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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 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 April or 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.
Most of the helpful information you’ll read here comes from years of experiencing both the ongoing traditions and evolving modifications of graduation at FSU. But 2020/2021 has inserted a very large “Just a Minute” wedge into all of our well-laid plans. Due to the cancellation of Spring Break in 2021, graduation will be earlier; after April 23, 2021 end of the semester. Stay tuned for further details.
Normally, students may request up to 6 tickets. Any person older than one year requires a ticket to enter the Civic Center for the graduation ceremony. 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. Speaking of the Civic Center, keep in mind that the Civic Center does adhere to its clear bag policy for graduation. Double-check those requirements.
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 it will be the weekend of graduation. As of today, the next few graduation dates are:
- December 11-12, 2020
Find the precise days and time for your student’s major. Particularly for the May graduation, there are so many students graduating they split it into two times over two days. Check the Fall 2020 seating chart. 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.
Keep your water bottles, balloons, and wrapped gifts at your hotel or in the car as they are prohibited at graduation (as are the more obvious weapons, alcohol, and air horns). Flower bouquets are available for sale at the Civic Center but they are pricey and there is only a small selection. Our recommendation is to pick up flowers in advance. You may get them from Publix or any other local supermarket or we were very pleased with our purchase at Blossoms but also considered popular with parents is A Country Rose Florist and Hilly Fields.
Additionally, here are some more restrictions:
- No glitter/confetti
- No climbing the goalposts or stadium walls
- No glass bottles may be brought onto the field
- No attempt is made to remove portions of the turf or other items
- Only service animals will be allowed to accompany patrons out on the field – no problem with wheelchairs or motorized scooters for guests with disabilities
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? FSU recently updated its policy on graduation attire for graduates. All students are required to wear FSU’s new, customized regalia available exclusively through the FSU Bookstore and online through Herff Jones (regalia must be ordered for the Spring 2020 graduation by March 13 . Orders placed after March 13 will be assessed a $10 late fee and must be submitted in person at the bookstore.). These new caps and gowns were created specifically for FSU; thus, students may not wear borrowed regalia or regalia purchased from alternative vendors. Marshals will remove improper attire, signs, and insignia. Any damage, which includes customizing or decorating, to mortarboards will result in a $45.00 fee for cap replacement. FSU regalia is available for rental or purchase. It can take up to 8 weeks for purchased customized orders. If students did not attend and order their regalia at the Grad Fair (February 3rd – 5th, 2020) they can still order for rental through the Herff Jones website. If you have questions regarding regalia, contact the FSU Bookstore at, 850-644-0832.
This tassel color-swatch sheet provides examples of the tassel colors traditionally associated with the various academic disciplines. Scroll down for a complete list of dates and deadlines regarding graduation and its preparation.
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 graduation 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.
Collegetown, at 815 Madison Street, 850-785-9925, is now offering people to book their stay.
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. For information about parking, seating, and all things graduation.
I know you are going to want some great photos. We can recommend photographers and have a few great ideas. And now that graduation is a reality, consider joining the Alumni Association. Finally, we’ve got some great graduation gift suggestions including diploma and tassel frames. Want to go simple, Bouqs beautiful flowers come from eco-friendly farms that use sustainable growing practices which means longer lasting flowers and no middlemen. You can buy individually or start a subscription.
Important dates for Fall 2020
- Application Window -August 31 through September 11, 2020
- Grad Fair (for information please see Cap and Gown Information) – TBD
- Cap and Gown Online Order Window – TBD
- Cap and Gown Pick-up – November 30 through December 4, 2020: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (location TBD).
- Commencement Ceremonies – December 11, 2020: 2:00 p.m. or 7:30 p.m.
- Degrees Post to Transcripts -January 7, 2021
And now that you are a graduate, you might want to read about the advantages of being an alumnus. We’ll send you off now with some great graduation gift suggestions including diploma and tassel frames. And, should you damage or lose the diploma, you can order a replacement. See you at graduation! Pass on these great tips, tell your friends and like us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Find out more about how to use HaveUHeard as a great resource. Sign up for other great tips at haveuheard.com.