Hybrid graduation ceremony: what is it & how to successfully plan one?

In 2020, by cause of the COVID pandemic, we all encountered a sea-change in our “normal” life situation. Quarantine life made us accept the drastic adaptation from in-person to virtual events.

The class of 2020 embracing virtual graduation as the new normal. But, no doubt to say the impact of in-person graduation was missing all around. Here comes the idea of the hybrid graduation ceremony. If the class of 2020 celebrated their success through virtual graduation, what about the shift of virtual to hybrid graduation in 2021!

Hybrid graduation ceremony

To put it simply, hybrid graduation is a unique blend of both virtual and in-person graduation events. Hybrid graduation can be arranged by maintaining both social distancing and health protocols. Such as with limited physical attendees and broad virtual exceed, a hybrid graduation ceremony can bring the opportunity of both in-person event experience along with virtual presence.

As an example, we can talk about the drive-in graduation event where graduates have to attend during their scheduled time using personal vehicles to maintain proper social distancing. Each graduate will walk at a time on the red carpet to get the diploma and take a photo with their family.

Hybrid graduation ceremony in here to stay and rule!

Since in many places the quarantine is lifting and gathering restriction is being loosened, many of the colleges, universities, and institutions are planning for a hybrid commencement program. Though during the end of 2020, the hybrid graduation system started getting known but in 2021, the number of users is growing rapidly.

Let’s look at some of the facilities you will get through the hybrid graduation ceremony.

Face to face interaction:

As a social being, human always prefers and enjoy to networking and building relationship with physical interaction. Just think of attending your commencement online, sitting at your home, looking at all faces only through a screen. You will never get the feel of getting a piece of paper and posing for an official picture after walking through the stage wearing a gown and hat. Hybrid graduation gets the chance to bring back the feeling of your success.


It is true that even if you arrange a safe hybrid graduation program, not everyone will feel comfortable attending it. Hybrid events are attendee friendly as you can attend the program in person or end up watching the ceremony virtually.

Vast reach:

A hybrid graduation ceremony brings more options for all. Without even travelling and attending in-person, the family members, alumni, anyone can join virtually from anywhere. Even the organizer can invite speakers from any corner of the globe.

Elements to Organize a Successful Hybrid Graduation Program

Arranging a successful hybrid graduation program is not as easy as it looks. As it is not entirely a high school virtual graduation or an in-person event, organizers should build a proper strategy to deal with the possible dilemmas they might face.

Pre-plan event strategy:

Before the main event, there are multiple steps such as registration, ticketing, seat allocation. In the current pandemic situation, it would not be wise to place a booth for registration and ticketing when there is so much software for virtual graduation. Fortunately, a hybrid student registration system for graduation events Like GradPak assists the organizer with event details such as event registration, guest management, and ticketing.


Once you fix how you will arrange, what platform you will use for live streaming and registration staff, you should shout out to your event with the full announcement. It would be best if you made all the information available on the official website, social media. Information’s such as how the graduates apply for registration, how many guests are allowed, how they will get their caps and hats, which platform the live streaming will occur etc.

One event with two experiences:

The major challenge of a hybrid event is to connect both live and virtual attendees. In a hybrid graduation program, only the attendees with two or three guests might join the ceremony in person, while other family members might join virtually. When you are planning for the program, you should consider both the attendees. Such as you should fix the time remembering the different time zone system, or you might pick an on-demand time. Even the presenter or speaker should make sure to prioritize audiences of both sides.

Limit the number of in-person guests:

Social distancing is the new norm, and to maintain that, you must minimize the number of guests. For example, you can allow only the parents of the graduates and arrange the seats, ensuring proper distance. Otherwise, in case of the drive-in graduation ceremony, except the graduates, all the guests must stay inside their vehicle and parked in a lot on campus. Even in between the graduates there should be plenty of distance.

Health and safety precautions:

If you are all set for a hybrid event, you should prioritize all your guests, students, and staff’s health and safety. Going for a handshake-free event and wearing a mask mandatory can help you ensure pandemic guidelines. It would help if you made supplies of hand sanitizer, temperature checking machine, hand washes available.

Invite commencement speaker:

To celebrate the achievements and success of the graduating class, it is always a great idea to invite commencement speakers since graduates enjoy that. Along with the guest speaker; faculty, students, alumnus and parents can also present their speeches to inspire and congratulate the new graduate class. With the live streaming facility, you can also invite speakers virtually.

Engage your hybrid audiences:

To cheer the audiences, especially the virtual audiences, organizers can come with various solutions. They can go for some on-demand engaging content. You can show a slideshow of the graduate’s bio and pictures mentioning their achievements. Even a prerecorded video of good wishes of the teachers, family, and friends can also be arranged to show the graduates how proud all are.

Professional photo booth:

Nothing can beat the graduation day to keep the memories of lifetime achievement, so a photo booth is a must with full music and decoration. Maintaining social distancing each graduate one at a time can get a chance to click pictures. Even not only for an in-person event, but you can also arrange a virtual photo booth by creating custom photo content.

With the word “graduation”, a picture of a graduate throwing up a cap in the air wearing a graduation gown comes up. Unfortunately, last year the celebration happened in a very untraditional way. But thankfully, now we can rely on a hybrid event and plan a super successful graduate ceremony to welcome our graduates.

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