College Graduation 2021

College Graduation 2021
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College Graduation 2021

The class of 2020 experienced graduation ceremonies last year like no other, virtually and from their living room couch. COVID-19 has not made things any easier for graduates to celebrate such a significant milestone in their life. However, this spring, many universities are hoping to change that. As May and June draw closer, more and more universities have revealed their plans for commencement. They range from in-person with guests to still entirely virtual. Yet, they acknowledge that every graduate should still have the chance to attend (as much as COVID will allow) a traditional ceremony. Here is the college graduation 2021 outlook.


Some version of in-person commencement has become a common scenario for many schools’ celebrations. Public health accommodations will not allow for a completely normal ceremony, and many schools prioritize health over traditions. Several schools are planning for in-person commencements, but they’re increasing the number of ceremonies so that they can decrease the size of the audience at any one time. This is the case at larger schools such as the University of Florida, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Kansas. Many of these commencements are also slated to be held outside to make socially distancing much easier.

However, some of these universities differ in their intentions to allow guests of graduates at their ceremonies. Some schools, such as Brown University, are taking a “graduates in-person, family virtual” approach. Several schools have also come out and said that graduates of the class of 2020 are welcome to attend the in-person commencement, while others have not. The decision of whether or not guests will be allowed to participate will be made as the date gets closer. Vaccination rates will also need to be deemed acceptable enough.


Like the trend of class modality, many California schools, such as Stanford University, have announced they will not hold any in-person graduation ceremonies this spring. The University of Michigan has announced they will be staying virtual for their commencement as well. They cite the many outbreaks they have had on their campus. However, the University has told, “all graduates who missed out on an in-person ceremony due to Covid-19 to attend and participate in any future main commencement of their choosing.”

Finally, some institutions have not yet decided their commencement plans for this spring. These include large name universities such as Harvard, Cornell, and Vanderbilt. They want to wait to decide on their college graduation 2021 plans. If the world has learned one thing from this pandemic, it’s that plans can change at any moment. Schools are ultimately going to do what is best for the health and safety of their students, staff, and other guests at the time of graduation. They will base their decision on the guidelines for social gatherings, the prevalence of COVID in the coming months, and vaccination rates.

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