Graduation Thank You Card: Messages, Guides and Examples

Congratulations! Whether you’ve recently graduated from high school or college, med school or law school, you’ve achieved a major accomplishment and deserve to celebrate. For many recent grads, this celebration comes in the form of gifts, a celebratory dinner, or even a full-blown party from friends and family.

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It is customary to acknowledge your gratitude for the show of support on your graduation day by writing a thank you card. However, staring down a towering stack of blank graduation thank you cards can feel overwhelming, especially if you don’t consider yourself a strong writer. How do you properly articulate your gratitude for a thoughtful graduation gift without sounding stiff or forced?

Relax. We’ve got you. We have come up with 5 tried and true graduation thank you example messages that you can use to get your heartfelt graduation thank you messages started.

The thank you card message formula

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Before we jump into our favorite graduation thank you examples, let’s talk about the basic thank you card formula.

This is a helpful tool for organizing your thank you message. It also allows you the creative freedom to input your heartfelt gratitude without sounding robotic or overly verbose. This formula can help you get your creative juices flowing so you can write the perfect thank you message for the support you receive after your graduation.

  • Address the person(s) by name. If you prefer, you can preface their name with “Dear,” “Hello,” or another friendly greeting.
  • Express your gratitude immediately in the first line. Say, “I want to thank you for _______!” and fill in the blank with whatever gift or support the card recipient provided you.
  • In the following lines, recognize their generosity and kindness. You can say something along the lines of, “You are so sweet to give me this. I am grateful for your generosity.”
  • Following recognition, explain what you plan to do with their gift, or how it will help you in your new journey.
  • Wrap up the thank you message with a final thank you. You can elaborate here on what the person’s support or friendship means to you. Make a personal connection. If they attended your graduation ceremony or party, be sure to thank them for their presence at the function.

You can easily apply this formula to other instances you need a thank you card for, such as a baby shower or a wedding.

Graduation thank you card etiquette

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Believe it or not, there are a few “rules” for writing thank you cards that are equally important as the thank you itself. For example, thank you etiquette best practices include keeping track of your gift-givers and knowing who gave what, being specific, making the thank you personal, punctuality, and avoiding thank you emails at all costs. These tips will help you stay on track, maintain connections with important people in your life, and showcase your gratitude.

When should you send a graduation thank you card?

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Most people send thank you cards after receiving celebratory gifts following a major life event, like graduating high school or college. Because it’s a momentous occasion, people don’t expect to receive a thank you card the next day. But in general, you should try to send your thank you notes out between 1-2 months after receiving a gift.

How long should a thank you card be?

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You don’t need to pen the next Great American Novel in your graduation thank you notes. We recommend keeping it short and sweet. That means between three to five sentences, or less than 75 words in total.

Of course, if you have more to say to certain people due to your relationship with them, feel free to make your message longer. A personalized, appreciative thank you will mean more to people than the standard three to five sentences.

Should I handwrite my thank you cards?

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The answer to this question is, inarguably, yes. Handwritten graduation notes are always preferable and reign supreme. In fact, typed thank you notes are actually frowned upon, seen as less personable, and lazy. A handwritten note demonstrates you care about your friend or family member enough to sit down, and write them a kind word.

That said, if your busy post-grad schedule doesn’t allow you the time to write and address all of your gift-givers, Handwrytten can write your notes for you! We offer a wonderful, varied selection cards, all of which can be personalized to your heart’s content. Choose from our selection of handwriting styles, or have your handwriting and signature replicated.

We send out thank you notes for you via various shipping options. The entire card writing process takes 1-2 business days, and the final product is a beautiful thank you card that looks 100% handwritten.

Do my graduation thank you messages need to be formal?

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It is a common misconception that thank-you messages need to be extremely formal or professional sounding. The opposite is true, especially considering these are most likely being sent to people you already know.

You should strive to maintain a casual, warm, and friendly tone when writing your thank you notes. Injecting light humor through an inside joke or shared anecdote is also an excellent way to showcase your authenticity and personality. The most important part is to express gratitude for the gift that you’ve received, and a few kind words can do just that.

Graduation gift thank you card examples

Now that you have a better understanding of what makes good graduation thank you note, let’s take a look at some examples.

Graduation thank you – Monetary gift

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Dear Aunt Beatrice & Uncle Michael,

Thank you so much for coming to my graduation party, and for your generous gift! I plan to put the money toward buying a new laptop. I’m so excited to begin this new chapter of my life and am beyond grateful for your support and kindness.

Thank you again.

Your niece,


Graduation thank you – Physical gift

happy birthday, gift, christmas

Hello Katie,

I can’t thank you enough for thinking of me on my graduation day! Your graduation present was so thoughtful, and I know it will look fabulous in my new apartment and really tie the room together. I appreciate your kindness and generosity during my transition from college to grown-up life.

Thank you again,


Graduation thank you – Assistance, support

team spirit, teamwork, community


I want to express my sincere gratitude for your help in setting up my graduation party. Your willingness to help made this special day much less stressful for me, and my parents. I am forever grateful for your diligence and expertise, and I’m fortunate to have you as a friend. Thank you so much for making this the best graduation ever!

Thank you,


Graduation thank you – Ceremony/party attendance

drinks, alcohol, cocktails

Dear Kevin and Tonya,

Thank you so much for attending my graduation party. I know how busy you both are, so I am grateful for your presence to celebrate my special day with me. You also brought the most wonderful gift! You are incredibly sweet people, and I am grateful to have you as neighbors.

Thank you,


Graduation thank you – Mentor/teacher

software development, guest post, content writing

Dear Ms. Gilmore,

Thank you so much for a wonderful school year and for your continued kindness and support throughout my undergraduate career. You motivated me to work hard and give it my all. Your thoughtful feedback, recommendation letters, and encouragement helped make my college experience a positive one. I’m so fortunate to have had such a great teacher in my life.


April Danes

Still feeling unsure about what to say?

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If you’re still feeling stuck, using a simple thank-you card message could be the way to go. It can also be helpful to ask yourself some questions about the giver, this exciting time, or the specific gift itself. Before crafting your thank you, ask yourself:

  • How did the gift make me feel? (Happy, nostalgic, inspired, motivated, etc.)
  • Why was the gift perfect for me?
  • How will the gift make my life easier or better? (College savings, rent, textbooks, etc.)
  • When or where will I use it?
  • What are my plans for the gift?

Thinking about answers to questions like these can help you narrow down how you feel. It can also help you figure out what to write in your graduation thank you note.

What to write if you don’t like the graduation gift

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Unfortunately, sometimes even a generous graduation gift just doesn’t hit the mark. However, the person who gave it to you spent time and effort picking something out they thought you would need or enjoy. You should always send a thank you card for a graduation gift, even if it’s one you don’t like.

In this instance, you should focus on relaying your heartfelt thanks for such a thoughtful gift. Keep the note short and simple, and avoid saying anything that isn’t true. If, for example, you haven’t always wanted a Hello Kitty comforter set, you shouldn’t lie and say you have. Instead, focus on your appreciation for the gift giver’s thoughtfulness and highlight their generosity.

You can also mention an aspect of the gift you did like, such as its color or quality. If the gift relates to a hobby you have, acknowledge how well the gift giver knows you. Even if you don’t like the present itself, anyone can appreciate the care behind a kind graduation gift!

For example, if they give you a book because you love to read, you could say, “You know how much I love to read! This will be a great addition to my collection. Thank you so much for this wonderful graduation gift.”

Graduation thank you card tips

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A few parting tips for writing good graduation thank you card message:

  • If you are thanking someone for gifting money, never mention the amount the person gave you. Even for a generous cash gift, listing the amount is often seen as impolite.
  • It’s always a good idea to include a forward-looking statement. Mention the next time you plan to see the gift giver, or inquire about an event in their lives. Warm wishes from dear friends never go amiss.
  • You can end your graduation thank you cards with a variety of sign-offs. Add “Warmly,” “With love,” or “Sincerely” instead of just “Thank you” to mix things up.
  • A handwritten thank you card is always superior to a typed one, but make sure you are mindful of making your handwriting legible and nice looking. Quickly jotting down a thank you looks less thoughtful than intentionally nice-looking handwriting, and your reader will be able to tell.

Need more inspiration?

Handwrytten now has an AI Assistant that can come up with graduation messages for you! Better yet, the service is available at no charge.  Just log into and click “AI Assist” after you choose a card.

Final thoughts

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Writing graduation thank you cards may seem like a stressful and tedious task, but it doesn’t have to be. With these tips, examples, and the help of Handwrytten’s automated handwriting services, you’ll have a stack of thoughtfully written thank you cards in no time. Congrats on your major achievement, best of luck on your post-grad adventure, and never stop writing cards!

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