What Happens At Graduation?

Once your course is complete, something all students have in common is graduation. For many students, the prospect of going up on stage in front of all your peers can be quite daunting – especially when you don’t know how the ceremony works until the actual day! This article is going to outline what a student from the University of Lincoln, from undergraduate or postgraduate courses, can expect on their graduation day!


In the weeks leading up to your graduation, the University will send you all the relevent information on how to obtain your ticket, tickets for your guests, where to hire/purchase your gown and cap, and notify you of your seat number! My first piece of advice, is to arrive an hour to an hour and a half before the starting time of your ceremony, so you have enough time to get everything you’ll need!

Your first stop will be the castle grounds, where there will be tents set up to pick up the tickets for yourself and your guests – as well as programmes for the ceremony’s proceedings – before you can move on to be fitted for your gown and cap. At this point you will need to show off either your confirmation e-mail or text, and then you will have your gown and cap put on for you.

Then, around half an hour before the start of your ceremony, you should make your way over to Lincoln Cathedral with your guests. There will be signposting and personnel available to help you if you need it, but the key thing to remember is that graduates and their guests enter the cathedral seperately. Graduates will enter the cathedral via a side entrance, where you will be directed to your seats, whilst guests go through the main entrance. Seat numbers will be on the backs of the chairs situated in the cathedral, so all you need to do is find your seat and settle in!

The Ceremony

Whilst everyone settles in their seats and other personnel get organised there will be some organ music, followed by a short speech. This speech will tell you what you need to do when you go up on stage, going into lots of detail – even describing exactly how to doff your cap when you walk across! Again, there will be personnel around constantly to help with anything you might need, and there are toilet facilities in the cathedral if you require them!

Then will come the procession, featuring a number of important personnel linked to the University of Lincoln. They will be sat on-stage, and a number of them will give speeches relating to the year, your studies, and your incredible achievements as students. Then, row by row, you will be guided to the side of the stage, and one by one your names will be called by the head of your course’s school – you will then make your way across the stage, and circle around within the cathedral until you’re back in your seat. My main advice here, is not to rush it – it isn’t a race to get across the stage, and it’s okay to take a breath and take your time to enjoy the moment!

The Aftermath

After your walk, you will remain in your seat as each student has their opportunity to cross the stage, until everyone has done so. Then there may be a few more speeches, before you will then be asked to follow the procession out of the cathedral’s main entrance – this is to signal that you are now part of the University of Lincoln Alumni, and you will follow the procession directly back to the castle grounds. Once you reach the castle grounds, you will have the opportunity to spend time with your peers, tutors, guests, take as many photographs and videos as you like, as well as have refreshments and get some University of Lincoln merchandise!

I remember feeling incredibly daunted and anxious in the lead up to my undergraduate ceremony, and I wish I had known more of the details in advance rather than simply on the day. So, I hope this account and advice helps relieve some anxieties, and I hope you all have a fantastic time at all your graduations!

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