Which Side Should Your Tassel Be On Before Graduation


Which Side Should Your Tassel Be On Before Graduation?

Graduation day is a significant milestone in every student’s life. It is a time to celebrate years of hard work, dedication, and achievement. However, amidst the excitement and anticipation, there is one detail that often confuses graduates – which side should their tassel be on before the ceremony? In this article, we will explore the tradition behind tassel placement and provide guidance on where it should be positioned.

The Tradition Behind Tassel Placement:

The tradition of wearing a graduation cap and tassel dates back centuries. It is believed to have originated from the European universities in the 14th and 15th centuries. During this time, scholars wore long robes and hoods to distinguish themselves as intellectuals. The cap, known as a mortarboard, was introduced as a symbol of scholarly achievement.

Originally, the tassel on the graduation cap was positioned at the front, near the forehead. This placement represented the student’s status as an undergraduate. Upon receiving their degree, the tassel was moved to the side or back of the cap, symbolizing the transition from student to graduate.

However, over time, the tradition has evolved, and the majority of academic institutions have adopted a standardized placement for the tassel. This placement is determined by the rules and customs of each institution, ensuring uniformity during the graduation ceremony.

Determining the Correct Side:

While the specific side for tassel placement may vary among different institutions, the general rule of thumb is to initially position the tassel on the right side of the graduation cap. This placement is consistent with the tradition of moving the tassel from one side to the other during the ceremony.

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During the graduation ceremony, there is typically a designated moment when the graduates are instructed to move their tassels. This moment often occurs after the conferral of degrees, symbolizing the transition from student to graduate. At this point, the graduates are instructed to move their tassels from the right side to the left side of their caps.

It is important to note that while this is the general guideline, it is crucial to follow the specific instructions provided by your academic institution. Some institutions may have variations or unique customs regarding tassel placement, and it is essential to adhere to their guidelines to ensure a seamless and uniform ceremony.


Q: Can I wear my tassel on the left side before the ceremony?

A: Generally, the tassel should be worn on the right side before the ceremony. However, it is essential to check with your academic institution to confirm their specific guidelines.

Q: How do I know when to move my tassel during the graduation ceremony?

A: The moment to move your tassel is typically indicated by the presiding official during the ceremony. It usually occurs after the conferral of degrees.

Q: Can I personalize my graduation cap and tassel?

A: Some institutions allow graduates to personalize their graduation caps and tassels within certain guidelines. However, it is crucial to check with your institution beforehand to avoid any violations of their policies.

Q: What should I do if my tassel falls off during the ceremony?

A: If your tassel falls off during the ceremony, it is generally not a cause for concern. You can simply reattach it or hold it in your hand until the appropriate moment to move it.

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In conclusion, the tradition of tassel placement during graduation ceremonies has deep historical roots. While the specific side may vary among institutions, the general rule is to wear the tassel on the right side before the ceremony and move it to the left side during the designated moment. It is essential to follow the guidelines provided by your academic institution to ensure a smooth and memorable graduation day.