How-To Wear Your Graduation Tam

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how to wear your graduation tam

Wearing Graduation Tams

5-Steps to Ensure You Wear Yours Correctly!

You’re probably thinking to yourself “Do I really need instructions for how to put on a hat?”.

Yes, we think you do!

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Despite the graduation tam being a mark of your level of higher education, there are a few things about tams you need to know (preferably before you go out and buy one). Getting to wear a graduation tam is not just an honor for college graduates, it’s specifically for those who went a step beyond in their educational attainment. Less than 13% of people in the US attain a level of education that requires they wear a graduation tam at their graduation ceremony.

Simply put, the graduation tam is for those who have graduated with a masters or doctoral degree. The fancier the degree the fancier the hat. This article contains information about how to put on your graduation tam, which kind of tam is right for you, and how to get one.

Graduation Tam Instructions

How do I wear my graduation tam?

  1. Take your tam out of its packaging and make sure it has the correct number of sides.
  2. Place the tam on your head. One of the corners should be facing forward bringing a point
    between your eyes.
  3. Adjust the top of the tam to have a slight tilt to the right. The top should have a slight puff to it.
  4. Rotate the tam so the bullion tassel is on the left side of your head.
  5. Look fabulous

What do you mean by “correct number of sides”?

We are glad you asked! Depending on the school they may or may not be strict when it comes to getting the correct graduation tam. They come with three different numbers of sides. You can get a 4, 6, or 8 sided graduation tam. What’s the difference you ask? The number of sides represents the level of education you have achieved. Typically a 4 sided graduation tam is for masters graduates. An 8 sided graduation tam is for doctorate graduates. And the 6 sided graduation tam is for those degrees that fall somewhere in between. A good example of a degree that falls somewhere in between is an Ed.S. Although if you talk to anyone who graduated with an EdS chances are they are going to buy themselves an 8 sided one (and chuck the one the school gave if it had less than 8 sides).

Where do I order my graduation tam?

Most schools have what they call college bookstores, or some other form of business where commerce takes place between the institution and the student. Many have online portals and provide you with the URL link to purchase your products online. Masters and Doctorate programs usually have the most flexibility when it comes to ordering your own graduation regalia. Especially when you attend a smaller school. Websites like have a great selection of quality graduation tams that may just be more affordable than what your school is offering.

I followed your link and found a lot more options than just number of sides… Why is that?

Traditionally a tam comes affixed with what’s called a bullion. Essentially it’s a metallic gold color and is permanently attached to the tam itself. Some schools do not like having a gold bullion stuck on their tams. Sometimes they prefer to put their own tassels on the cap instead that have either a different color or the addition of a year charm that denotes the graduating class the students are a part of. It’s always good to check with your school in advance to see if choose your own tassel is against the rules. Or you could be a rebel and order your own anyway. Most companies that offer them call them jumbo tassels though regular tassels will work just as well (and look just as great).

We hope you found this How-To Useful.

Keep an eye out as we will be posting more in the future!

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