Graduation ceremonies or commencement ceremonies are some of the most symbolic events in a student's educational journey. These ceremonies celebrate the hard work they've put in to achieve outstanding accomplishments over the last few years and symbolise the start of a new beginning.
Over the last couple of years, the pandemic has resulted in distancing restrictions and regulations pertaining to in-person events, and graduation ceremonies, no matter how important they are, are not spared. This has caused organizing committees of the ceremonies to scramble in search of a way to honor the graduating students, celebrate their achievements and encourage them for their new beginnings.
The key to organizing a memorable virtual graduation ceremony is the tools and platform it will be hosted on. Paired with some creativity, we're confident you'll be able to host virtual graduation ceremonies that will be etched in the minds of the graduands.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to host a virtual commencement ceremony!
1. Choose your virtual events platform
Choosing a virtual graduation events platform is an important first step in planning a virtual graduation ceremony because the features it offers will influence what can be carried out during the event.
Graduation ceremonies that are expected to be relatively small in scale may be hosted on a simple video conferencing software like Zoom or Skype, where speakers and valedictorians may present their speeches in real-time to the graduands. While this is fine, the ceremony may not be as special and memorable as it can be to the graduands as it closely resembles their virtual classes and webinars.
Graduation ceremonies that are expected to be large may utilise platforms like Youtube to live stream a pre-recorded video on the graduation day. Organizers will need to record and prepare the valedictorian and commencement speeches, as well as collect photos of the graduating students beforehand and collate all of these into a video. The downside of this, however, is that the extent of audience interaction and engagement is limited to only the live chat feature.
Ideally, a combination of these two would make a great ceremony. We recommend hosting virtual graduation ceremonies on EventX's virtual events platform to achieve this. It offers many features that can be utilised creatively to create memories of an important milestone.
Try out EventX as an attendee or request a demo to learn more.
2. Utilise the features to create a memorable experience for the graduands and their friends and family (here are some ideas!)
Once you're set on the virtual events platform to host the graduation ceremony, explore all the features it offers and brainstorm how they can be creatively utilised to honor the graduating students.
You may choose how strictly the event should adhere to the traditional graduation ceremonies that have been carried out in person. Should the virtual event replicate all the traditions? Or innovate some newer ones to embrace the virtual age?
At EventX, we offer a variety of features so that you can choose how you want to create unforgettable memories for the graduating students. Here are some of the features we offer and how you can utilise them:
- set up a virtual exhibition hall with various virtual booths
- set up a virtual booth to collate well wishes from friends and family of the graduating students
- set up a virtual booth to showcase a virtual yearbook
- set up a networking lounge for graduating students to take group photos with their teachers and classmates
- present a digital photo album and the well wishes as banners and introductory videos in the event lobby
3. Provide reminders and ample time for guests and graduands to prepare any actionable
If you'd like the graduating students and their guests to prepare photos and well wishes, it will be best to have them submit the deliverables prior to the event. For example, if you're hosting the ceremony on EventX, you may get them to sign up for the event early using our registration form.
In the form, you may include a link where the graduating students can submit photos of themselves in the graduation cap and gown as well as their yearbook quote. You may also provide a link for the students and their guests to submit well wishes for the graduating class.
Be sure to give them ample time and reminders and ensure that the deadline set gives you plenty of time to work with the materials.
4. Inform graduands and guests about the dress code, and provide corresponding virtual backgrounds
If your graduation ceremony involves graduands turning on their cameras, you could also set a simple dress code, such as the graduation cap. This is fairly easy to prepare and is symbolic enough to be used to differentiate the graduands from the guests. Additionally, it adds to the atmosphere of a graduation ceremony.
As this is a virtual graduation, you can also consider preparing virtual backgrounds for the graduating students. You can choose between having a uniform virtual background for all graduands or having different backgrounds for different courses or classes.
You may distribute the virtual backgrounds through the confirmation or reminder email.
5. Decide which parts of the event, if any, should be recorded
What's a memorable graduation ceremony if it can't be rewatched? During in-person graduation ceremonies, graduating students have the ability to record and capture meaningful moments such as when they go on stage to receive their certificate.
For virtual ceremonies, you can consider recording the equivalent process and distributing them to the graduates after the ceremony as a keepsake. The introductory videos consisting of the digital photo album and the well wishes that were presented in the event lobby can also be made available on the school website for all to rewatch.
6. Conduct a rehearsal or dry run before the actual event
As we've seen throughout this article, a virtual graduation has great potential to be memorable for the graduating students as well as their families. However, this takes a considerable amount of planning and coordination.
As such, we highly recommend conducting a rehearsal to go through the motion of the event to sort out any potential hiccups or delays. This way, you'll be able to identify them early and resolve them before the actual event so as to minimize such occurrences.
Start planning your virtual graduation ceremonies with EventX today
Did you get inspired by the ideas we've shared above? Contact us today to discuss how our virtual events platform can assist you with creating a virtual graduation like no other. Honor your class of graduating students with EventX.
Frequently Asked Questions About Virtual Graduation Ceremonies
What is a virtual graduation ceremony?
A virtual graduation ceremony is an online ceremony celebrating the new chapter of the educational journey of prospective graduates. The ceremony may also be live streamed for family and friends of the prospective graduates to watch.
Why are virtual graduation ceremonies important?
Graduation ceremonies are symbolic and meaningful for prospective graduates who will be closing a chapter of their lives to embark on a new one. These ceremonies serve as a celebration of the hard work and dedication they have put in for the past few years. That’s why graduation ceremonies are meaningful and important for prospective graduates and their loved ones.
At a time when physical graduation ceremonies are almost impossible to organize, educational institutions should consider hosting virtual graduation ceremonies as an alternative.
Is it better to host a virtual graduation ceremony or host an in-person graduation ceremony once restrictions allow for it?
The situation is still quite unpredictable, so it is tough to estimate when restrictions will allow for in-person graduation ceremonies. We recommend going the virtual route because it may take months and even years before in-person graduation ceremonies are allowed.
The key is to make the ceremony as special as possible for the prospective graduates so that it won’t be perceived as another online class.
Will virtual graduation ceremonies still be a thing in the future?
It's difficult to be certain, but we believe that this pandemic has made virtual/remote learning more prominent than it has ever been before, and thus the possibility of virtual graduation ceremonies cannot be ignored. Perhaps hybrid graduation ceremonies would appeal to more people in the future.