Before You Graduate What Side Does the Tassel Go On


Before You Graduate: What Side Does the Tassel Go On?

Graduation is a significant milestone in one’s academic journey, symbolizing years of hard work and dedication. As the day approaches, many graduates find themselves wondering about the small details, such as the placement of the tassel on their graduation cap. While it may seem like a trivial matter, understanding the proper position for your tassel is an important aspect of the graduation ceremony. In this article, we will dive into the history behind the tradition and clarify any confusion surrounding this age-old question.

The Tradition Behind the Tassel:
The tradition of wearing graduation caps and gowns dates back to the 12th century when universities in Europe began to establish standardized academic attire. These robes were initially worn as a way to keep students warm in the unheated buildings during winter ceremonies. Over time, the caps and gowns became symbols of academic achievement and were adopted by universities worldwide.

The placement of the tassel on the graduation cap has a symbolic significance. The tassel itself represents the transition from candidate to graduate. When students receive their diplomas, they shift the tassel from one side of the cap to the other, signifying their newfound status. Understanding which side the tassel should be placed on is crucial to ensure that this symbolic gesture is performed correctly.

Which Side Does the Tassel Go On?
The traditional placement of the tassel depends on the level of education being conferred. For high school graduations, the tassel is typically worn on the right side of the cap before the diploma is received. Once the graduates are officially declared as graduates, they move the tassel to the left side.

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At college and university graduations, the tassel is initially positioned on the right side of the cap. However, there may be variations depending on the institution’s specific traditions. It is essential to consult your school’s guidelines or attend any pre-graduation meetings to ensure you follow the correct protocol.


Q: Can I move the tassel before officially receiving my diploma?
A: It is generally considered appropriate to wait until you are officially declared as a graduate before moving the tassel. This signifies the completion of your academic journey and the moment when you can celebrate your achievement.

Q: What if I accidentally move the tassel before receiving my diploma?
A: Mistakes happen! If you accidentally move the tassel before receiving your diploma, do not worry. Simply move it back to the right side until the appropriate moment arrives.

Q: Can I keep the tassel on the right side after the ceremony?
A: While it is technically possible to keep the tassel on the right side after the ceremony, it is widely accepted that the left-side placement represents the transition from candidate to graduate. Therefore, it is recommended to move the tassel to the left side once the ceremony concludes.

Q: Are there any exceptions to these tassel placement rules?
A: Some institutions may have unique traditions or variations, so it is always best to consult your school’s guidelines. Additionally, certain specialized degrees or honors may have specific tassel placement instructions. Be sure to clarify any exceptions with your academic advisor or graduation coordinator.

In conclusion, the placement of the tassel on your graduation cap holds symbolic significance. By understanding the traditional rules, you can ensure that you perform this gesture correctly and honor the achievements of your academic journey. Always consult your school’s guidelines and be aware of any specific variations to ensure a seamless and memorable graduation experience. Congratulations on reaching this significant milestone in your life!

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