We Will Tell You If You Should Wear Your Medals to Graduation

Graduation Medals

Graduation day is a solemn ceremony that honors all of the graduate’s academic work and gives them their diploma.

It is among the most joyous times any student will hope to achieve, and for many, this marks the next step in their careers.

It is also the perfect ceremony to award those outstanding students with their respective medals for their achievement.

Do you wear medals to graduation? Medals are awarded to outstanding students with a good record in academics, sports, leadership, and other extracurricular activities. They are worn by students who performed to the best of their abilities during the school year. 

Learn more about graduation rights and what you need to know before you enter the graduation hall.

Graduation Cords

Many schools have their own version of a cap and gown, and it must be preserved as the main regalia on graduation day.

At the end of every senior year, students who have completed all the courses needed and earned an endorsement can apply for an Academy cord.

This cord should be worn during the ceremony. Students have to be a member of the Academy where the major cord is from.

For instance, a student in STEM can apply only for a STEM major chord. A STEM student cannot get a cord from AHA even if they wish to.

Students usually are members of one academy and will be allowed to wear only one Academy cord, not two cords.

On the other hand, students who earn an additional approved cord, for instance, Trustee, top 10%, or Community Service, will be allowed to wear these on graduation day.

If you are looking for ways to earn a Community Service cord, you should complete 100 approved and documented hours of community service. You can also record different hours to be verified by the Community Service Sponsor.

Medals Consideration

If any campus organization or program wishes to have its members wear activity medals, they must secure a form for the graduation committee.

This kind of form will be reviewed by the committee and will be released before the ceremony. All medals and pins are not allowed at graduation unless you secure approval for it.

Academic Awards Night

During an Awards Night, many of you will be receiving awards, honors, and graduation-related regalia that you have worked so hard for over the course of your academic years.

As such, you have to wear them with pride and should be proud to receive your award and wear your graduation regalia. You have to keep the stoles, medals, and cords you receive during the ceremony for the entire evening.

You may notice that some of the people you know will be receiving multiple items and may have a question as to the best way to layer them.

This is a normal thing. When an adviser puts a cord, medal, or stole on you that is not layered correctly, you can fix it right away. All the medals, honor cords, and stoles should be layered properly with any V-shaped stole that you receive.

Here are some academic regalia and clothing guidelines that you should follow for your graduation day and academic awards night:

  1. Because of safety concerns and the formality of the occasion, you must wear appropriate footwear. Flip flops, clogs, high heels, and loose-fitting shoes are not recommended, so you should not wear them.

  2. It is also requested for men to wear slacks and long-sleeved shirts with a tie. For women, slacks with a blouse are fine, but they can also opt for a dress.

  3. Baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral caps and gowns are usually different from one another. Some educational institutions have their own caps and gowns, so you might want to check your regalia for accuracy and quality before going to the ceremony.

  4. Always steam your gown before the commencement exercise so it won’t have wrinkles from the packaging.

  5. The official uniforms of the armed forces are the only clothing apparel other than the official academic regalia that is allowed and permitted.


When dealing with ornamentation like pins, cords, ribbons, scarves, stoles, sashes, medallions, etc., representing honorary societies, nationalities are usually not permitted.

But this is subject to change with different requests from people from all walks of life.

Academic Honor Cords

Most undergraduate students graduating Summa Cum Laude will receive a blue and white cord, while those graduating Magna Cum Laude will receive a blue cord only.

Students who are graduating Cum Laude will receive a white cord only. All students will receive an email notification from the registrar’s office on how they can claim their honor cords in the usual process.

The levers are determined depending on the student’s cumulative GPA at the end of the semester. If students earn a higher level once final grades are received, they can contact the registrar to receive their personal appropriate honor cords retroactively.

Military Honor Cords

Many undergraduate and graduate students who have honorably served, who are still serving or commissioned to serve in the US military, will have an honor cord to wear.

The red, white, and blue cords will be given to the eligible graduating students, including associate degree recipients.

In the following group, these are active duty, reserve, and National Guard service members, veterans, and graduates who receive a commission through Reserve Officers Training Corps.


Medals are given to students who performed at their best within the school year. Not all students are allowed to wear their personal medals aside from the ones given by graduation officials.

Aside from that, it includes ornaments. For this reason, if you need to wear one because of personal matters, you must submit a form of exception.

Recent Posts