College commencement is one of the biggest events in the academic world. Students receive the long-awaited reward for their hard work and dedication to getting their degrees, marking a vital stepping stone in a person's life.
And a big part of that ceremony is graduation regalia, which enhances the experience and builds ties with a tradition that spans many centuries. Today, it's hard to imagine any graduation without regalia and special graduation attire that symbolizes graduate status and has a strict set of rules depending on the type of diploma given.
Most of the academic regalia traditions in the United States were carried over from Europe. But they have also evolved in subtly different ways across different educational institutions, creating a set of rules that all graduates should familiarize themselves with so they can order the correct academic dress for the occasion. For instance, bachelors, masters, and doctoral regalia all have different qualities, with differences in the robes, hoods, headwear, and more.
Because of the various symbols, to get the full experience of graduation, finding the right set of graduation regalia is an essential element of the full graduation experience. Many institutions strictly enforce the rules regarding commencement regalia and will not allow a person to accept their degree without the proper attire.