How to Move the Tassel During Graduation

The graduation tassel comes in a variety of colors.

Tassels are placed in the center of a mortarboard, which is a cap that gains its name because it resembles the tool brick layers used to hold mortar. The word "tassel" itself comes from the Latin word "tassau," which means clasp. The tassel is worn by students who are graduating on several different academic levels, from a high school diploma to a doctoral degree. The movement of the tassel from one side of the mortarboard to the other symbolizes a student's completion of schooling.

Place the mortar board, or cap, on top of your head. If it does not fit snugly, look for another size to ensure it doesn’t slip off during the ceremony.

Move the tassel to the right side of the mortar board before the ceremony begins.

Watch the ceremony and wait until the end, when you will be instructed to move the tassel. Depending upon the ceremony, you will be instructed to move the tassel on stage after you receive your diploma or after all of your fellow graduates have returned to their seat.

Grasp the tassel with your fingers and move it from the right side of the mortar board to the left side.

  • The tassel is placed on the left side originally and moved to the right on completion of a doctorate degree.

Residing in Chippewa Falls, Wis., Jaimie Zinski has been writing since 2009. Specializing in pop culture, film and television, her work appears on Star Reviews and various other websites. Zinski is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in history at the University of Wisconsin.