Know Your Graduation Hats

There will be so much on your to-do list as graduation day approaches. Along with planning your high school or college graduation party, there are a few other details to consider before walking across the stage. You’ll need to order your graduation hat and gown after you’ve sent out your party invitations and announcements and decided what to wear.

But what exactly is a graduation hat, and why do we wear them? More information about this type of hat is provided below.

The Graduation Cap and Its History


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The graduation cap represents the time and effort you put into your education, and the hood represents the discipline you studied. You get to place the grad cap on the top of your head and carry it like a crown after many years of dedication and hard work. It’s a square cap with a tassel on top that is usually black and made of various materials such as silk, cotton, or polyester.

Because it resembles the board builders use to hold mortar, the graduation hat is also known as a Mortarboard. In contrast to today’s pared-back look, early editions of the graduation cap featured intricate designs and decorations.

The origins of the graduation tradition and academic dress can be traced back to 12th century England, when universities were first established, and have continued to this day. Previously, the cap color represented the field of study, and folks wore graduation gowns for religious reasons, indicating that they were a scholar.

Graduation caps were only sported by those with Doctor’s or Master’s degrees in the early days of universities. However, over time, they have become a piece of the graduation attire for graduating students, from the Bachelor’s level onwards.

While graduation caps are simpler in design than their historical counterparts, there is still room for some glitz. The graduation tassel may be a different color than the traditional black depending on the country and grade a student is graduating. On the other hand, gold tassels are only worn by students who earned the title of Doctor.

Various academic institutions have required students to have their graduation cap’s tassel on the right side before their degree is awarded and then shifted to the left as they receive their award. However, all institutions do not enforce this.

Wearing a Graduation Cap

Your mortarboard, also known as your graduation cap, is a “graduation hat” that must be worn flat on the head, parallel to the ground. You’ll want the cap to be worn correctly, comfortably, and without incident. Follow these simple steps to ensure you’re wearing your grad cap in style:

Practice Wearing the Cap Before Your Big Day

With practice, you can feel confident that you’re wearing the cap correctly. Trying on your graduation cap before the ceremony will also help you ensure that it stays in place throughout the ceremony and looks fantastic in all your graduation pictures. You can put it back in place without using a mirror if it is knocked off.

Style Your Hair Properly

This isn’t as big a step for gentlemen graduates as it is for ladies, but it’s something to consider. There are only a couple of hairstyles that complement a graduation cap. Although you cannot wear an up-do or a high ponytail, a few hairstyles will look great under the graduation cap.

Put Your Cap On Properly

The cap’s pointed tip should be in front of your head, with the elastic band behind. You must wear the cap directly on the head, not tilted back, and should be one inch above your brows.

Remember that your cap will usually indicate which side goes in front and what side goes in back. Flip your cap over, and the instructions should be on the underside.

Secure Your Cap Atop Your Head

a smiling woman placing a graduation cap on her isolated on an orange background

Graduation caps are notorious for falling off your head, and with all of the circumstances and pomp surrounding the ceremony, it is much more likely that your cap will be knocked off your head by a strong wind or even a colleague. Use bobby pins, a few clips, or any hair jewelry that match your hair color to keep your graduation cap in place.

Clean Your Graduation Tassel

Brushing the tassel keeps it from becoming tangled. Then, hook the tassel onto the center button of your cap. Once you’ve attached your tassel and proudly rocked your graduation year, give the tassel a gentle tug to ensure it’s secure.

Place It on the Right Graduation Tassel Side

Your level of graduation determines this. Graduation rituals include tassel turning.

According to tradition, graduates are requested to flip their cap’s tassel from one side to the other during the ceremony, indicating that they have earned a degree. Check the graduation tassel side details below to ensure you have the tassel on the right side before the ceremony.

Wear Your Graduation Cap Proudly

Recognize this incredible achievement. It’s not every day that you can accessorize your look with a graduation gown and cap. Accept your ceremony attire!

Before Graduation, Which Side Does the Tassel Go?

For celebration and uniformity, graduates move the tassel from one corner of their cap to the other during the ceremony to signify earning a degree. So, which side of the tassel should it be on before graduation?

Graduation hat tassel placement varies by degree and may also be determined by your school’s tradition. For more specific advice on your graduation tassel side, refer to the guidelines below:

High School Graduation


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Tassels are worn on the cap’s right side before a high school commencement ceremony and are then moved to the left side after receiving your diploma or when asked to do so by the speaker.

College Bachelor’s Degree

The tassel placement rules for an undergraduate degree are the same as for high school graduations. Tassels are worn on the cap’s right side before the ceremony and then moved to the left after obtaining a diploma or when the speaker asks them to do so.

College Master’s Degree

Graduates wear their tassels on the cap’s left side before, during, and after receiving a master’s degree. They are not transferred from their cap’s right to the left side.

College Doctor’s Degree

Tassels are also placed on the left side of the graduation cap before, during, and after graduation for a college doctorate. They are not transferred from the right to the left side.


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