When it comes to properly executing single-line ceremonies, time and positioning are of the essence. From our experience, it is always best for graduates to enter the stage from the right-hand side (stage left). There are two reasons for this: the positioning of the tassel, and the positioning of the presenter.
Before receiving their diplomas, graduates often enter the stage with their tassel on the right-hand side of their cap. If graduates do not enter from stage left, the tassel faces outside toward the audience and blocks their view of the graduate’s face during the handshake. The same is true in cases where the graduate enters from stage left with the tassel hanging on the left.
The position of the president or other dignitary presenting the diplomas can have a significant impact on the speed and flow of the ceremony. When facing stage right, with diplomas on the right-hand side, the presenter must either twist their body to obtain the diploma with their left hand, or reach with their right hand and switch hands before the arrival of the recipient. Additional delays like these add time to the ceremony, and the difference is evident in larger ceremonies with more walkers. When facing stage left, however, the presenter’s left side remains closest to the diplomas. This makes it much easier for the presenter to take the diploma in their left hand and leave their right hand free for the handshake. From there, they may simply reach out for the next diploma.