduate's achievement.

State your congratulations in the beginning of the note. The high school graduate should immediately know the purpose of your card.

Use statements that denote pride and recognition of achievement, and avoid negative references. Tell the high school graduate that you are proud of their accomplishments. If you are familiar with their achievements, like their volunteer work or office in student government, tie these personal accomplishments into your accolades. For example: "Your work as a volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters is a testament to your goodwill and your ability to handle a complicated schedule and work load while contributing to society."

Mention the high school graduate's opportunities. This message should be inspirational rather than a statement of expectations. Use this space to encourage the graduate to continue to build upon their accomplishments. This statement can be simple: "We look forward to hearing about your future endeavors."

Finish the note by restating your congratulations and signing the with "love" or "sincerely" depending on your relationship to the high school graduate.

Seal the card in an envelope. You may choose to write a quote that is inspirational and relevant on the back of the envelope.

Mail or hand deliver the card on the day of graduation or soon thereafter.


  • Traditionally, people include a monetary gift when offering congratulations to a graduate.

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About the Author

Sarah Snow began working as a freelance writer in 2010. She has worked in finance management, supply-chain management and currently works in public relations and creative development in the film industry. Snow holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing from Stanford University.