Graduating from high school is an exciting milestone in a young person’s life. After years of hard work and dedication, the payoff is finally here. But before you walk across that stage and accept your diploma, you may be wondering – what exactly will I receive when I graduate high school?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: When you graduate high school, you’ll receive your high school diploma, final transcripts, and access to your records. You may also receive honor cords, an engraved class ring, yearbook, and the opportunity to take senior portraits.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore in detail the main items and opportunities you can expect to receive when you officially graduate from high school.

Your High School Diploma

One of the most significant things you receive when you graduate from high school is your high school diploma. This document serves as proof that you have successfully completed the required coursework and met the necessary academic standards to earn a high school education.

The Diploma Itself

The high school diploma is a formal certificate that recognizes your achievements and signifies the completion of your secondary education. Typically, it includes your name, the name of your high school, the date of graduation, and the signatures of school officials or administrators.

Some diplomas may also include your grade point average (GPA) or other academic honors.

Receiving your high school diploma is a momentous occasion that marks the culmination of years of hard work and dedication. It is an important milestone in your academic journey and a symbol of your commitment to learning and personal growth.

Diploma Cover

Along with your high school diploma, you may also receive a diploma cover. This cover is often made of a sturdy material such as leather or faux leather and is designed to protect and preserve your diploma. It typically features the name of your high school or a school emblem on the front.

The diploma cover adds a touch of elegance and formality to the presentation of your diploma. It serves as a keepsake that you can cherish and display as a reminder of your educational achievements.

Diploma Case

In addition to the diploma and diploma cover, some schools provide a diploma case. This case is larger and more decorative than the diploma cover and is often made of high-quality materials such as wood or metal.

It is designed to hold both the diploma and the diploma cover, providing an extra layer of protection and presentation.

A diploma case adds an extra touch of sophistication to the display of your diploma. It can be proudly showcased on a shelf or desk, serving as a visual representation of your academic accomplishments.

Final Transcripts

One of the important documents you receive when you graduate high school is your final transcripts. These transcripts serve as a comprehensive record of your academic performance throughout your high school years.

They provide important information about the courses you have taken, your grades, and any honors or awards you may have received.

Official Transcripts

Official transcripts are typically issued by your high school and are considered the authoritative record of your academic achievements. They are usually sent directly from your school to the colleges, universities, or employers you are applying to.

Official transcripts are often sealed and include a signature or stamp from your school’s registrar to ensure their authenticity.

Official transcripts are crucial for college applications, as they provide a detailed overview of your academic abilities and can help admissions officers make informed decisions about your admission.

They are also essential when applying for scholarships or financial aid, as they demonstrate your eligibility based on your academic performance.

Unofficial Transcripts

Unofficial transcripts, on the other hand, are copies of your official transcripts that you can request for personal use or to provide to others as needed. They are not typically sealed or signed by a school official, but they still contain the same information as the official transcripts.

Unofficial transcripts can be useful in a variety of situations. For example, when applying for jobs, you may be asked to provide a copy of your high school transcripts to demonstrate your education level and qualifications.

Unofficial transcripts can also be helpful for personal reference, such as when applying for scholarships or preparing for college interviews.

It’s important to keep in mind that while unofficial transcripts can be informative, they may not hold the same weight as official transcripts in certain circumstances. Therefore, it’s always advisable to request official transcripts whenever possible to ensure the highest level of credibility and accuracy.

For more information on obtaining your final transcripts, you can visit your high school’s website or contact the school’s registrar’s office directly.

Access to Records

After graduating from high school, you gain access to various records that can be beneficial for your future endeavors. These records can help you in applying for further education, seeking employment, or simply keeping track of your academic achievements.

It’s important to understand how to request these records and the types of records that are available.

How to Request Records

Requesting your high school records is a straightforward process. You can start by contacting your school’s registrar or guidance counselor. They will guide you through the necessary steps and provide you with the required forms to fill out.

Typically, you will need to provide your personal information, such as your full name, date of birth, and the year you graduated. It’s important to note that there may be a nominal fee associated with obtaining your records, so be prepared to cover any costs.

Once you have submitted your request, it may take some time for your records to be processed. The timeframe can vary depending on the school and the volume of requests they receive. However, most schools strive to fulfill requests in a timely manner.

If you are in a rush, it’s best to communicate your urgency to the school, and they may be able to expedite the process for you.

Types of Records Available

When you request your high school records, you will typically receive a variety of documents and information. These can include:

  • Transcripts: Transcripts provide a detailed record of your academic performance, including your grades and credits earned in each subject. They are often required when applying for college or jobs.
  • Diploma or Certificate: Your high school diploma or certificate serves as proof that you have successfully completed your high school education. It is an important document that may be required for certain job applications or further educational pursuits.
  • Attendance Records: Attendance records provide a record of your attendance during your high school years. They can be useful for verifying your presence at certain events or activities.
  • Standardized Test Scores: If you took any standardized tests, such as the SAT or ACT, during your high school years, you can request these scores as well. They can be beneficial when applying for college or scholarships.

These records are crucial for demonstrating your academic achievements and qualifications. They can play a significant role in your future endeavors, whether it be applying for college, scholarships, or jobs. Make sure to keep them safe and organized for easy access whenever needed.

Honor Cords

When you graduate high school, one of the things you may receive is an honor cord. Honor cords are special cords worn around the neck during the graduation ceremony to signify academic achievement and excellence.

These cords are a visible recognition of a student’s hard work and dedication throughout their high school years.

What Honor Cords Signify

Honor cords are given to students who have successfully met certain academic criteria or have participated in specific extracurricular activities. They symbolize outstanding achievements in various areas such as academics, leadership, community service, or involvement in clubs and organizations.

By wearing honor cords, students are not only recognized for their individual accomplishments but also serve as role models for their peers. It is a way to celebrate their dedication, commitment, and success in their chosen fields.

Requirements to Earn Cords

The specific requirements to earn honor cords may vary from school to school. Generally, students must meet certain academic standards, such as maintaining a high GPA or being inducted into honor societies.

They may also need to complete a certain number of community service hours, demonstrate leadership skills, or participate in extracurricular activities related to their field of interest.

It is important for students to check with their high school administration or guidance counselors to understand the specific criteria and requirements for earning honor cords.

Colors and Meanings

Honor cords come in a variety of colors, each representing a different achievement or field of study. Here are some common colors and their meanings:

Color Meaning
Gold Achievement in academics
Silver Achievement in extracurricular activities
Red Achievement in leadership
Blue Achievement in community service

These are just a few examples, and the colors and their meanings can vary from school to school. It’s important to note that some schools may have their own unique color system for honor cords.

Class Ring

When you graduate high school, one of the most cherished mementos you can receive is a class ring. This traditional piece of jewelry represents your accomplishments, memories, and pride in completing this important milestone in your life.

Class rings have been a long-standing tradition that dates back to the early 1800s, and they continue to be a symbol of achievement and camaraderie among graduates.

Tradition and Symbolism

A class ring holds significant symbolism, representing not only your graduation but also your connection to your school and classmates. It serves as a reminder of the friendships formed, the challenges overcome, and the memories shared during your high school years.

The design of the ring often includes the school’s emblem or mascot, your graduation year, and sometimes personalized engravings to make it truly unique to you.

The tradition of wearing a class ring can be traced back to military academies, where graduates would wear their rings to signify their alma mater and the bonds formed during their time in service. This tradition spread to high schools and colleges, creating a sense of unity and pride among students.

Class rings are often passed down through generations, becoming cherished family heirlooms that symbolize a legacy of education and achievement.

Ordering Your Ring

Ordering your class ring is an exciting process that allows you to customize and personalize a piece of jewelry that reflects your individuality. Many companies specialize in creating class rings, offering a wide range of designs, metals, and gemstone options to choose from.

It’s important to research different options and find a reputable company that can deliver a high-quality ring that will last for years to come.

When ordering your ring, you’ll typically have the opportunity to select the metal for the band, such as gold, silver, or a more affordable option like stainless steel. You can also choose the gemstone that represents your school’s color or your birthstone.

Additionally, you can personalize your ring with engravings on the inside or outside of the band, adding meaningful quotes, your name, or other significant details.

Engraving Options

The engraving options for your class ring are virtually limitless. You can choose to engrave your initials, graduation year, or even a short message that holds special meaning to you. Some students opt for inspirational quotes, while others include inside jokes or memorable phrases shared with their friends.

The choice is entirely up to you and what you want your ring to represent.

When deciding on your engraving, it’s important to consider the size and readability of the text. You want the engraving to be legible and clear, even as the years go by. Discussing your options with the ring manufacturer can help ensure that your chosen engraving will be beautifully and accurately represented on your class ring.

Remember, a class ring is more than just a piece of jewelry. It’s a symbol of your accomplishments, friendships, and the memories made during your high school years. It’s a tangible reminder of the hard work and dedication that led you to this momentous milestone.

So, when you graduate high school, don’t forget to celebrate your achievements with a class ring that you can proudly wear and cherish for a lifetime.


When you graduate high school, one of the most cherished mementos you receive is the yearbook. This beautifully designed book captures the essence of your high school years, filled with memories, friendships, and accomplishments. Let’s take a closer look at what makes the yearbook so special.

Keepsake of Memories

The yearbook serves as a keepsake of memories from your high school journey. It contains photographs of your classmates, teachers, and staff, as well as snapshots from various events and activities throughout the year.

Flipping through its pages, you can relive those precious moments and reminisce about your experiences. From prom nights and football games to school assemblies and club activities, the yearbook captures the spirit and character of your high school life.

It’s a tangible reminder of the friendships formed and the milestones achieved during those formative years.

Personalization Options

Yearbooks offer personalization options that allow you to make your copy truly unique. You can customize your yearbook with your name, senior quote, and even personal messages from friends and teachers.

This personal touch adds a sentimental value to the yearbook, making it an even more cherished possession. Additionally, some yearbooks include special sections where students can write notes to their classmates or leave their mark, creating a sense of community and connection within the pages of the book.

Distribution Timeline

The distribution of yearbooks typically takes place towards the end of the school year, often during a special ceremony or event. This eagerly anticipated moment adds to the excitement and nostalgia surrounding the yearbook.

Students eagerly wait to receive their copies, flipping through the pages with excitement to see their pictures and the messages left by their friends. The distribution timeline may vary from school to school, but it is usually a highly anticipated event that brings the graduating class together one final time before embarking on their individual journeys.

Senior Portraits

Senior portraits are a cherished tradition for high school graduates. They serve as a way to capture and commemorate this important milestone in a student’s life. These professional photographs not only showcase the individual’s personality and style, but also serve as a lasting memory of their time in high school.

Purpose of Senior Portraits

The purpose of senior portraits is multifaceted. Firstly, they provide an opportunity for the graduate to express their individuality and showcase their unique personality. Senior portraits often capture the essence of the student, reflecting their interests, hobbies, and achievements.

These portraits can also be used for a variety of purposes, such as graduation announcements, yearbook submissions, and gifts for family and friends.

Additionally, senior portraits play a significant role in preserving a student’s high school memories. They freeze a moment in time, allowing graduates to look back on their younger selves and reminisce about their journey through high school.

These photographs serve as a visual representation of growth and transformation, capturing the transition from adolescence to adulthood.

Posing and Attire

When it comes to senior portraits, posing and attire play a crucial role in capturing the graduate’s personality and style. The posing can vary from traditional and formal to more relaxed and casual, depending on the individual’s preferences.

Professional photographers often provide guidance and suggestions to help graduates feel comfortable in front of the camera and showcase their best features.

Choosing the right attire is equally important. Graduates are encouraged to wear outfits that reflect their personal style and make them feel confident. Some may opt for formal attire, such as a suit or a dress, while others may choose a more casual ensemble that reflects their everyday style.

The goal is to choose outfits that make the graduate feel comfortable and confident, allowing their true personality to shine through in the photographs.

Print and Digital Packages

After the senior portraits session, graduates are presented with a variety of print and digital packages to choose from. These packages typically include a selection of professionally edited photographs, both in print and digital formats.

Graduates can choose to have their portraits printed in various sizes, ranging from wallet-sized prints to larger wall art.

With the rise of digital media, many photographers also offer digital packages that include high-resolution images. These digital files can be easily shared with family and friends, posted on social media platforms, or used for personal projects.

Some photographers even offer custom-designed photo albums or graduation announcements as part of their packages.


Graduating from high school is an exciting time, full of celebration and anticipation for the future. While the diploma may be the main event, you’ll also receive transcripts, access to records, and mementos like honor cords, class rings, yearbooks, and senior portraits.

These items will serve as reminders of your hard work and accomplishments throughout your high school career. Cherish these memorabilia as you embark on new adventures beyond graduation day!

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