The Waterfront’s Guide to Graduation

So, you’ve come to the end of your degree and to celebrate, you’re going to wear graduation robes and stand up in the Great Hall in a grand ceremony to celebrate the end of one era and the start of another. However, you may find yourself in a state of panic as the graduation day becomes ever closer. ‘What do I wear? Where do I go? What about the celebratory meal? Can I do awesome poses in my gown after the ceremony or is that not cool?’ Are probably all the questions running through your head.

The Waterfront has you covered with the important details for the day, and, to instantly answer the last question; be as awesome (or as amusing) as you want. It’s your day and it’ll be in your memories for years to come. I won’t judge you if you dab in your graduation gown and photograph that precious moment, honest. Just make sure you tag us in that masterpiece of an image.

What to wear

Unsurprisingly, the ceremony itself involves a graduation robe. However, it’s what’s worn underneath that make the outfit truly yours. Although Ede and Ravenscroft (the robe company you probably know so well when booking your robes) recommend a buttoned shirt for both men and women due to ensuring that the hood stays down on your chest, but as long as you wear formal wear to the ceremony you’ll be fine. Outfits for the ceremony typically include dresses for women and a shirt and tie for men. However, it’s highly recommended that you bring a brooch or some safety pins just to ensure the hood stays down and makes your photos of the day even better! Obviously formal shoes are a must and whether you want flats or heels is entirely your choice. Extra kudos if you survive the day in stilettos, that is an impressive feat.

When and where to arrive

For students (graduands soon to become graduates): in an ideal world, you need to arrive 90 minutes before your ceremony and you need to go to the Great Hall first and register for the ceremony and confirm your attendance. You’ll receive your guest tickets, your registration card as well as your graduation certificate (the piece of paper you can now show off to anybody who asks how you did at university). After this, then you may continue your journey to the ceremony and collect your robes- your time for photos has arrived!

For guests: Relax and enjoy the Bay Campus beach, or enjoy a cup of coffee in 52 degrees. You don’t need to be in the Great Hall until 30 minutes before the ceremony, so bask in the Welsh weather! However, we don’t recommend basking in rain- that’ll just ruin your lovely outfit.

What do I do about the graduation meal with my guests?

Well, now would be the time to reserve a table for your graduation day. Pick a time with your guests, but make sure it doesn’t clash with your ceremony! We wouldn’t want you to run onto the stage of the Great Hall holding a few fries. It’s a bold look, but possibly not the one you’re going for. Just give your restaurant a ring in advance (at least a few days, this is graduation, after all) and confirm a booking with them. There’s nothing worse than having to wait for an empty table in a restaurant and by doing this simple action you’ve made the day run so much smoother.


Of course, you can always choose to do your own photos on the day instead of queueing up in the photography area to wait for a photo that reminds you of your school days. However, if it’s professional photos that you want, then we recommend pre-ordering the photo package before the graduation day through the Ede and Ravenscroft website.

You can buy the packages on the day, but pre-ordering reduces the queue time and lets you spend the day on the beach taking even more photos. Just follow the signs on campus to the photography area for more details.

You can even get a photo of you shaking the Vice-Chancellor’s hand in your ceremony, or even a full HD video of your ceremony, which is available at the Bay Campus Library for a small fee.

What do I do after graduation?

This is a deep, philosophical question that we simply cannot answer for you. Another adventure awaits you; be it travelling, getting a job, or even pursuing further studies, the world is your oyster. However, after the graduation ceremony, the first thing we recommend is either going to a celebratory meal or attending your college reception, and then you can think about the big questions later. After all, the next stage of your life is just beginning…

For any further details about the Graduation Day itself or a timetable of ceremonies, be sure to check out the Swansea University website.

The famous graduation cap throw, as seen in most American high school TV series and films.


The Swansea University equivalent (credit: Swansea University)

by Carys Svendsen


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