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Dimensions of a Graduation Cap: Why it is Important?

When we think about graduation, the first thing that might pop into our heads is the image of a graduate tossing a cap high in the air. But have you ever thought about what the “dimensions of a graduation cap” mean? This article will help you understand all about graduation cap sizes and their unique features.

What is a Graduation Cap?

Firstly, let’s clarify what a graduation cap is. It is a special hat that students wear on their graduation day, representing their academic success. Often referred to as a “mortarboard” due to its similarity to a tool used by masons, this cap has a flat, square top and a tassel attached at the center.


Understanding the Dimensions of a Graduation Cap

The phrase “dimensions of a graduation cap” refers to the physical measurements of the cap. This includes both the size of the cap’s crown, which fits onto the head and the top part, the square board.

The dimensions of the cap’s crown usually range from 21 inches to 24 inches in circumference. It is designed to fit comfortably on the head. The size you need would depend on your head’s size, so it’s essential to measure your head correctly before ordering your cap.

The top part of the cap, or the “mortarboard,” is typically a 9-inch by 9-inch square. This is a standard size, and it stays the same regardless of the crown size.

Why are the Dimensions of a Graduation Cap Important?

The correct cap dimensions are vital for two reasons. First, comfort is key. If a cap is too big, it may fall off, especially when you’re moving around or bending to receive your diploma. If it’s too small, it will be uncomfortably tight and could ruin your graduation experience. Ref: click here

Secondly, the mortarboard has to be large enough to be visible. The tossing of the graduation cap is a beloved tradition, and you wouldn’t want your cap to be so small that it disappears into the crowd!

How to Measure for Your Graduation Cap

The most important dimension of a graduation cap is the crown size, which depends on your head size. Here’s how you can measure it:

  1. Get a Measuring Tape: These are usually found in sewing kits, and they are flexible, allowing for accurate measurements around curves.
  2. Measure Your Head: Wrap the tape around your head, approximately one inch above your ears, where the graduation cap will sit. Make sure the tape measure is level and covers the widest part of your head.
  3. Read the Measurement: Once you have your measurement, that will be the size of your cap.

When it’s time to order your cap, look for the size that matches your measurement. If your size falls between two standard sizes, it’s typically better to choose the larger size for comfort.

Interesting Facts About the Graduation Cap

Graduation caps are a significant part of academic tradition. They symbolize the hard work and determination of students who have reached a significant milestone in their education. But besides their main purpose, there are also numerous fascinating facts surrounding these caps. Let’s explore some of them!

A Rich History

The graduation cap, also known as a mortarboard due to its resemblance to a tool used by bricklayers, has a rich history. The tradition of wearing special headgear during graduation started with ancient scholars. They wore caps and robes as a way to stand out from others, indicating their educated status. The specific design of the graduation cap we know today has its origins in the 15th century at universities in Europe.

The Tassel Tradition

A key feature of the graduation cap is the tassel. But did you know that the tassel’s placement has a significant meaning? For high school and undergraduate students, the tassel is usually worn on the right side of the cap before the graduation ceremony begins. After students receive their diplomas and are officially declared graduates, they shift the tassel to the left side. This movement is known as the “turning of the tassel” and it symbolizes the student’s transition from candidate to graduate.

Cap Decorations

In recent years, it has become a popular tradition for graduates to decorate the tops of their caps. This practice allows graduates to express their personalities, highlight their academic journey, or even convey a social or political statement. Decorations range from inspirational happy quotes and beautiful artwork to the logo of the graduate’s future college or company.

More Than Just Black

While black is the most common color for graduation caps and gowns in the United States, it’s not the only one. In many other countries and at some American universities, the caps and gowns may be in the school’s colors. Some academic programs also use different colors to represent various fields of study.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

The size of the graduation cap is not a one-size-fits-all scenario. The cap’s crown size varies depending on the size of the graduate’s head. It’s essential to measure your head correctly to ensure your cap fits comfortably and securely on your big day.

The Cap Toss

The tradition of tossing the cap in the air at the end of the graduation ceremony is a relatively new tradition, starting in the 20th century. It symbolizes the graduates’ readiness to move on to the next phase of their lives. But beware – those corners are sharp! Make sure to look out when they start coming back down.

The graduation cap is indeed more than just a piece of clothing worn on the day of graduation. It’s a symbol of achievement, packed with traditions and interesting facts. Now, when you see graduates moving their tassels or tossing their caps high, you’ll know the stories behind these customs.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the dimensions of a graduation cap?

The crown of a graduation cap typically ranges from 21 inches to 24 inches in circumference to fit comfortably on a graduate’s head. The square board or ‘mortarboard’ on top of the cap is usually a 9-inch by 9-inch square.

2. How do I measure my head for a graduation cap?

Wrap a flexible measuring tape approximately one inch above your ears, covering the widest part of your head. The measurement you get is the size of your graduation cap.

3. Why is the cap’s size important?

The size of your cap is important for comfort and visibility. A cap that’s too big might fall off during the ceremony, while a cap that’s too small may be uncomfortable. Plus, you’ll want your cap to be visible during the traditional cap toss at the end of the ceremony!

4. What does moving the tassel on a graduation cap signify?

For high school and undergraduate students, the tassel is initially placed on the right side of the cap. Once they are declared graduates, they move the tassel to the left side, symbolizing their transition from candidate to graduate.

5. Can I decorate my graduation cap?

Yes, many graduates choose to personalize their caps with decorations. These might include inspirational quotes, unique designs, or symbols representing their future plans. However, it’s recommended to check with your school first to ensure this is permitted.

6. Are all graduation caps black?

While black is the most common color for graduation caps and gowns in the United States, caps and gowns may come in other colors depending on the school’s traditions or the graduate’s specific field of study.

7. Why do graduates toss their caps in the air at the end of the ceremony?

The tradition of tossing the cap in the air symbolizes the graduates’ readiness to move on to the next stage of their lives. It’s a celebration of their achievements and the exciting future that awaits them.


The dimensions of a graduation cap are a significant part of preparing for graduation day. Having a cap that fits correctly will ensure comfort and ease on this important day. So, whether you’re a student getting ready to graduate or just someone curious about the “dimensions of a graduation cap,” now you know what they mean and why they’re essential.

Nyla Rose

Nyla Rose stands at the intersection of beauty and fashion as both a seasoned hairstylist and an influential blogger. Starting her journey in the bustling salons of the city, Nyla honed her skills, specializing in creating transformative hairstyles that not only fit her clients' personalities but also set the pace for emerging trends. But her passion didn't stop at the salon chair.

Eager to share her insights with a broader audience, Nyla embarked on a blogging journey, shedding light on the ever-evolving worlds of beauty and fashion.

Through her blog, she provides a unique blend of practical style advice, in-depth product reviews, and trendspotting, all conveyed with a personal touch that her readers have come to love. Her dedication to the craft and her ability to weave together the realms of hairstyling and fashion writing have cemented her reputation as a trusted voice in both fields.

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