The word “memorable” gets thrown around a lot in higher education. The reality is most people only experience a handful of truly life-defining moments. For students and families, earning a diploma and graduating from a college or university is supposed to be at or near the top of that list of milestones.
Two years of pandemic anxiety and cancellations forced many schools to pump the brakes and rethink traditional graduation ceremonies. As the 2022 commencement season approaches, the thought of welcoming students and families back to campus for their Big Day is both exhilarating and intimidating.
Energy is up and expectations are sky-high. Throw into the mix that your team is just getting back to the office and up to speed and the fact that you only have about three months to plan, and it’s no wonder you’re feeling the heat.
From communicating with students and parents, to processionals, to after-parties, to parking, to custom hashtags and filters for social media, when it comes to creating a truly memorable graduation experience, no detail is too small to overlook. Fortunately, there are ways to streamline the process, so you can save your team time and get more done.
Here are three ideas to consider as you plan this year’s big in-person celebration:
1. Communicate like nobody’s business.
In some cases, students and families are coming back to campus after more than a year’s hiatus. That means two things: (1) a lot of questions and (2) a lot of questions.
The first step to ensuring a positive graduation experience for students and families is clear and effective communication. Not only must messages be clear and easily understood (in different languages), they have to reach people where they are — on the go.
Find a communications solution that allows you to easily message students and guests directly before, during, and after graduation day. Make sure your messages include links to key information, visuals (including maps), and other content to help guests through the event and extend their celebration beyond the stage. If email or standard SMS messaging is your first thought here, dig deeper. Software like Full Measure’s Graduation Celebration Experience (see below) can help.
2. Personalize every single graduate’s experience.
The goal is to make this year’s ceremony stand out for all the right reasons. That means going above and beyond the traditional cap-and-gown processional and commemorative paper programs. Up your graduation game with multimedia content shared live on-screen during the event and with family and friends streaming from a distance.
As students walk across the stage, imagine being able to instantly share personalized slides featuring accomplishments and memories. What if students had a custom QR code they could scan before walking across the stage to streamline this process and help the reader nail the pronunciation of their name? Or branded lower-thirds featuring your school’s logo as students cross the stage? What if you could package all of that content up, including slides and video from the big day, and easily send that content to graduates to share with family members not in attendance? Now, imagine you could do all of this without asking more of your team. With the right technology and automation, it’s possible.
3. Make the moment insanely shareable.
It’s no secret: Today’s students live on social media. When it comes to sharing their accomplishments and their pride, they envision being able to do this with their friends and online networks.
When you think about enhancing the in-person celebration experience for students, have you considered offering access to custom AR filters for popular social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, so students can customize posts on their favorite networks with logos and branded content? Do you have a catchy hashtag where students and families can share photos and other heartfelt moments? Such streams are great tools for building community engagement. They also double as unbeatable community-generated marketing for your school and can be highlighted during in-person graduation ceremonies using a social wall.
Done on your own, this type of content can take months of planning and development and an entire team of resources to code and launch. With the help of technology, and a solution like Full Measure’s Graduation Celebration Experience, your community can get access to these and other shareable features right out of the box.
As you consider ways to improve the graduation experience this year, the right technology partner can make all the difference. Full Measure’s Graduation Celebration Experience includes all the tools your team — and students, families, and other guests — need in one place.
Easily create, manage, and launch personalized student slides
Text curated content to graduates and guests ahead of and beyond the event
Streamline processionals with dedicated QR codes to launch student slides on the jumbotron and discreetly share name pronunciations with the reader
Give students access to branded social media content, including AR filters to share on popular social media channels
Bring community-generated content to life on the big day with an engaging social wall
Want to learn more about how your team can use technology to create a truly memorable graduation experience for students and families this year? Request a 20-minute conversation and demo of Full Measure’s Graduation Celebration Experience.