Remember how when our kids were little we couldn’t envision them leaving us and going off to college? Now, if you are like me, you can’t believe how quickly the time went. It continues to rush by and before you know it, college graduation will be here. I am not trying to scare you; I just want to give you ample time to make those hotel reservations. Similar to football weekends, graduation weekend hotels are at a premium. People book them a year out. No joke. I literally booked my rooms a solid year before my son graduated. (Don’t know where to stay, check out our Hotel blog.)
Be sure to check the policy with whichever hotel you choose, but if possible, book more rooms and cancel later when Grandpa decides he isn’t up to the seven-hour drive. It is far easier to cancel than to try to find a room in February for May graduation for Aunt Sadie who decided she just can’t miss it. I actually booked three rooms, but only used two. Instead of canceling the last one though I passed it to a friend who found herself short a room. There is always someone in need. And when you are booking those extra rooms, put them in different names so the hotel does not mistakenly cancel all of your rooms.
Students may request up to 6 tickets through Marching order. Need more? You may have your student go on the FSU student page. Some will sell them but hopefully, they can talk a friend into giving them their extras. If someone in your party needs handicapped seating, doors to the Civic Center open approximately one hour prior. You can pull up to the front and they will have someone who can bring them in and get them seated in the handicapped section; you can also have one person stay with them in that section.
August and December graduation reservations may be a tad easier, but there are far more students graduating then than you may think, so don’t hesitate to book early. Besides, in December, there is still a lot going on with students moving out for winter break. FSU’s registrar lists the diploma dates, which means that will be the weekend of graduation. As of today, the next few graduation dates are the weekends of December 14th, 2018, and May 3rd, 2019. You might not know which of these days and time is for your student’s major until a few months before though. Particularly for the May graduation, there are so many students graduating they split it into three times over two days (usually one Friday night, one early Saturday and one mid-afternoon Saturday.)
A new change is that graduates will need to present a Grad Pass and Photo ID to enter the Donald L. Tucker Center. This is for enhanced safety measures. Your student should check their student emails for instructions. The Grad Pass can have it on their phone or print a copy.
Cap & Gown Isn’t Cheap
Wondering how much your student will need to pay to rent the cap and gown which is required if they are walking? Prices range from $129.60 to $280.55. These are packages that include announcements, thank you notes, a souvenir tassel and more. Click here for more information.
Make Those Reservations!
Remember to make restaurant reservations as well. Generally, restaurant reservations can’t be made as far in advance as hotels, but due to the crowds, you will definitely want a reservation. I actually called so far in advance they couldn’t make it yet but told me when to call back so I could be one of the first to reserve the date and time I needed. I marked my calendar and all worked out beautifully. Check out our Restaurant blog. Keep in mind, because May graduation is the largest, many restaurants will require a non-refundable deposit that will get applied to your bill.
I know you are going to want some great photos. Many students (particularly photography enthusiasts) will offer their services to take some amazing pictures around campus for a reasonable price days before graduation. One of my favorite photos of my daughter and a few of her besties (they shared the cost) was taken on the football field. Of course, everyone wants a picture in front of the fountain, so the crowds will be massive. Encourage them to book their photo session very early in the morning. It is cooler then too. And once you get there and want those family pics with your student adorned in cap and gown, be sure not to leave it for right before or after the ceremony, because that is what everyone else will do and you will literally wait in a LONG line to snap a few by the famous fountain.
Senior Send Off is a great activity that many students participate in. Generally arranged by sorority sisters for graduating seniors, it is a nice way to say goodbye to students that are graduating. Usually, sororities plan things to do for it, and everyone is welcome that wants to take part. There are usually dinners for the sendoffs at nice restaurants.
Don’t worry if you can’t get to graduation. You can always watch the live feed on your computer. Find yours here.