What to expect on Graduation Day

Graduation is just around the corner and there is a lot to sort out before the big day - what to wear, the size of your head for your cap, and what you’re going to do afterwards to celebrate! Here is a brief overview of what to expect and some top tips for the day.

Before Graduation Day

Make sure you’ve ordered your gown and tickets and know where you are going.  If you’re looking to grab a bite to eat afterwards, it might be an idea to make a reservation somewhere to make sure you get a table. 

Take advantage of the offers at Gunwharf Quays using your TOTUM Card! There are some great discounts at restaurants, with up to 40% off!

Not got a TOTUM Card? Grab one here!

On the day

Get up and get ready - if you’re going all out, make sure to leave yourself plenty of time! 

  • Your ceremony will either be at 10am, 1pm or 4pm - so if you’re one of the 10am slots, prepare for an early start and plan backwards to give yourself enough time to do everything you need to and get everywhere you need to be. 
  • Think about your hair with your cap and bring spare bobby pins!  
  • If you have a car full of family members coming to clap you across the stage, think about where they can park, how much it might cost and how far you might need to walk. There is not a huge amount of parking nearby to Guildhall, so decide how you want to get the central hub of all things graduation. You could get a bus or a train, pre-book a taxi if you need to, or give yourself ample time to walk there (and bring comfortable shoes!). 
  • You’ll pick up your hat and gown from the Spinnaker Sports Centre (located opposite the Union). 
  • You can ask the team there to help you secure your hat (thank goodness you remembered your bobby pins!) and get the sash in place. 
  • It can get extremely busy just before the ceremonies, so for peace of mind and picture opportunities with friends, arrive early and pick them up!

The Ceremony

  • Make your way to Guildhall, and don't forget to pick up a newspaper too (it will have your name in it!) and get ready for the ceremony! 
  • Bring water with you (in your reusable bottle - David Attenborough will thank you), and head on in. Not got a reusable bottle? Grab one to remind you of Portsmouth below or from the Union Shop!
  • You can bring a small bag to leave on your seat, but it’s best to be free of any unnecessary accessories for shaking hands, so ask a family member to look after anything you're carrying.
  • Prepare for a lot of clapping! Lots of students will be graduating alongside you, so it may be an idea to pace yourself and save the more thunderous applause for your friends or your palms will ache before they reach the middle of the alphabet!

  • Get ready for your big moment and take a deep breath. You’ve been working towards this for three years and here you are, about to walk across the stage! 
  • Remember to smile, enjoy every second, don’t overthink it (it’s rare someone falls over - I promise!) and listen for your family and friends cheering and clapping the loudest. 

You’ve done it! You’ve graduated! Take those classic photos on the steps of Guildhall and enjoy being an official Portsmouth Graduate - you’ve earned it!

  • And there is still more to come. You’ll have a class photo with all your course mates, so make sure you don’t miss it. 

This year, post-ceremony celebrations are being held outside the Union building on Gunhouse Green, so head there after the ceremony!


  • It's time to take all the pictures with friends and family, throw your hat in the air (go on, you know you want to) and take in the atmosphere around you. Graduation is such a special occasion and you should be extremely proud of yourself.
  • Why not go for dinner with family from the many eateries Portsmouth has to offer, then head out with friends to really let loose.

Or, really celebrate in style and grab one of the last few tickets for Grad Party on the 17th July - you won’t want to miss it! 

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