16 Graduation Cards That Say Way More Than “Congratulations” 

Yes, “the sky’s the limit” is a nice sentiment. But why not think a little outside the box this year?

What does one say to a new graduate? There is so much to be said. Congrats, for starters. But what about all the wisdom you have tucked away in your brain? You want to share it all, but where to start? And have they already heard it a thousand times? Rather than rack your brain for just the right words, let someone else do the talking for you. No, it’s not the lazy way out—it’s the creative way. There are hundreds of cards online—from silly to serious, from sentimental to thought provoking. Let those greeting cards do the talking and add your own insight inside. Most of these cards are blank inside, so you’ll have plenty of space to pen your own message, should you have more to say (and we’re pretty sure you do!). And once you’ve picked the perfect card, don’t forget to pick up a little token to go with it. Yes, cash is great (and so necessary for many new grads), but they’re sure to appreciate something with a little more thought behind it, too. In addition to these cards, our editors have carefully selected tons of gifts for grads. You’ll find personalized gifts, items just for college grads, helpful books, and more, so you can shake the stress that comes with shopping for just the right thing. In just a few minutes and with just a few clicks, you’ll have the perfect card and the perfect gift for the new grad in your life.


Throwing Hats

Photo by etsy.com

Commemorate one of the most iconic moments of the ceremony with this handmade card.

To buy: $4, littlesloth.etsy.com.


Dream Big

Photo by papersource.com

If your graduate plans to travel for a bit after graduation, this card is the perfect sendoff.

To buy: $6, papersource.com.


No More Cocktails in a Bucket

Photo by emilymcdowell.com

These are three things graduates probably won’t miss about college.

To buy: $4.50, emilymcdowellstudio.etsy.com.


Smarty Pants

Photo by seltzergoods.com

This odd ostrich is guaranteed to make your college grad smile.

To buy: $5, papersource.com.


Round of Applause

Photo by etsy.com

In case you’re not fluent in Latin, “bonum factum” means “best wishes.”

To buy: $5, idlewildco.etsy.com.


You Can Never Be Overdressed or Overeducated

Photo by graphicpoetrydesign.etsy.com

Graduates don’t often take fashion advice from their parents, but this quote is probably the exception to the rule.

To buy: $2, graphicpoetrydesign.etsy.com.


Solo Cup to Martini Glass

Photo by papersource.com

The recent grad may not be looking forward to some of the changes that come with commencement—early morning commutes and long conference calls—but some swaps—going from solo cup to martini glass—are total upgrades.

To buy: $6, papersource.com.


That Hat Tho

Photo by grimmandproper.etsy.com

Everyone loves a compliment—especially on an item as typically unflattering as the graduation cap.

To buy: $4.50, grimmandproper.etsy.com.


You Did It Card

Photo by littlemisspositivity.etsy.com

This card is in a language all 22-year-old graduates will understand.

To buy: $5, littlemisspositivity.etsy.com.


You Are Freakishly Smart

Photo by grimmandproper.etsy.com

Remind your grad just how much more intelligent his or her degree makes them with this simple handmade card. Leave the inside blank for a handwritten note or have a message custom printed based on your new degree-holders proudest achievements. (Bonus: If you know a trio of grads, this seller offers discounts on cards when you buy three or more.)

To buy: $4.50, etsy.com.


You Are Totally Going to Kick Butt in the Real World

Photo by katievaz.etsy.com

Let your grad know that the best is yet to come. The inside is left blank for your own well wishes: Offer advice from your first job or maybe even crack a joke about no more sleeping in. 

To buy: $4.50, etsy.com.


Time to Trade

Photo by chalkscribe.etsy.com

Remind the grad with a good sense of humor that their days will soon be filled with a lot less booze and a lot more brews with this hilarious card that illustrates the transition from the dorm room to the office. The professionally folded card stock is hand-painted by the creator and comes with a parchment envelope.

To buy: $5, etsy.com.


School’s Out Forever

Photo by sweetpotatoshop.etsy.com

This cheerful card reminds your grad that they’ll never have to pull an all-nighter studying for a test again. School’s out forever... and they never ever have to go back. This cleverly illustrated card is printed with environmentally friendly inks and comes with a recycled envelope, making it not only hilarious, but also good for the Earth. The inside is left blank so you can remind your grad of all the exciting things yet to come or to honor their greatest accomplishments. 

To buy: $4.50, etsy.com.


Scratch-Off Fortune

Photo by target.com

Is the grad apprehensive about what the future holds? This interactive card may provide some clues. Simply have the honoree scratch off the allotted area of this whimsical card. Of course, for the young scholar who has just completed a degree, the future is bright! The blank inside lets you tell your grad they can achieve all of their wildest dreams or write a forecast of your own.

To buy: $13.50 for a set of three, target.com.


Mark Twain Quote

Photo by papersource.com

This timeless quote from Mark Twain that can be applied for years to come: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the ones you did. Explore. Dream. Discover.” The bold coloring and typography is accented with hand drawn arrows to remind the recent grad that he or she should live their life to the fullest. The inside of the card is equally colorful and reads: “This is the beginning of a wonderful adventure. Congratulations!”

To buy: $3.50, papersource.com.


Bank of Mom and Dad

Photo by papersource.com

Remind your new graduate that they’re in the real world now and that comes with lots of new things, including financial responsibility. This hilarious message hints that mom and dad are no longer there for allowance, but nonetheless are so proud of their child’s educational endeavor.

To buy: $4.50, papersource.com.