Wearing a cap and gown at a graduation ceremony is a timeless tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages. While students have been wearing cap and gowns for centuries, that doesn’t mean we know exactly how to wear the attire. From graduation hoods to the graduation tassel side placement to how to pin the graduation cap, things can get pretty confusing pretty fast (which might make you question whether or not you’re smart enough to actually graduate). No sweat. Avoid an embarrassing moment by following our advice on how wear a graduation cap. Oh, and congratulations by the way!
How to Wear a Graduation Cap
First, you want to make sure that your graduation cap actually fits your head. If it does, good! If not, you might want to contact your graduation coordinator.
Next, you want to get acquainted with the mortarboard, which is the square piece on the crown of the cap. You want to place the cap so that the front tip of the mortarboard is centered on your forehead, between your eyes.
How do you figure out the front from the back? While the manufacturer might include basic directions inside the brim, you might also be able to tell by the design of the cap. Usually there’s a slight taper in the forehead area and an elastic band at the back.
Another important tip: the mortarboard should be flat and even with the ground. Anything crooked or askew or pushed back is no bueno. Want to test how straight and flat it is? Place a small object on top of your cap (a nickel or a marble will work) and see if it rolls off. If it doesn’t, then you’re all set.
What’s Your Graduation Cap Tassel Side and What Your Graduation Cap Tassel Placement Means
Next comes the tassel. If the graduation cap doesn’t come with a preassembled tassel, then you’ll have to attach it yourself. To do so, simply secure the loop of the tassel onto the raised button located at the center part of your cap. You want to secure it enough so that it won’t fall off but that it will still be able to sway back and forth. Another tip: brush the tassel so it’s not all tangled up. You want it to look loosey goosey.
After you’ve attached your tassel, you’ll want to set it to the correct side of your cap. This is key because, according to tradition, some graduates are asked to flip their tassel from side of their cap to another as a symbolism of their graduation. If you’re receiving a Bachelor’s degree or a high school diploma, you want to place it on the right side of your mortarboard prior to your graduation ceremony since you’ll be instructed to move your tassel to the left side once you’ve been declared a graduate.
If you’re receiving a Master’s degree or higher, your tassel will remain on the left side prior and throughout your graduation ceremony.
How to Pin a Graduation Cap
Having trouble securing your cap? Then you might want to consider pinning your graduation cap. So how do you that without hurting yourself? Whether you’re a guy or girl, bobby pins, or any type of discreet hair fasteners, will be your best friend. You might want to consider crossing bobby pins into a “X” formation and attaching it at the base of your cap to your hair. Finding clips in your hair color will make it look more natural. Some women have also sewed a headband into the inside of their cap which also helps prevent it from falling off.
How to Wear Graduation Cap If You’re a Guy
Whether you’re a guy or girl, wearing a graduation cap is the same across the board. If you’re unsure how to pin yours to your head, you might want to consider borrowing or buying your own hair clips. Don’t worry — no one will be able to tell!
How to Wear Graduation Hood
Another part of academia regalia is the graduation hood. Graduation hoods are usually black with velvet trim and the color of the trim represents your academic degree. The color of the hood’s lining, along with its particular patterning, will represent your academic institution.
So how to wear your graduation hood? First, it’s best to ask before the ceremony as each institution will have its own rules. Some schools might have a professor place the hood on you, while others will request you put the hood on yourself. If you’re doing the latter, it’s important to remember that the hood should be draped so that the institution’s official colors and design on the lining are visible. Because the hood is meant to drape behind you, make sure the small, pointed end of the hood, is laid flat at the base of your neck. Once you’ve got that down, you might want to secure the hood with a pin or button to keep it from falling or wrinkling.