Graduation is the ceremony when qualified students are conferred an academic degree by their school (for primary and secondary education levels), or university (for collegiate and post-graduate degrees). Different educational institutions practice different graduation ceremony traditions.
Graduation in the United States is also called commencement exercise. Students march, the top students and teachers or professors read speeches, diplomas are handed out to students one by one as their names are called, and the university president or an important official awards the degrees. In most cases, the diploma given during the actual graduation ceremony is not the real diploma. The authentic copy is usually only given after the ceremony in a firm envelope for protection. Americans typically do a hat toss after the ceremony.
College and post-graduate students are typically required to apply for graduation. Graduation does not come automatically, the student has to file for it at least two semesters from the date he or she intends to complete all academic credits and the minimum cumulative GPA required. The student usually has to fill out and submit a form for application for graduation (for a fee, in most cases), pass the audit check or clearance, buy or rent the graduation regalia, and buy tickets for his or her parents or other people who want to see him or her graduate.
Graduating in Britain is not much different from graduating in the United States, but the ceremony itself can be more formal. University graduations are especially ceremonial. The professors and deans march while wearing academic regalia. Some universities hold graduation ceremonies in either Latin or Welsh, even when the majority of students do not understand these languages.