To Celebrate Graduation Without a Party

How to Celebrate (College) Graduation Without a Party

  • Graduating with a college degree of whatever designation is a great accomplishment because only 50% of Americans graduate from college. Being part of that 50% is a great accomplishment and celebrating it goes without saying.
  • In helping you decide on the best type of graduation celebration that reflects your desires and feeling about obtaining your degree, this article will discuss the pros and cons of each type of celebration, and important questions to ask yourself in deciding which type of celebration to go with. Read on to learn more.
  • This article also provides insights on how to celebrate your college graduation without a party and how to throw a graduation party on a budget.

Graduating from college is a big deal, and one needs to look no further than the 2019 dropout rate published by Education Data to appreciate the feat that is the completion of a college degree.

Percentage of College Dropouts In the U.S. As of 2019, By Age At Enrolment: 2-Year & 4-Year Institutions. Source: Education Data

Percentage of College Dropouts In the U.S. As of 2019, By Age At Enrolment 2-Year & 4-Year Institutions. Source Education Data

Another 2017 Survey showed the graduation rate in the U.S to be 50% of the college students. That figure slightly dropped in 2019, which is not exactly encouraging.

Higher Education Graduation Rate In The United States From 2000 to 2017. Source: College Insight

Higher Education Graduation Rate In The United States From 2000 to 2017. Source College Insight

In 2019, approximately 3.9 million students graduated with a college degree in the US. Source:Education Data

In 2019, approximately 3.9 million students graduated with a college degree in the US. SourceEducation Data

And so it is understandable that you want to celebrate the great accomplishment that is graduating from college. Congratulations on being part of the 49-50% of Americans who completed their college degree, whether it is a Bachelor’s, an Associate Degree, a Master’s Degree, or a Doctorate Degree (or Ph.D. as it is more commonly called).

To help you with your graduation celebration(s), this article will show you how to celebrate your college graduation. Specifically, this article covers how to celebrate your college graduation without a party and how to throw a graduation party on a budget.

Types of Graduation Celebration And Their Pros and Cons.

For graduation celebrations, there are usually three broad types of celebrations – extravagant and lavish graduation party; small-scale inexpensive graduation party; and no graduation party. Each type has its pros and cons, and here are a few important pros and cons of each.

Extravagant Graduation Party – Pros and Cons.

With an extravagant graduation party, you go all out and no expenses are spared. You hire out an expensive and lavish venue with all the best props and planning that will give you the best pictures. You put on the best show that money can buy.

Usually, but not all the time, the bulk of people who attend this graduation party are mostly your parents’ friends with very few of your friends. In a way, this party is usually more for your parents than for you. And there is nothing wrong with this at all because any parent will be very proud when their child graduates from college, especially when the above gloomy statistic is considered. These are its pros and cons –


  • Your parents will be happy and delighted because they get to show off their smart daughter/son to their friends.
  • You may also derive some pleasure from it if you have a lot of friends in attendance.
  • You get a chance to dress up and take amazing pictures for your social media pages.
  • You also have an excuse to eat whatever you want. If your cheat day was not on that day, at least you have a valid excuse for having a cheat day.
  • If it is your parents sponsoring the grad party then you don’t have to worry about paying for anything.


  • The biggest con of an extravagant party where the bulk of the guests are not known to you is that you won’t feel a real sense of ownership of the graduation party. Yes, you would smile, take nice pictures, and be shown off to your parents’ friends but you may come out at the end of the day feeling like it was not your graduation party but your parents’ graduation party. And of course, this would only be applicable if the bulk of attendees are not your friends. If the bulk of people in attendance are your friends then of course it becomes a different thing.
  • The other con of an extravagant party is the cost. While this is not a con for you to worry about if you are not paying for the extravagant grad party, you may want to consider asking your parents to instead give you the money for you to maybe save it or use it for an inexpensive grad party.

Inexpensive Graduation Party – Pros and Cons.

With an inexpensive graduation party, your guest list is small and manageable, and your costs very low and minimal. This type of graduation party is usually more intimate and only involves close friends and family. These are almost always the people who walked the journey of college with you, from your first year to the last. They would also usually involve mentors and people who helped you in one way or another while you were studying.


  • The biggest advantage of an inexpensive graduation party is the fact that you are enjoying the occasion with people who are closest to you and mean more to you and your journey through college. And this makes it more meaningful and special. The atmosphere is also more relaxed as there is no need to put on a show or try to look picture perfect. Yes, you would take pictures, but they are not the sole focus of the day.
  • And there is of course the cost benefit. You spend less money for a more relaxed and intimate atmosphere.


  • Maybe you won’t get to eat as much as you’d hoped for. But that doesn’t sound like a con. And that’s because there is no notable con to an inexpensive graduation party. It is an all-round winner.

Graduation Celebration Without Party – Pros and Cons.

A graduation celebration without a party means just that; no party of any kind. There are no notable cons to having a graduation celebration without a party if you do not feel like having to spend your graduation celebration with other people outside members of your immediate family. There is a cost benefit as well. You save the money that you would have spent on any type of party, and use it instead for non-party celebration activities that you would get a thrill from.

Another advantage of a graduation celebration without a party is that it gives you leeway to choose what you want to do. There is no limit except your imagination, although of course imagination can sometimes desert when it is needed the most. Which is why we are here to help you in this article with some exciting non party graduation celebration ideas.

But before telling you what to do for your graduation celebration, it is important to take you through some important things to think about first. Thinking through and answering these important questions will help you in reaching a firm conclusion one way or the other whether to celebrate your graduation without a party, or whether to have a graduation party (whether of a grand or small scale).

Questions To Ask Yourself In Planning Your (College) Graduation Celebrations.

These questions will help give you a better appreciation of what you hope to achieve with your graduation celebration.

What Kind Of Celebration Do You Want To Have and Why Do You Want That Kind of Celebration?

You need to ask yourself which of these three types you want to have, looking at the pros and cons of each one as highlighted in the earlier section. An inexpensive graduation party or a graduation celebration without a party is always better for the advantages earlier listed.

Who Do You Want To Celebrate With?

Answering this question will ultimately also help you in deciding what kind of celebration to go with. If you are more inclined to celebrate it with those closest to you on your journey through college, then chances are that you will opt for either a graduation celebration without a party or a small-scale inexpensive graduation party because the list of persons who walked the journey through college with you is almost always small.

How Much Can You Afford To Spend And Why Do You Want To Spend It?

And this last question is what determines what type of celebration you ultimately settle for. Graduation parties do not come cheap at all. According to a conservative estimate by Graduation Party.Com, it will cost you on average, at least $985 to have a decent graduation party. This figure is however based on an old survey and is higher in recent times. If you have your student loan to pay off for example, and $1,000 seems like a luxury you can’t afford to splurge on a party, then it seems likely that you will have to settle for celebrating your graduation without a party.

And if that is the option you will have to settle for, you can still have an enjoyable graduation without a party. Here are some cool non party graduation celebration ideas.

How To Celebrate (College) Graduation Without A Party – 4 Non Party Graduation Celebration Ideas.

Here are 4 cool ways to celebrate your college graduation without a party.

1. Celebration With The Family.

You can celebrate your graduation with your family, without throwing an elaborate party. This one is simple yet fun. Since it is your graduation celebration, you can pick your favorite restaurant and have a quiet graduation dinner or lunch with your family to celebrate.

This type of celebration activity is usually best either before the graduation ceremony or on the day of the graduation ceremony itself, after the official graduation ceremony. Given that there will be other graduates who will also be having lunch or dinner with their families on the day of the graduation ceremony, it is probably safer to have the graduation lunch or dinner before the day of the graduation ceremony. If it becomes unavoidable to have lunch on the day of the graduation, it is advisable to make reservations at the restaurant to avoid showing up and not being able to have your lunch or dinner because the place is full.

It is always best to celebrate while the euphoria is still very much in the air and people are still very excited. If you must have this type of celebration after your graduation ceremony, it is advisable not to put it off for too long and to have it by the next weekend after graduation at most.

2. A Week-long Celebration With Different Activities.

This is another exciting non party graduation celebration idea. With this one, you can fill the week leading up to graduation with exciting outings and activities. You can have an itinerary that looks something like this:

Day 1: Pub crawl to all your favorite college pubs, clubs, and restaurants.

Unless you live close to where your college is located, chances are that after the graduation ceremony you will leave college and go back home, and home may be many miles away from college.

Use the day to go to all your favorite college pubs, clubs, and restaurants with your graduating friends. The crawl will leave you feeling nostalgic about leaving college and would also allow you to create your last fun memories about your favorite college restaurants and pubs.

Day 2: Final College Excursion.

Your college will have famous landmarks and other things it is known for. Even if you’ve seen them all while you were a student, you can pick out your favorites and visit them one last time. Be sure to take nice pictures too because you are not certain when next you will get a chance to visit them after graduation.

If your college also has a tradition of having a formal dinner like some English colleges in England do, also consider attending it and enjoying that luxury of college life one last time before graduation.

Day 3: City Excursion.

If your college is in a different State and city from where you reside, it will be great to explore the city one last time and check out museums and other sites of attraction in the city that you may have not had time to check out due to busy time commitments at college. If there are other nearby small towns to explore with your graduating friends, you can also visit that town and explore it. You may not get the chance to do so after graduating.

Day 4: Shopping.

This one is very important because, after graduation, any deals and discounts you used to enjoy from shops with your student card will come to an end since you would no longer be a college student. If you have that favorite item you want to buy and you know would be more expensive without your student card, it would be a good idea to buy it while you still have the student card. You can dedicate this day to do just that and shop all you can until you literally drop. It will be fun because shopping is always therapeutic.

Day 5: Luxury Spa Treatment.

This is presumably the day before the graduation ceremony itself. Spoil yourself to a luxury spa treatment to get ready for the graduation ceremony. Treat yourself to a full body massage if you can. To make this even more exciting, you can enjoy this with your group of friends. If you’re a lady, you can get your manicure and pedicure done too, together with a facial treatment.

If you want to have a graduation lunch or dinner with the family you can also squeeze that in on this day.

Day 6: Your graduation ceremony.

This one is officiated by the school so there isn’t much you can do except show up and get officially declared a graduate. After the ceremony, you can have a quiet lunch or dinner with the family. Remember to make prior reservations if you decide to have your family graduation lunch or dinner on this day.

Day 7: Sleep, sleep, and more sleep.

You’ve had a week of festivities. It is important to rest and get back your energy. You are after all now a graduate and do not have a timer to be looking at. Don’t feel guilty for sleeping all day on this day. After at least 3 years of sleepless nights in college, you deserve it.

Remember that this list is just a suggestion. You are free to decide what day works best for any of the activities. Whatever works for you, go out and have fun, you’ve earned it.

3. A Trip With Friends.

With this activity, you can plan a vacation to a beautiful beach city like Hawaii, or an exotic holiday spot in Europe, or just the traditional road trip. If you decide on a beach vacation, our article on Things To Bring On Vacation To The Beach has a very useful list of items to pack with you on that vacation. And if you decide that Europe is your holiday destination then you will find our article on Gift For Someone Traveling To Europe very useful on what you and your friends should have with you for your trip.

If you decide a trip with your friends is how you want to celebrate your graduation, it will be good to start preparing some months in advance and take advantage of any available student discounts on flights (and accommodation sometimes), especially if your holiday destination is in Europe.

4. A Solo Celebration.

Yes, you can celebrate your graduation achievement alone. Sometimes it could be because of circumstances beyond your control, or it could be by choice. Whatever the reason, you can have fun with a solo graduation celebration. Here are some exciting activities you can embark on without friends or family, to have an enjoyable solo graduation celebration:

A Selfcation.

This is a vacation but with yourself. It works in the same way as taking a vacation or trip with your friends, except this time you are alone. This can be both fun and fulfilling. You can carry out the following fun activities during this selfcation.

  • Try out things like wine tasting and seeing the sights and sounds of your vacation destination, as well as their restaurants and all that the town or city has to offer.
  • You can also use the time to reevaluate your journey through college and plan your life after college for the next year at least, or the next 5 years if you’re in that frame of mind.

Buy yourself a celebratory graduation cake and enjoy a quiet celebratory dinner alone.

This may feel sad for you if your solo celebration was not by your choice but because of circumstances beyond your control. But don’t let it get you down. Remember you have a lot to celebrate and look forward to, being part of the 50% that made it to the finish mark. And so, celebrate that. Pour wine and toast to yourself because you have accomplished something remarkable.

And In Case You Do Decide You Want A Budget Graduation Party – 4 Inexpensive Graduation Party Ideas.

Knowing how to throw a graduation party on a budget is not always easy. We however take the hassle out of having to wreck your brains trying to figure something out. Here are 4 amazing and yet affordable graduation party ideas.

1. Joint graduation party with a close graduating friend/friends.

Maybe you are graduating with a couple of family friends who also happen to come from your neighborhood. Since you all are friends and have a lot in common, you could combine your efforts and together have an amazing graduation party.

What makes this idea a winner is the fact that with each of you pooling your resources together, you can have a bigger resource pool to work from and may be able to have a slightly bigger graduation party.

To reduce your costs even more, you can choose to have the party at one of your houses if you have a yard that would be big enough to take all your guests. Or you could look for cheaper rental alternatives like a community hall or other halls that may not charge as much as your normal commercial venues.

Another way of reducing the cost is to also plan the party rather than getting a party planner. Since you are two or more, this should be easy since all that you need to do is assign and delegate responsibilities amongst yourselves.

2. A Buffet Dinner.

Catering is usually one component that costs a lot at a graduation party (after the venue). To make it easier for you and also fun, you can tell your guests to come with a meal. This form of celebration would however only work with a smaller group of guests who are also very close to the family and would not mind being asked to come with a meal to a party.

3. Small Scale Graduation Garden Party.

Since venues are another high-cost runner at a graduation party, you can make your yard or garden the venue for your inexpensive graduation party. This would also help you keep numbers under control. Remember that an inexpensive graduation party is by its nature small and intimate, with only close friends and family. Keep your guest list very small and also keep the meals provided light to also keep your costs low. You don’t have to go wild with decorations. Simple balloons and cheap graduation decorations will lighten up the place and give you a beautiful venue and enjoyable small scale graduation garden party.

4. Small Scale Beach Graduation Party.

Another cheap and fun venue where you can have a small-scale graduation party is at the beach. You can choose to have it either during the day or at night, with close friends and family. If you have it during the day, it could be a form of family and friends’ graduation outing to the beach. You can have some balloons which you tie up to your beach chairs and around where you sit on the beach. You can also have your music playing and the likes. However, before you proceed with this, be sure to find out what the regulations or policies governing such might be, from your local authority.

Frequently Asked Questions.

1. What are some fun things to do after graduation?

There are several fun things you can do after graduation. It all depends on you and what you want to do. Here are a few suggestions.

  • You can decide to travel or take a road trip if you didn’t do this as part of your graduation celebration. Be sure to check out the travel section in this article for more insights.
  • You can try something as adventurous as paragliding (Check out our article on Gifts for paragliders for great ideas on what you should have on you when going paragliding).
  • Depending on the season, if there is the peak of the snowing season, you can go snowmobiling (Also check out our article on Gifts for snowmobilers for great ideas on what you should have on you when going snowmobiling). Snowmobiling is a lot of fun.
  • You can also try out the adventurous sport of hang gliding, which is another adrenaline rush recreational activity that is fun and thrilling (Be sure to check out our article on Gifts for hang gliders for great ideas on what you should have on you when going hang gliding).

2. What are some good graduation ceremony ideas?

The formal graduation ceremony itself is organized by the college. After the official ceremony, you can have a small inexpensive ceremony with close friends and family, with any of the 4 inexpensive graduation party ideas in this article. You can also read our article on Who to invite to college graduation ceremony if you are looking for more ideas on who to invite to your graduation ceremony.

3. What to do for college graduation?

The answer to this question boils down to what you want for your graduation celebration. Do you want to have a graduation party or no graduation party? You can have any of the non party graduation celebration ideas listed here, or the cheap graduation party ideas.


Graduating from college is a great accomplishment that must be celebrated. There are benefits to having an inexpensive graduation party and a non party graduation celebration. Whatever form of celebration you choose to go with, this article provides you with fun and exciting ideas for both types of celebration.

Congratulations once again on your accomplishment, and have fun.





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