Why Is A Baccalaureate Important?

High school graduation cap.

High school graduation cap.

May brings the end of another school year. While the majority of students will return in the fall, many are moving on: they are graduates. Schools traditionally hold graduation ceremonies to honor those who have completed the work. This is the same for high school, collegiate, and sometimes eighth-grade students. The graduation ceremony is a step up into something better. However, this step can be intimidating. To encourage the graduates, the community holds a baccalaureate service for them. But just what is a baccalaureate service? What is the purpose? And not a requirement, why should one attend?

What Is It?

A baccalaureate service generally refers to a non-denominational service held a few days before high school or college graduation. The ceremony aims to be a more intimate time of reflection prior to the larger, louder rite of passage that is commencement. Deliberately non-denominational to include all religions and beliefs, the goal of this event is to honor graduates and help them find spiritual meaning during this time of life-changing decision-making.


There are three main purposes of the baccalaureate service.

  • ¬†Officially marks the end of the academic career. Although some students continue on to college, most do not and this is the end of formal education.
  • ¬†Encouragement to go on. It may seem intimidating to a graduate. What do I do now? What is expected of me? Will I make it? The baccalaureate service encourages the graduate to embrace the future filled with new possibilities and promise.
  • Blessing. Who can pass up a blessing of promise and hope for the future? This is a show of support from the community towards the graduates as they imbark on a new phase of life.

While this service is not required, most graduates and their families do attend. It can seem calm before the furor of graduation ceremonies; it is the well-wishing of the community that they have faith in you. It completes the graduation and educational process.

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