Congratulations! Your graduation day is around the corner, and despite all the excitement in the air, there's still a lot to do. College graduation is a huge milestone that people achieve in their lifetime. If you've made it this far in your academic career, you should be very proud of yourself. In preparation for graduation, you'll want to order your cap and gown, as well as anything else you'd like to add to your graduation day attire, such as a graduation stole.

Graduation Day Attire

While on the surface it may seem as though all graduates are in uniform, they are only to a certain degree. If you take a closer look, you'll see that different students have their own variations of the traditional cap and gown graduation attire, which can be influenced based on their accomplishments and achievements during their academic career.

In addition to perhaps decorating a graduation cap with rhinestones or fabric paint, some students will have colorful ropes and a drape that looks like two neck ties on either side. Students have the honor of wearing these adornments to their gown either because they've earned it, or they just want to say "thank you."

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What Is a Graduation Stole?

A graduation stole is a "decorative vestment," which is worn by students who belong to an organization on campus in which they've had notable academic achievements or involvement. A graduation stole can be worn by someone who was the leader, or an active member of, a prestigious academic organization, or even those who were part of a sorority or fraternity while in college.

There are also stoles of gratitude. What is a stole of gratitude? It is a graduation stole worn to say "thank you" to a person or organization that has helped you in some way to finance your college education. In many cases, a stole of gratitude is dedicated to someone who provided you with a scholarship or money to help you pay for school. A graduation stole or stole of gratitude is also commonly referred to as a "sash."

The Difference Between Stoles and Cords

In addition to wearing a graduation stole, which represents academic achievement or dedication, some students may also be wearing graduation cords on top of their gown. Though graduation stoles and cords do share some similarities, they are a little bit different.

Unlike a graduation stole, a graduation cord looks like a braided rope, yet like a stole, it also gets worn around the shoulders. Graduation cords are worn by those who have earned high academic achievement, such as being at the top 5 percent or 10 percent of their class or perhaps graduating as Summa Cum Laude.

A graduation cord can represent recognition by an honors society or demonstrate membership of an organization or club. The main difference is that while a graduate can wear more than one graduation cord, they can only wear one graduation stole.

Where to Get a Graduation Stole?

Even though they've earned it, a graduation stole is usually not given to the student for free. Since students ultimately choose to wear a graduation stole, they will have to pay for it themselves. The same goes for graduation cords, though administration will likely check your transcripts to make sure you've earned whichever cords you'd want to buy.

A month or so before graduation, your college may have a graduation event where they sell graduation stoles or provide you with information about how to order one online. Remember that it is not necessary for you to wear a graduation stole or graduation cords. It is totally up to you.

How to Wear a Graduation Stole

To wear a graduation stole, put on your gown first and make sure it's fitted on you properly. It should not be hanging off your shoulders or hung too far forward or back. When your gown is situated correctly, take your graduation stole and hold it in front of you, with the symbols facing away from you. Lift the stole above your head and put it on your shoulders. Then, look in the mirror. Check that each side of the stole lays flat against your breast bone, and that it is even on both sides.

About the Author

Hana LaRock is a freelance content writer from New York, currently living in Mexico. She has spent the last 5 years traveling the world and living abroad and has lived in South Korea and Israel. Before becoming a writer, Hana worked as a teacher for several years in the U.S. and around the world. She has her teaching certification in Elementary Education and Special Education, as well as a TESOL certification. Hana spent a semester studying abroad at Tel Aviv University during her undergraduate years at the University of Hartford. She hopes to use her experience to help inform others. Please visit her website, www.hanalarockwriting.com, to learn more.