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What Side Does The Tassel Go On?

If you are about to graduate and wondering what side the tassel should go on, this article explains everything you need to know about graduating cap tassel placement for high school, college, and post-graduate students.

What Side Does The Tassel Go On

What Side Does The Tassel Go On?

High School and Undergraduate Degree

When getting dressed for graduation, you should place your graduation tassel on the right side of your graduation cap. During the commencement ceremony, the speaker will let you know when you can all collectively move your tassel to the left side of your cap. Symbolically, this shows that all high school or undergraduate students have graduated.

You can remember this by saying that once you move your tassel to the left, you have officially finished and left school. 

When college graduates receive their degrees, they wear their tassels on the right side until the degree is conferred, then move it to the left side.

🎓 Suggested reading: Do Colleges Have Dress Codes? What To Wear To Class, Interviews & Parties!

Post Graduate

Once you have an undergraduate degree, you should keep your tassel on the left, as you already have a degree and have already officially moved your tassel from right to left. 

This is true for all higher degrees like masters or doctorate. Once you’ve moved your tassel to the left, it stays there for the remainder of all your future graduation ceremonies.

What Side Does The Tassel Go On Before You Graduate?

The grad tassel is on the right side, which signifies that you have not yet graduated. The tassel will stay on the left during the graduation ceremony until the speaker announces to all graduates that they can move it to the left. All graduates will move their tassel at the same time. Once you move it to the left side, it signifies that you have now acquired graduate status.

What Side Does The Tassel Go On Before You Graduate

High School Graduation

The tassels are usually on the right side for all high school graduates at the beginning of the graduation ceremony. Then after receiving the high school diploma, the tassel is moved to the left side. The graduation speaker will let you know when you should move your tassel.

🎓 If you’re looking for some fun graduation cap decoration ideas, then we suggest reading: 40 Best Graduation Cap Ideas

College Undergraduate Degrees (Associate or Bachelor Degree)

The tassel lies on the right side of the cap, and then you move it to the left side after you have been awarded your degree and the graduation speaker tells you to move it. The process is the same as that of high school graduation. 

College Post-Graduate Degrees (Master or Doctoral Degree)

The tassel remains on the left side of the cap before the ceremony, during, and after for the college post-graduate degrees. The process for a college master’s degree ceremony and a bachelor’s degree and high school diploma is different in that way. 

Why Do You Move Your Tassel From Right To Left?

Once you’ve received your diploma, you move your tassel from the right side to the left when instructed by the graduation speaker during the high school graduation ceremony. This action signifies that you have graduated. 

How To Wear Graduation Cap

How To Wear Graduation Cap

Test if Your Cap Fits in Advance

Trying on your graduation cap before the ceremony will enable you to know how best to style it. It will also help you get the right fit if the one you were given is ill-fitting. This is a great way to prepare for your long-awaited day. A cap that is the perfect size will fit well when you wear it and stay in place on your big day as you take pictures and move about.

Wear your hair well

For the gentlemen, there is not much to put into consideration. However, if you have a lot of hair, you might need to slick it down and use pins to ensure that your graduation cap fits you well. For the ladies, high-updos and ponytails should be avoided. Your graduation cap will only fit you if you wear your hair straight. Feel free to look up some of the common graduation hairstyle trends that are available.

Tip at the back

The correct way to wear your cap is such that the tip is at the back and the elastic band sits at the front. There should be about an inch (give or take) between your eyebrows and the front part of the cap. If you have trouble wearing your graduation cap, you can flip it, and you should find instructions on how to wear it underneath.

The tassel goes on the right side

Position your tassel well on the right side before graduation. The tradition in graduations has been to flip the tassel from the right side to the left to signify a transition from one academic qualification to another. So do not miss out on the chance to perform this tradition because you positioned your tassel on the wrong side.

🎓 Apart from the cap, there are other items of graduation apparel that you can wear. You might be wondering What Is A Graduation Stole? or What Cords Can You Get For High School Graduation?

Turning Of The Tassel History

Tassels are dated back to the 17th century. Earlier on, the tassels on the mortarboard caps were used to decorate distinguished members from universities such as Cambridge and Oxford on their graduation. The golden color was specifically for well-performing students, while the black was for standard academic achievement.

The side-switching technique and procedure have a vague origin. One of the known occurrences is one that happened in 1901, during the graduation of the Women’s College of Baltimore City, which is now known as the co-ed Goucher College. In that year’s graduation ceremony, the students wore caps that had tassels on them.

At the time, the tassels were dangling off of different corners. However, when the senior students received their diplomas, the three lower classes flipped their tassels onto the next corner. This signified that those students had advanced from one level of their education to another.

The tussle-turning became a fun tradition and caught on in the 20th century, especially in the 1960s when mostly the younger students participated in that tradition during graduation. 

This beautiful tradition gradually changed in the 1970s when the seniors started flipping their tussles to signify successfully graduating. The same tradition has been adopted to date and is now considered to be one of the many aspects of graduation etiquette.

According to UCLA’s Henry A Kelly, the turning of the tassel is a recent tradition, about 50 years old. He believes it is probably based on this silly pun about leaving college. You move your tassel to the left when you have left college and suggests that’s the basis of it.

Watch the video below, which decodes academic regalia, including graduation caps and gowns:

What side does the tassel go on for graduation pictures?

The tassel should be on the left side while taking graduation photos to show that you have graduated. 

You’ll notice that most schools and colleges will have students walk from the right side of the stage to get their diplomas, as the tassel will still be on the right side, thereby not covering their faces as they walk up. 

Once you have graduated, you will move your tassel to the left, so photos after graduation should show your tassel on the left-hand side. 

Do you wear 2 tassels at graduation?

Only one tassel should be worn at a time; however, you can wear 2 cords with tassels on graduation day to indicate some award. Honors society, higher achievements, and valedictorian status are some of the awards that would require you to wear two tassels during your graduation.

What do you say when you turn your tassel?

If you have been chosen to lead the tassel turn for your class, then you can say something like:

“I am honored to be the one leading the tassel turn for our class of (say the year). Please turn your tassels from the right to the left. Congratulations!” 

Or you can ask all your classmates to stand and then say:

“As a symbolic gesture of your completion of high school, graduates, you may now turn your tassel.”

What is it called when you move your tassel at graduation?

‘Turning the tassel’ is what you call the action of moving your tassel from right to left during your graduation. Usually, the graduation speaker is the one who asks the graduates to flip their tassels collectively.

Why do we wear square hats at graduation?

Graduating caps have several historical origins. 

In many countries, including the United States, graduates wear the square academic cap, also called a mortarboard, because it looks like mortarboards used by brick masons to hold mortar.

Historically, the mortarboard is thought to have evolved from the biretta, a hat worn by Roman Catholic clergy.

Scholars wear square hats as part of our graduation attire to signify higher learning, and it is a modern symbol of academic accomplishments. The shape is associated with students (soon-to-be graduates) and generally learned people.

Why do we wear square hats at graduation

In conclusion, graduation day is fast approaching, which means that you’ll soon be able to say goodbye to high school. But before you leave, there are a few things you should know about graduating from high school.

First, you’ll want to ensure you’re aware of the graduation etiquette students should adhere to.  

This includes sending out your graduation announcements in time for all your family and friends to attend. You must check that you have everything you need for your graduation outfit, including your cap and graduation gown. 

It would help if you understood the graduation cap tassel placement for your particular ceremony.

As your graduation ceremony approaches, be sure to discuss your high school or college graduation party ideas with your family. You should celebrate this earned academic achievement with tasty graduation party food and the best graduation cake

So whether you’re planning to attend college right after graduation or going straight into the workforce, congratulations on reaching another milestone in your life. Happy Graduation! 🎓