125 College and High School Graduation Quotes To Inspire The Future

Graduating from high school or college is worth celebrating as it is a major life achievement leading one to greater heights. Graduation days often come with a roller coaster of emotions for grads and their families alike. It is a unique time when friends and family come together to celebrate educational achievement. Amid the celebrations, gifts are also presented to the graduate and sometimes some graduation advice that includes quotes to start them off onto their next journey. College and High school graduation quotes can be used in cards, in person, or in commencement speeches. Whatever graduation quote you use is sure to leave a lasting impact on those who read them and provide some inspiration for continued success in the future. Here are 125 motivational college and high school graduation quotes to keep in mind while you are celebrating the graduate that you know.

Short College And High School Graduation Quotes

1. Showing up is 80 per cent of life. — Woody Allen

2. There are no regrets in life, just lessons. — Jennifer Aniston 

3. It always seems impossible until it’s done. — Nelson Mandela

4. Intelligence without ambition is like a bird without wings. — Dali 

5. It is absolutely still possible to make a difference. — Michelle Obama

6. A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds. — Francis Bacon 

7. The important thing is not to stop questioning. — Albert Einstein 

8. What we learn with pleasure we never forget. — Alfred Mercier

9. We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. — Oscar Wilde

10. The highest result of education is tolerance. — Helen Keller

11.  Education is the key to unlocking the world, a passport to freedom. Oprah Winfrey

12. Graduation is not the end; it’s the beginning. — Senator Orrin Hatch

13. Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. — John Dewey

14. There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind. — C.S. Lewis

15. Your education is a dress rehearsal for a life that is yours to lead. — Nora Ephron

16. Instruction ends in the schoolroom, but education ends only with life. — Frederick W. Robertson

17. The horizon leans forward, Offering you space to place new steps of change. Maya Angelou

18. The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you. — B.B. King

19. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest. — Benjamin Franklin

20. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education. Martin Luther King Jr.

21. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. — Eleanor Roosevelt 

22. What lies behind us, and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

23. Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm — Winston Churchill 

24. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. — Eleanor Roosevelt 

25. Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world right in the eye. — Helen Keller

26. When you leave here, don’t forget why you came. — Adlai E. Stevenson

27. I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. — Mark Twain

28. Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there. — Will Rogers

29. We do not need magic to change the world, we can carry all the power we need inside ourselves already. — JK Rowling 

30. Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets. —Leonado da Vinci 

31. Always be the first-rate version of yourself, instead of the second-rate version of somebody else. — Judy Garland 

32. Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.— Nelson Mandela 

33. The fireworks begin today. Each diploma is a lighted match. Each one of you is a fuse. — Edward Koch

34. Sometimes you find out what you are supposed to be doing by doing the things you are not supposed to do. — Oprah Winfrey 

35. If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it. — William Arthur Ward

36. Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m possible!
— Audrey Hepburn

37. Don’t just get involved. Fight for your seat at the table. Better yet, fight for a seat at the head of the table. — Barack Obama

38. Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia. — Charles Schulz

39. The fireworks begin today. Each diploma is a lighted match. Each one of you is a fuse. — Edward Koch

40. The only thing you can do in this life is pursue your passions, celebrate your bloopers and never stop following your fear. — Grace Helbig

Motivational College Or High School Graduation Quotes 

41. If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. — Milton Barie 

42. You can never be overdressed or overeducated. — Oscar Wilde

43. Understand it, see it, appreciate it. And have fun. — Joss Whedon 

44. The golden opportunity you are seeking is within yourself. Mary Engelbreit

45. Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

46. Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought for with ardour and attended to with diligence. Abigail Adams

47. Set out each day believing in your dreams. Know without a doubt that you are destined for great things. Josh Hinds

48. The man who graduates today and stops learning tomorrow is uneducated the day after. —  Newton D. Baker

49. Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated; you can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps.  David Lloyd George

50. The most rewarding things in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done. — Arnold Palmer

51. The only impossible journey is the one you never begin. — Anthony Robbins

52. Don’t ever confuse the two, your life and your work. The second is only part of the first. — Anna Quindlen

53. Opportunity does not knock, it presents itself when you beat down the door. — Kyle Chandler

54. Do not let making a living prevent you from making a life. John Wooden

55.  In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson. Tom Bodett

56. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. — Henry David Thoreau

57. Every person you meet knows something you don’t; learn from them. — H Jackson Brown Jr.

58. As you get older, you realize that no one has all the answers. It turns out that life is an exercise in living with the certainty of uncertainty. Jason Kila

59.  A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car, but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad. — Theodore Roosevelt

60. Life is an improvisation. You have no idea what’s going to happen next and you are mostly just making things up as you go along. Stephen Colbert

61. Education makes a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive: easy to govern, but impossible to enslave. — Henry Peter Brougham

61. There is a good reason they call these ceremonies ‘ commencement exercises’. Graduation is not the end; it’s the beginning. Orrin Hatch

63. At commencement, you wear your square-shaped mortarboards. My hope is that from time to time you will let your minds be bold, and wear sombreros. Paul Freund

64. The whole world is opening to you. You guys have been in school your entire lives. You have completed something difficult that took persistence and willfulness. Ira Glass

65. My wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to. Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small and that you never need to carry more than you can hold. — Rascal Flatts

66. Follow your passion, it will lead you to your purpose. — Oprah Winfrey

67. Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. — Dr. Seuss

68. Your life is your story, and the adventure ahead of you is the journey to fulfil your own purpose and potential. — Kerry Washington 

69. Take pride in how far you’ve come. Have faith in how far you can go. But don’t forget to enjoy the journey. — Michael Josephson

70. Your life is your story, and the adventure ahead of you is the journey to fulfil your own purpose and potential. — Kerry Washington

71. You have to dance a little bit before you step out into the world each day, because it changes the way you walk. — Sandra Bullock

72. Your certification is in your degree. You may think of it as the ticket to the good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as your ticket to change the world. Tom Brokaw

73. Your families are extremely proud of you. You can’t imagine the sense of relief they are experiencing. This would be the most opportune time to ask for money. — Gary Bolding

74. You can’t control how smart you are, how funny you are, how good-looking you are. The one thing you can control in your life is how hard you work. Ian Brennan

75. Graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that ‘individuality’ is the key. Robert Orben

76. Now go, and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for you being here. Make good art. — Neil Gaiman

77. As you set off into the world, don’t be afraid to question your leaders. But don’t ask too many questions at one time or that are too hard, because your leaders will get tired and/or cranky. — Will Ferrell

78. Follow your passion. Stay true to yourself. Never follow someone else’s path unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path. By all means, you should follow that. — Ellen DeGeneres

79. Do all the other things, the ambitious things—travel, get rich, get famous, innovate, lead, fall in love, make and lose fortunes…but as you do, to the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindness. — George Saunders 

80. Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable…Every step towards the goal…requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. Martin Luther King Jr.

81. Be willing to embrace wonder, to experience unexpected discovery, and to go in unknown directions… Never become so enamoured of your own smarts that you stop signing up for life’s hard classes. — Melissa Harris-Perry

82. You’ll find out that nothing that comes easy is worth a dime. As a matter of fact, I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face. Never. Woody Hayes

83. Pursue whatever it is that you want to do with your life. It is the only secret to happiness that I know except for maybe true love, that and maybe having the amazing health insurance plan that our congressmen have. Lewis Black

84. Don’t let your fears overwhelm your desire. Let the barriers you face—and there will be barriers—be external, not internal. Fortune does favor the bold, and I promise that you will never know what you’re capable of unless you try. Sheryl Sandberg

85. You were born to be uncommon. Today I encourage you to leave your mark, I challenge you to shake up the world. It’s a world that’s increasingly complex and often daunting, but I believe something amazing can happen here. Marilyn Luscombe

86. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love. — Jim Carrey

87. Real courage is holding on to a still voice in your head that says, ‘I must keep going.’ It’s that voice that says nothing is a failure if it is not final. That voice that says to you, ‘Get out of bed. Keep going. I will not quit. — Cory Booker

88. To those of you who received honours, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you too may one day be president of the United States. George W. Bush

89. Real leadership comes from the quiet nudging of an inner voice. It comes from realizing that the time has come to move beyond waiting to doing. Madeleine Albright

90. You get to make your own luck. 80% of success in your career will come from just showing up. The world is run by those who show up…not those who wait to be asked. Steve Blank

91. Don’t be afraid of fear. Because it sharpens you, it challenges you, it makes you stronger; and when you run away from fear, you also run away from the opportunity to be your best possible self. Ed Helms

92. That diploma you hold in your hands today is really just your learner’s permit for the rest of the drive through life. Remember, you don’t have to be smarter than the next person, all you have to do is be willing to work harder than the next person. Jimmy Iovine

93. I could tell you that when you have trouble making up your mind about something, tell yourself you’ll settle it by flipping a coin. But don’t go by how the coin flips; go by your emotional reaction to the coin flip. Are you happy or sad it came up heads or tails? David Brooks

94. Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbour, and catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, dream, discover. Mark Twain

95. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. Steve Jobs

96. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing, but what you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself. Alan Alda

97. My dear terrified graduates, you are about to enter the most uncertain and thrilling period of your lives. The stories you are about to live are the ones you will be telling your children, and grandchildren, and therapists. — Lin-Manuel Miranda

98. Graduation is not a single point along the continuum of life. Instead, graduation is a series of continuing steps where additional education and life experiences culminate in a life driven by a self-sacrificing desire to contribute to the well-being of those people who are around you. Byron Pulsifer

99. I did fail. Time and time again. I was too short for this or too strange for that. I even had one casting director for a movie say ‘he’ll never work in comedy.’ I was taking my punches but I was in the fight. That’s a metaphor of course, I highly doubt I have any ability to take an actual punch. Charlie Day

100. You have the freedom to define who you are. Find your passion. You will fail but don’t give up. Life is hard work, there is no easy out. Be responsible and respect this world, above all, believe in yourself. Anonymous

101. Graduation is the same thing as taking that first baby step as a child. It is only the beginning, not the end. Thus, take the advent of graduation as that first step where life’s difficulties or failures only spark new attempts with the full understanding that nobody can discourage your progress except you. Byron R. Pulsifer

102. You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once, but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own.Michelle Obama

103. The world does not pay for what a person knows. It pays for what a person does with what she knows. As you start your journey, the first thing you should do is throw away that store-bought map and begin to draw your own. Hyacinth Mottley

104. Whatever blocks you encounter, you have learned that there is a way over, around or through them. It is not those obstacles that inhibit your progress but your confidence, and will to break the inertia of fear and doubt.  Douglas Smith

105. You’re going to be doing things and you are going to be scared. It’s natural. Everybody is. And when that happens, and it’s going to happen more than once, do me a favor: go back to the days of your childhood, go in the 100 Acre Wood, take a deep breath and just say, “I’m stronger than I seem, I’m braver than I believe, and I’m smarter than I think.” And then go do it, that’s what it is. James Carville

See Also: 90 Encouraging Quotes For Men And Women Who Want To Succeed

Funny College Or High School Graduation Quotes 

106. So, what’s it like in the real world? Well, the food is better, but beyond that, I don’t recommend it. Bill Watterson

107. Life is my college. May I graduate well, and earn some honors! Louisa May Alcott

108. Now that you’ve graduated, just remember: Bosses don’t usually accept notes from your mother. Melanie White

109. The trouble with learning from experience is that you never graduate. Doug Larson

107. It’s always a good move to listen to that inner voice…if it doesn’t lead to a crime. —Lisa Kudrow

110. Here’s the thing: the world is not going to issue you an engraved invitation to this life. Sarah Heidt

111. You have learned a lot, but there are still lots of learning for you as you journey through life. Never stop learning. Kate Summers

112. Always be the first-rate version of yourself, instead of the second-rate version of somebody else. — Judy Garland

1113. Shoot for the moon! Even if you miss…you’ll land among the stars. Les Brown

114. Success is like a mountain that keeps growing ahead of you as you hike it … Err in the direction of kindness. George Saunders

115. The man who graduates today and stops learning tomorrow is uneducated the day after. Newton D. Baker

116. If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito. Bette Reese

117. Graduation is a time to nod at the past and smile at the future. And we’d a better smile at it because it’s quite a bit bigger than us. Noah MacDonald

118. If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you. Muhammad Ali

119. If learning is like a sponge, don’t ever stop soaking it up. Never stop learning. Catherine Pulsifer

120. Struggling to decide what to do after graduation is, and always will be, a sort of rite of passage to the next phase of your life. Gloria Davidson

121. Don’t ever rob a bank. Enjoy life. Have fun. Choose to be happy now; don’t wait until you’re ‘successful,’ because honestly, I was as happy when we were unemployed and scrounging around for a buck. Peter Farrelly

122. It is clear the future holds great opportunities. It also holds pitfalls. The trick will be to avoid the pitfalls, seize the opportunities, and get back home by six o’clock. Woody Allen

123. Graduation day is tough for adults. They go to the ceremony as parents. They come home as contemporaries. After twenty-two years of child-raising, they are unemployed. Erma Bombeck

124. Commencement speeches were invented largely in the belief that outgoing college students should never be released into the world until they have been properly sedated. Garry Trudeau

125. You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where to go. Dr. Seuss

Chika Udeh
Chika holds a B.A in English language/History and has over 5 years experience in content development and journalism. She loves playing with writing, wordsmiths, and storytelling in all its forms, and when she is not writing about famous people and events that matter, she is probably listening or dancing to some cool jams.


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