Graduation banner congratulating students After a long wait graduation day is finally here. It is one of the most special days in the life of many and a celebration of all the hard work you’ve put on into getting your degree. Here’s what you can expect to happen on your graduation day.

Collecting Robes

Graduates in their robes facing backwardsAround two hours before the ceremony you’re able to collect your academic robes to wear during the ceremony. Usually you order these in late April (this year we ordered them on April 25th!) so they will be ready to collect on the day. There’s different styles for different types of degrees, but if you’re doing an LLB you wear the standard undergraduate robes with your mortarboard. You can wear them for most of the day, but you have to return them by the evening unless you decide the buy them from the company. At Essex only the Graduate Gowning Company is used, and there’s a chance you could be refused entry to graduation if any other company is used.

The Ceremony

The graduation ceremony with graduates facing the stageOnce you’ve got your gown, it’s time to head to the ceremony in the Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall. Graduands sit at the back of the hall with parents and friends on the lower part of the seating and academics and other important people at the front. The ceremony begins with a procession of the Chancellor, or someone who represents him, and other important university staff into the Ivor Crewe, with the Chancellor making a welcome speech. Then the head of the school, Karen Hulme, makes a speech about the Law School and everything we’ve done as students. After that is when graduands are presented to the Chancellor and walk across the stage and up the stairs. If there’s an honorary graduate at the ceremony, they’re then presented and make a speech.

In total, the ceremony lasts about 2 hours. Following the ceremony, you process out of the hall to collect your certificates!

The Live Stream

Essex graduates wait in line in their graduation robesIf you have family that can’t make it to Essex, or you can’t get enough tickets to go into the actual graduation ceremony, the ceremony is live screened online and in the Lakeside Theatre every year. Watching in the Lakeside Theatre is free, and is especially helpful if you have young family members as children under 5 aren’t allowed into the main ceremony.

The Reception

Graduation reception tent with people sitting at the tables while students celebrateAfter the ceremony graduates and their guests head to their reception, held in marquees near the lakes.

Essex Law graduates smiling after the graduation ceremony in their robesThis is an opportunity to get pictures with friends and family in a beautiful setting and also have a snack and a drink after the ceremony! This is also when the traditional hat throwing picture is taken to celebrate the end of your time at Essex. With performances from societies and local schools, and food outlets open all over campus, you can spend the rest of the day celebrating with loved ones and saying goodbye after 3+ years of hard work.

Essex Law Graduates displaying their diplomas