At the beginning of a commencement ceremony, students wear their tassels on the right side of their graduation cap. When the diploma is conferred upon the students, the tassels are moved to the left side.
Some schools have different protocols concerning the tassels. Tassels come in several colors, and these colors represent the type of degree students receive or the school colors. In the United States, black tassels represent higher degrees. Gold metallic tassels are reserved for students graduating from a doctoral degree program. In 1896, many of the higher institutions in the United States opted to chose an academic uniform dress code, complete with the graduation gown, cap and tassel.