Ask Unclutterer: What to do with diplomas

Reader Kathy submitted the following to Ask Unclutterer:

What do people do with their diplomas? I have my high school, undergraduate, and graduate diplomas. They’re sitting in my closet because I don’t know what to do with them. I could frame them and put them in my cube, but no one else at work has done that. I wouldn’t enjoy looking at them framed at home, but I could hang them in the house.

Kathy, your question made me laugh because I have no idea how to answer it. All three of my diplomas sit in my office closet in a clear plastic sweater box labeled “THREE EXPENSIVE PIECES OF PAPER.” One is framed, one is in an envelope, and one is rolled up in a mailing tube.

Unless you’re a lawyer, medical doctor, psychologist, or professor, it’s usually socially awkward to hang your diploma in an office environment. That awkwardness increases tenfold if your desk is in a cubical. (Where would you even hang it?) The reality is that your coworkers and bosses want to know if a project is on time, is your work mistake free and sufficient in quality, is the client happy, and is more money coming in than going out — companies care about performance, not about where you went to school. Additionally, hanging diplomas up at home can be weird because you already know you graduated. At least in my experience, closets are the permanent storage location for the majority of diplomas in the world.

I want to open up the comments for suggestions because I sincerely have no good ideas for this one. Where do you store your diplomas? Does anyone frame and hang their high school diploma on the wall? Has anyone shredded theirs and tossed it in the trash? Where is your diploma and why? Do you have any creative solutions for Kathy?

Thank you, Kathy, for submitting your question for our Ask Unclutterer column. Sorry that I couldn’t personally be much help, but my hope is that one or more of our readers will have the perfect solution for your problem.

Do you have a question relating to organizing, cleaning, home and office projects, productivity, or any problems you think the Unclutterer team could help you solve? To submit your questions to Ask Unclutterer, go to our contact page and type your question in the content field. Please list the subject of your e-mail as “Ask Unclutterer.” If you feel comfortable sharing images of the spaces that trouble you, let us know about them. The more information we have about your specific issue, the better.

184 Comments for “Ask Unclutterer: What to do with diplomas”

  1. posted by Joanna on

    I sure don’t have any ideas on this one as mine is in a box unofficially labeled “I dunno”. This is a similar one to the yearbooks for me. Both I feel are unnecessary & kind of cluttering up my life but I can’t bring myself to scan & toss either. sigh

  2. posted by Kay on

    I just received another two certificates in my field. I laughed when they sent them to me in frames. Guess I’ll use the frames for something else.

    Get a slim binder that you really like — still cheaper than a frame. Put them in plastic sleeves. Call it your portfolio. A good place to also put old fashioned letters of reference if you have any of them hanging around.

    The only problem is my university degree isn’t 8.5″ x 11″. Ideas welcome. It has been in a file in my filing cabinets for years.

  3. posted by KateNonymous on

    Mine are in the presentation…uh…binders? folders? whatever it is that they came in, sitting on a bookshelf, as are Mr. Nonymous’s. I can’t imagine framing them to display at home–we both know where we went to school, after all! And I agree that for the vast majority of us, they don’t make sense as office wall art either (even for people who have offices). So I guess they’ll continue sit on the bookshelf. They don’t take up all that much space.

  4. posted by Lizz on

    I have a portfolio of my work that I update based on the job that I’m applying for. I also have a spare portfolio that I keep in a space bag (for preservation sake) that has certificates and such in it that I’ve kept mainly so I can show kids what mommy once did or add them to my interview portfolio. It doesn’t take up a lot of space and it’s just at the top of a closet with other things on top of it. You can get portfolios of various sizes at Craft Stores and art supply shops. Mine only cost about $10 and it’s an 11×17 with individual archival-quality pages. Hope that helps!

  5. posted by Beth on

    My High School diploma is in a box along with other memories from High School – prom tickets, clipping from newspapers when our football team was in the playoffs, cards from my graduation. Eventually, I would like to put them in a scrapbook! Actually, this is getting added to my “TO DO” list as I just got notice of my 25th reunion this week and it would be great to share with my friends.

    My college diploma and MBA are framed and hang in my home office. When I had my first job with a law firm, they encouraged us to frame our degrees and hang them in our offices. I carried the practice on to my next job.

    I actually feel quite proud hanging them in my home office. I worked very hard to put myself through college and graduate school.

    My feeling is, if you want to display them at work, you should go ahead and do it! People have pictures of their kids, grandkids, cars, and pets all over the place. If you are equally proud of your accomplishment, go ahead and show it!

    P.S. I would keep the HS diploma in the closet!!! That is pushing it a bit much!

  6. posted by Cecily on

    Consider donating them to the school itself or even the local or state historical society from where they came. I work in a local archive for a county in Colorado which also happens to be where I went to high school and we would love to have people’s diplomas (even if they aren’t “historic” yet). In time, these will become documentation of the times (diplomas do change over the years) and that way they are out of your house and someone else can take care of them.

  7. posted by joy on

    My husband and I have ours framed (his is expensively frames and mine cheaply) and hung in our office at home. These are only our college diplomas. I have no idea where my HS one is. We don’t have a significant degree such as law or medical but it, hopefully, will at some point become an inspiration for our children to go to college. We also have our marriage certificate hung up in our home. I figure it’s better than keeping it in a box. I guess you could store it in your safety deposit box at the bank if you have one. Some employers do request copies of your diploma (rarely but you never know) to show proof of graduation.

  8. posted by Mrs. G on

    My parents insisted on framing all my diplomas and displaying them in their house. I guess they get the bragging rights since they paid for all of them. Thanks, Mom and Dad.

  9. posted by Mum mum on

    Whatever you do, don’t get rid of your diploma. I gave mine to a parent I was not in close touch with, and 10 years after graduating, a huge (15k+ employees at the time) local employer required that I show them the diploma to fully quailfy. Eek! I got it back, but there was some drama.

    Now that was the only employer or authority out of 20 (maybe slightly fewer) to have asked for it in all my working years, but it would have been a crying shame (paperwork, $$$, time) if I had to try and get another from my alma mater.

  10. posted by Brad on

    I have my undergrad and grad diplomas framed and hung in my office at work. I actually work for my alma mater so I just have them there for a bit of school spirit. If I didn’t work there, I have no ides what I would do with them.

    Prior to kids when I had more room to myself at home, I had them hung in my home office. I think I originally hung them up because I thought, “I spent a lot of time and money earning these things, I better show them off!”

  11. posted by Bec on

    All of the certificates I ever received are in one A4 ringbinder that my mum gave me for that purpose when I was little. It spans right from a cake decorating competition I won at Brownies through High School awards right up to my Master degree, it’s a really nice visual round up of all of my fun (and not so fun) achievements πŸ™‚

  12. posted by KC on

    My mom has mine. They’re on “my shelf” at home along with my HS grad photos and other trinkets I treaured in the past. I think they’re kind of awkward (HS and BS from a no name school) but she is mighty proud of them and I love giving her that satisfaction. Don’t throw them out though! I just recently had to have them for a job I was applying for and am glad I held on to them and knew where they were.

  13. posted by Jacki Hollywood Brown on

    If you do decide to display the diplomas, use UV proof glass or display only a copy. Keep the original in an archival quality folder with other career building information.

    I had a client who had her diploma laminated to a board for display. It was pretty difficult (not to mention embarrassing) for her to take it to an interview for her potential employer to make a copy.

  14. posted by Ally on

    mine are framed and hanging in my home office… mostly because dependent on the location, it would be appropriate for me to hang my diplomas (I’m a librarian – at some colleges we’re staff, and at others we’re faculty – I would hang mine up where I am except my office doesn’t lock, and my boss doesn’t have his up – because then maybe folks would figure out that I’m not a student here) So when I graduated I made sure to go ahead and get the frames that could be purchased specifically for the school to make sure I had proper fitting frames later on if I needed them, and in the meantime they are more protected in the frame anyway.

    Now my highschool diploma? I have no clue where it is…

    Oh I did frame my certificate for being salutatorian of my college class as well – but that’s because of the fact that I’m both an overachiever and one who likes to have things framed “to protect” them at the same time =D

  15. posted by CHristine on

    My diplomas are in my closet in there original portfolios. Even though I don’t have a problem getting rid of most things, I would have a problem getting rid of those. If they take up a lot of space I like the idea that someone else mentioned about putting them in a slipcase or a binder. Or stick them with your birth certificate/marriage certificate, etc. At least they will be out of the way!

  16. posted by CHristine on

    *in their – ugh, I should have done some proof reading!

  17. posted by Laura on

    My husband and I have our diplomas framed and hanging in my home office, which also doubles as the corner of our living room. As the years go on, the diplomas actually have become a fun source of conversation when guests come over. It’s funny to think about what our pint sized selves wanted to be when we were on top of the world at 21!

  18. posted by Trevor on

    Like Beth above, I keep my high school diploma in a small plastic Sterilite tub/box along with my graduation gown/cap, cards, gift books, awards, medals, and all that other crap from high school that didn’t make it into the trash can after graduation.

  19. posted by frabjous on

    I used to have my doctoral diploma up in my home office, on the principle of “goddammit, I worked hard for that,” even though I’m now in another field. After my latest move, I didn’t feel a need for it anymore, and it’s in storage. My other diplomas are mercifully small and storeable.

    I haven’t ever needed them for a job interview, but I do know that my undergrad alma mater, which issues its diplomas entirely in Latin, also offers English translations for people in countries where it’s standard to have that diploma review.

  20. posted by Anita on

    My boyfriend and I both finished our undergrad last year. We’re both pretty sure that’s the only postsecondary degree we’ll get (at least for now), so he put his in an enormous frame and has been looking for a place to hang it ever since. Mine came in a nice holder, and it’s stored on a shelf along with other university stuff I decided to keep (textbooks, other diplomas and certificates etc).

    I don’t think there’s one “right answer” for how to display or store these, especially for people like us who loved our respective fields of study, but are moving away from working in those fields…

  21. posted by Harrken on

    I scan mine into my computer and shred the paper copies.

  22. posted by Marie on

    I’d hesitate to get rid of them entirely. There are some fields and positions that want a photocopy of your diploma(s) during the hiring process. I’ve had spouses and S.O.s that have needed to dig out their diploma for a copy.

    I keep ours in a safe, labeled box for official documents. If I were to insist on hanging them on the wall, THAT would be clutter. I toss random certificates unless they were particularly meaningful to me.

  23. posted by Dorothy on

    If an employer asked for proof of my degree, I’d provide a transcript, not the fancy-schmancy certificate which can easily be forged.

    I say toss ’em.

    The best display of diplomas I ever saw was in the home of a professor friend. His degrees were numerous and from prestigious universities. They were elegantly framed and proudly displayed . . . in the bathroom.

  24. posted by Alicia on

    I agree about the awkwardness of hanging your diploma in your office. I guess the answer would depend on how often you will need to produce documental proof of the education you received. For example, I work in academia in a country outside the US in which, every time I submit my rΓ©sumΓ© for a job or grant application, I’m expected to provide copies of all my diplomas and certificates, to prove that everything I put in my CV is true (I’m always amazed by Erin’s suggestions of scanning and shredding – I would be in great trouble if I did that!) So everything goes into a three-ring binder with plastic sheet protectors, organised chronologically for easy access and reference. The larger diplomas are photocopied down to letter size, the copies go into the binder and the originals go into a plastic mailing tube in a drawer with other important documents, in case I’m ever asked to produce the original, which may also be the case. If you work in a culture in which you are not required to produce your diploma very often (or at all!), I would suggest storing it in the “Documents I may never need, but I paid money for them and it would be too much hassle to obtain another original if I ever needed it” category. That’s where I keep my birth certificate.

  25. posted by Jessica on

    My high school diploma is in a box with high school mementos, and my parents had my husband’s and my college diplomas framed together with a drawing of our college. It’s currently on display in our office.

    I’ve been asked for a copy of my college diploma twice by employers who for some reason prefer that to my transcripts. Go figure.

  26. posted by Owengirl79 on

    I actually had to provide a copy of my college degree for a job once so I would advise not getting rid of them. File them with your most important papers just in case…that seems to be the least cluttery.

  27. posted by jbeany on

    During my spring sort, I yanked mine out of the fat, useless leatherette binder, and dropped the single piece of paper into my fire-proof paper safe. I can’t imagine ever hanging it – anywhere. But then, I have an English degree, and who wants to admit that unless you actually become an English professor?

  28. posted by Jeri Dansky on

    I’m with Harrken – I scanned mine and shredded the original. I got my diploma many years ago, I’m self-employed, and I can’t think of any reason I’d ever need it again.

  29. posted by Tawnya on

    Mine are hung in my house, but they are behind a door (so you only see them when the door is closed)…that way they are safe in frames, but not “in your face.” I also have scanned copies in my computer for any employer that might need a copy… πŸ™‚

  30. posted by Erin on

    When I graduated from the University of Michigan my mother was adamant that I have my diploma nicely framed. When I got my MBA I did the same. My “plan” is that they will hang in my home office–when it is uncluttered ;^)

    Right now–in some box that needs to be sorted. I see another project to add to my list.

  31. posted by morfydd on

    My original college diploma got lost, and for fifteen years I ignored my mom asking for a copy.

    Then my company transferred me to Germany. The German government required a copy of my diploma (and no, they would not have accepted a transcript) to issue me a work visa.

    So my mom has the official copy framed on her wall and I can get photocopies whenever an employer needs one.

  32. posted by DemMom on

    Mine hangs in my office, but it’s a little awkward because I only work there about once a week (other days at home or on the road), and hardly anyone sees it. My husband’s hangs in MY home office. They’re both framed and HUGE. A friend makes fun of our college, because the diplomas are so large. His wife (a fellow grad of our college) used to have her’s hanging in the dining room. He put a stop to that. They are large, expensively framed, awkward things we’ve been carting around for years (and years). Never thought too much about it before though.

  33. posted by gypsy packer on

    2Jeri–identity theft. Having the original, coffee stains and all, is a big help. Scans are great to have, and I wish I’d owned a scanner when my original birth certificate was stolen from my house by the folks who couldn’t find the carefully hidden house deed.
    Best thing to do is to keep a scanned identity file on disk along with any employee awards, performance reports, stubs of sales bonus checks for productivity evidence, etc. This should include diplomas, degrees, transcripts, drivers licenses past and present, and a few family group photos, just in case.

  34. posted by Sue on

    Many public & private schools require that their teachers display their teaching degrees in their classrooms. All of them. HS, BA/BS, MA/MS, PhD, etc.

  35. posted by Rue on

    I personally framed my college diploma and both of the ones my husband has and hung them in our office at home. I left the high school ones in their little covers and stuffed them in a drawer with all our other things like car records, medical records, etc.

    If they aren’t worth framing to you and you wouldn’t enjoy seeing them, then I would simply put them in an archival box with other things you want to keep but don’t want to display (like extra family photos or something) and store them. I mean, you worked hard for that diploma – to not even keep it doesn’t seem right.

  36. posted by Colby on

    My husband and father-in-law both got their undergraduate degrees from the same university. Shortly after my husband graduated his father died. He had both of their diplomas framed in the same frame and gave it to his mother. We inherited it when his mother died and it now hangs in our home office. Mine are in a file cabinet.

  37. posted by bklynchic on

    I have mine framed (cheaply, don’t buy the “official” frames from the Bookstore) and hanging in my closet (I’m lucky enough to have walk-in. I highly recommend putting them somewhere in your home that no one will see but you: bathroom, basement, garage, whatever. It’s nice having them up.

  38. posted by Quatrefoil on

    My degrees are important legal documents that I’ve been asked to provide on several occasions – when I started in a new job, for example. So they live with the other important legal documents like by birth certificate, passports, car registration and insurance papers, in a safe place where I can grab them quickly if I need to evacuate. They’re not irreplaceable but it would be a pain to have to replace them.

  39. posted by CJ on

    I have my college diploma in a frame in my home office. I paid for it (or will, when the student loans are paid off) and did the work to get it, so I feel like I should display it proudly. I plan on doing the same with my grad school diploma. My high school diploma, however, I think is shoved in my yearbook in a box of memories in the closet.

  40. posted by Angela on

    Do NOT throw away your diploma! My grandmother graduated from 8th grade in 1927 (Duval County Colored School in Jacksonville, Fl). When she moved into a retirement home, I found the diploma, unrolled it and framed it. It hangs in my hallway, and EVERYBODY gets a kick out of it- the year, the colored school, the amazing calligraphy. What seems like just a piece of paper to you is a family heirloom that needs to be preserved.

  41. posted by Abby on

    I would say keep them in a file folder or a box with treasured memories or a scrapbook. I have mine in a folder along with all of our other important documents, because I’ve had jobs that wanted both my hs and college certificates for copies, and I also have a copy or two of my transcript. I probably wouldn’t frame them unless my job needed proof of my schooling, but right after college, my husband and I both had ours hanging in our living room, because it was a sense of pride that we finished college. That only lasted a year, then we moved and put them away.

  42. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Sue — I worked in a school that required it, but I taught in three different classrooms that year. I asked my department chair if I was supposed to carry them with me, like in a backpack. She laughed. I never displayed them.

  43. posted by Liz on

    I put my diplomas at the ends of my scrapbooks for those years. I have one book for HS and one book for undergrad so it made a nice ending to each book. Since they are thicker than normal paper (if you have a holder like I do) I just put in spacer blocks in the adjustable scrapbook bindings and made a pocket to attach to the inside back cover. I know exactly where they are but I don’t have to stare at them everyday!

  44. posted by Torea on

    I am a pilot by profession and we have a lot of certificates we acquire as we go though more and more training. I purchased an artists portfolio that has plastic pockets in which to place 8.5×11 pages in on both sides of a “page”. This is where I have stored originals after I have made a scanned image. The scanned images are the ones used the most when I need to provide copies for insurance purposes. I have a separate “portfolio” for my formal education as well that has my high school and college diplomas.

    On a side note, I found it somewhat amusing that the workspace of the week has two certificates framed and hanging on the wall πŸ™‚

  45. posted by Mallory on

    I have my bachelor’s framed and hanging above my computer desk at home. Once I get my master’s & PhD, they’ll go in my office, but until then, they’ll stay at home. It’s a reminder for me because I had to overcome medical problems and persevere to get that diploma. Whenever I feel like quitting, I remember that I stuck it out and to keep trying.

  46. posted by HappyDogs on

    My diploma cost me $45K. That doesn’t sound like much today, but I graduated in 1983. I wouldn’t throw $45,000 in the garbage! I value my diploma and the work and sacrifice it took to get it. I think that value adds to my life. So, I keep my diplomas and awards. I don’t have to display them to value them. I really think some things are too important to be tossed, and this is one of those things.

  47. posted by fatstupidamerican on

    I just use a binder with a few of those slide in clear sheet jacket things that go into three ring binders. I have both of them in there along with a few other important documents. That is put into a small safe.

  48. posted by Noah on

    I work in a profession that seems to produce certificates for everything you attend. I’ve kept the majority of those in a binder that also holds my high school diploma and transcripts, and my undergrad and graduate transcripts. My undergrad and graduate diplomas are too big to fit into a binder so they are framed and sit in a closet.

    I can’t imagine hanging them up in my office, it would feel too showy. I’ve also never been asked for them by an employer. Transcripts for my first job, after that no one has even asked. I assume the background check that most employers do verifies that I graduated. I’ve considered scanning and shredding the diplomas many times, but can never do it.

  49. posted by [email protected]'er All About It on

    Good question. Perhaps this is pompous, but my husband and I have ours framed in our home office. We both met in college and he went on to get his PhD, so a whole lotta work went into those diplomas and they mean a great deal to us. HS diplomas? They are boxed up with the rest of my HS memorabilia that I only look at once in a blue moon. Haha!

  50. posted by Cheryl on

    I put mine in a nice frame and gave it to my parents. I’m the first kid to graduate from college and, well, they paid for it. They are very proud of me and they get more enjoyment out of it than I probably would.

  51. posted by Jean on

    I worked like a horse to pay my way and get my B.A. and M.A. at ages 34 and 50, respectively. My diplomas are expensively framed and hanging at home. They mean a lot to me. They were long despaired of.

  52. posted by Elaine on

    When I was a kid, my family used the walls lining the steps to the basement for all sorts of random awards we received, some of which were hilarious. No one ever saw them but us. My diplomas are now behind the door to my office, which is usually open.

    My ex-husband was an attorney expected to maintain a “wall of fame.” He had with his diplomas, bar admittance certificates, etc. all framed to match and somehow wound up with an extra frame, into which he placed his 6th grade math championship award as a subversive gesture. No one ever noticed.

  53. posted by Courtney on

    Not even sure where my high school diploma is. I think my mom has it.

    My college and law school diplomas are both framed and hang on the wall in my home office. My husband did the same. As someone above stated, I worked pretty hard for those and I like seeing them. I also like having them hung up as they hopefully will inspire my kids to seek advanced degrees.

  54. posted by ars22 on

    I’m an accountant – a CPA. My first employer, a CPA firm, expected us all to have our diplomas and CPA certificate framed and hanging in our office. I had my undergraduate, masters and cpa certificate framed in matching frames for that job. When I left public accounting, I went to a Fortune 500 Company where all the CPAs put their credentials on the wall. Since then, I’ve worked at smaller companies and the framed documents would be out of place. Since they are framed, I put them in my home office, but on hooks that were already in the wall, so they are hung, but look awkward! One of my to-dos is to hang a bunch of pictures in the room, and the diplomas will go on the wall behind the door (but hung properly in some kind of order!)

  55. posted by Adele on

    I have a friend with a beautiful row house who stores all the kitsch in a guest 1/2 bathroom off the dining room. She and her husband have all their college and medical degrees hanging in there, along with a big bust of Elvis (sitting on the back of the toilet!) and various Elvis paraphernalia they’ve been given over the years. It’s hilarious! Someday I plan to do the same.

  56. posted by Amanda N on

    I have both mine and my husband’s diploma framed and hanging in our home office. (I am a stay at home mom now so it makes me smile to call it an office.) I also framed the photo taken of each of us on graduation day. I might feel funny about that except that we married young and then worked our butts off going to and finishing school. That piece of paper represents a lot of sacrifice and hard work. We paid for our educations ourselves and we worked all the way through. We took turns going to school. Our diplomas shout to us that we did it! Plus, after paying off our student loans this year, we now own everything in our head, as my husband likes to say.
    So do whatever feels right to you but know that for anybody, finishing college is an accomplishment.

  57. posted by Jude on

    I scanned mine and filed them. When I have a job, I sometimes hang them up because I work in education.

  58. posted by Anita on

    I haven’t framed either my hs or college diplomas, but I found my Dad’s (unframed) PhD more than 25 years after he’d earned it. I framed it as a father’s day gift, and he has it hanging in the house, it’s a great conversation piece and reminder (to me!) of a huge accomplishment.

  59. posted by M on

    Keep them. The folder or portfolio idea is great. I was very surprised recently when applying for a certificate that I had to submit a copy of my diploma.

  60. posted by WilliamB on

    My post-HS degrees/certificates/etc are framed and hanging on my “brag wall” at home, along with other brag-worthy items (such as a piece of the Hungarian Barbed Wire). Sometimes it’s appropriate to hang one/some at work, sometimes not. I’ve never been asked to produce a diploma as verification but IME large employers want transcripts and/or certificate verification.

    If I didn’t have a brag wall I’d put my papers in an acid-free portfolio.

    @Elaine: I love that subversive gesture! What a pity no one noticed.

  61. posted by Heather on

    I have a PhD and my husband has a PharmD. We have our diplomas framed and hanging in our office. My Mom bought us the frames as graduation presents and they look nice. We also display our college diplomas together in one frame. We met in college and graduated together so they have special meaning to us. We have our high school diplomas in the original folders, but don’t display those. I keep those on the bookshelf with my yearbooks.

  62. posted by infmom on

    My high school diploma, still in its fake black leather folder, is put away in a box. It’s not in the best of shape because at some point it came in contact with cat pee (while it was in storage at my parents’ house). I keep thinking maybe I’ll frame it and hang it on the wall, because it’s from Beatrice, Nebraska, and you NEVER see anyone from there outside the confines of the state. πŸ™‚

    My college diploma is also in a box. I don’t know what I’ll do with that. I’m not particularly proud of having partied through school, wasted my grandfather’s money and barely graduating.

    My stepmother gave my daughter my dad’s Ph.D. diploma from Columbia when my daughter entered the Ph.D. program at USC. That one’s proudly hanging on the wall here, waiting for my daughter to come claim it and hang on the wall in her new home.

    The only other certificate we have on the wall in the office is my husband’s Award of Merit from the Boy Scouts, of which he is justifiably proud.

  63. posted by Jannarama on

    My high school and college diplomas are in binders provided by the schools. I left them in the binders and they are shelved next to the yearbooks on my bookshelf.

    my ex hubby, who spent 20 years in the Army, created an ‘I Love Me” book. It’s a 3 ring binder with clear sheet protectors that has sections with regards to promotions, re-enlistments, certificates of training, certificiates of appreciation, grades from the coursebooks he completed, etc. Each time he’d get an official form, it would go into that binder.

    When it came time to review his records for the E-7 board, he had all his paperwork squared away, and was able to provide proof that yes, he DID earn that medal/ribbon and the DD form that explained it.

  64. posted by infmom on

    On a related note, I have a bunch of trophies my kids won for academic achievements of various kinds over the years. I have no idea what to do with those, either. I don’t think they’d be useful or valuable to anyone else.

  65. posted by Awurrlu on

    I was just thinking about this! Even though I’m in academia, none of my colleagues display their degrees. (Maybe we should!)

    Mine are at home in my “nostalgia box” – the one box I have that contains those things that I want to keep but have no need to display. They live in there along with a few childhood stuffed animals and a handful of other, small, sentimental tchotchkes. Right now they’re in the original padded folders, but if I run out of room, they’ll be put in a plain envelope with a piece of cardboard to keep them from getting bent. I love the idea of hanging them behind the door in my office, though!

  66. posted by Nancy on

    I caution against destroying the originals. You cannot get another. And some employers (like the federal government) can ask you to produce your ACTUAL diploma.

    If you ever have to get a security clearance, odds are they will want to see that original piece of paper.

    My husband is working for a non-governmental entity, but he has to have clearance from the Dept. of Homeland Security. They wanted to see his actual diploma.

    File them in with other important papers. They take up very little room and if you need to produce it, you’ve got it.

  67. posted by MicTheAg on

    I suppose it rather depends on your profession. One of my professors -I’m working on my master’s now- liked to talk about “learned professions”. Doctors, engineers, architects, lawyers, and some others have a lot of specialized training that is ultimately used to serve and protect the public. For them, its important for clients and visitors to see some proof of their credentials, so they invariably have their diplomas displayed prominently.

    On the other hand if your degree is in business or nearly any of the liberal arts, most people will give you the benefit of the doubt. What you do with your piece of parchment should be determined by the demands of your personal pride. If your education is a significant accomplishment in your family or community, then by all means, get a gilded frame for that sucker. If its no big deal to you, make a cardboard sleeve and stick it on a shelf. Or get rid of it, you can get another from your college if the need arises.

    My own view is governed by what my grandfather used to say: “Wear your intelligence like a pocket watch.” When you need it, take it out and use it, but when your done, put it back away. My high-school diploma will stay in its folder at the back of a file cabinet until the cabinet gets cleared out. My engineering degrees can stay wrapped up on a shelf until I have an office. Anything more just feels pretentious.

  68. posted by danielle on

    When I had a roommate, we both had our undergrad diplomas framed and hung them over our bedroom doors, like really expensive name plates. Still makes me laugh thinking about it.

  69. posted by Vanessa H. on

    I bought two inexpensive frames at a craft store and put my BA and MA on the corner wall near my desk at home. It’s inspirational to work on something and see them, because it makes me feel like I know for sure I can do the work!

  70. posted by Claire on

    My husband’s college diploma has a typo in it. The date, in very beautiful calligraphy, says he graduated in 1902 ~ he graduated in 1992. It was such an obvious mistake that he never had it fixed. We framed his along with mine and had them hanging on the wall for years. We’d ask our friends to see if they could find the mistake and everyone would get a laugh when they did. Once we had kids the office turned into a bedroom and the diplomas are now under our bed. I think we’ll probably put them up again some day just for fun.

  71. posted by Kathryn Fenner on

    I am a lawyer, and admitted in three states, so I have quite a load of framed certificates. To ease display in my office, I put up those skinny ledge shelves and propped the many frames randomly against the wall. Got lots of compliments.

    Otherwise, my husband, a professor and Harvard grad, has no idea where his diplomas even are…..

  72. posted by Mike on

    Framed on the wall in the den. They’re out of the way, they add to the decor, and they are occasional conversation pieces. That’s enough in my opinion to justify having framed them up for display. Just my undergrad and J.D., though, and my wife’s undergrad. High school diplomas are long gone, and I’m not sure I’d display them even if I had them.

  73. posted by empty on

    I’m a professor and none of my colleagues have their degrees on the wall, nor do I. I would be really surprised if I walked into someone’s office and they had framed diplomas on the wall. It just seems… weird. We all have doctorates, so it’s not like it’s some kind of distinctive achievement. It’s embarrassing enough to have the alphabet soup on my office name plate–it’s department policy, but I always think it makes us look insecure.

    Anyway, I keep all professional paperwork like this in my office file drawer, just in case it’s requested for any personnel action. I was required to have university transcripts sent by the institutions themselves when I was hired, so my institution already knows I’m legit, but you never know.

    By the by, if you’ve scanned and shredded your original diploma and for some reason want another original paper copy, the institution will reissue one (for a fee). The University of California had a spate of requests for reissued diplomas when Arnold became governor, because UC diplomas are signed by the current governor when they’re printed, and at the time people liked the idea of having a diploma signed by a movie star.

  74. posted by Stephanie on

    I always thought it would be funny to laminate them and use them as placemats. My husband and I went to the same high school and college so we have a set of four. Now we have two kids so if I did this we would have a “family set.” I haven’t done it though since I’m worried we’ll need them for “proof” for a job or something someday. I figure spaghetti stains might not be so good then. So, like so many people, they sit in their folders, on a shelf…next to the yearbooks!

  75. posted by Kyle on

    I keep my high school diploma in a safe deposit box at my credit union. That way it’s out of the way but safe should I ever need to use it.

    When I graduate college I will probably display the diploma in my home. I worked really hard for it and so why not show that I’m proud of my work? I already various certificates on my walls, mostly from college and the rest are in a three-ring binder, but, I also have them all in the same area and still have roommates so our walls are quite collaged as is. The fact is that I work in a field where you don’t have an office, can travel a lot, and where people care more about your resume, so the diploma is really more for me to remember what I’ve accomplished so far than to show my credentials to anyone. I don’t think it’s pompous in the least to have your diploma framed and displayed.

    Depending on the decor, I think it’s cool to have a small “accomplishment wall” that has everything that you’ve done that means something. My wall has certificates, fliers from events I’ve planned, thank you cards, programs–all fit together in a modern, geometrically interesting collage. Working diplomas into a wall with other photos or important pieces of paper can be a cool way to spice up just another plain wall.

  76. posted by Nicole on

    My husband and I display our college and graduate degrees on the wall of our home office, which is a corner of our finished basement. True, we are proud of our accomplishments, but it’s also a safe way to store these documents and more attractive than empty wall space. My state issued teaching license and other certificate and awards I’ve collected along the way are stored in my filing cabinet.

  77. posted by Pammyfay on

    I earned those diplomas for myself, not to impress others, so I framed them and find my own pride in them. They’re at home, but not on the main floor so they scream “I am a college graduate!” There’s nothing wrong with putting them on the wall, just as there’s nothing wrong with having family photos around in what some people call “public” spaces of the house. Why must everyone’s home be stripped of identity?

  78. posted by Lindsay on

    Frame that shit, then ask for a raise! Frame every damn certificate you get, then ask for a raise! ASK FOR A RAISE!



  79. posted by Lindsay on

    I should state that clients do enter my office, and I am not cheap. For me, displaying diplomas and certificates does have something to do with the calculus of what I’m paid. I think if I worked in an office where clients did not enter my office, I’d still want to display these things so when higher-ups and coworkers come buy, they can see what I am qualified to do. But I work in a rather loose office with a lot of jack-of-all-trades so in a more structured, bureaucratic environment that might not be important.

  80. posted by Karabill on

    We frame all certifcates and diplomas….even those from Nursery School, First haircut etc. Put them right along the college diplomas. Makes for a fun display!

    Lined up along the staircase, great conversation piece.

  81. posted by Paul on

    I had a history professor in college who had his PhD certificate framed and hung over the toilet in the bathroom. It also had broken glass and a few drops of blood on it from when the glass was broken while he was framing it. It all seemed quite appropriate and amusing.

    I never thought about displaying my diplomas. I’d still like to frame my commissioning and retirement certificates from the Navy. Of course I retired 15 years ago and it hasn’t happened yet……

  82. posted by Sally A on

    I keep family history documents of all kinds in archival plastic sleeves in 3-ring binders (as well as tracking information in a geneology computer program). To me, diplomas are just another item that documents the history of someone’s life – so I include them along with the birth certificates, marriage certificates, military papers, etc. that I have on various family members.

    The question then becomes how much of this stuff do you want to collect – I try to be selective so I don’t have every band certficate and minor award my kids got over the years. But a selected few are nice.

    If the diploma is oversize, you could make a recduced photocopy and keep that, or fold it, or scan it. Decide whether you are interested in the artifact itself, or just the data it contains. I agree that beautiful old documents, such as my grandmother’s baptismal certificate, can be great pieces of art.

    If you do store the originals, remember to store them correctly, so they will be preserved and not harmed by your storage method.

    Here’s a good resource:

  83. posted by Jenni on

    I just graduated a few years ago, and I like my diploma. The writing is in latin and in beautiful calligraphy. I will probably frame it. If I didn’t want it for some reason, I like Cecily’s idea of donating it.

    As for yearbooks, they are sort of like instant scrapbooks in my opinion, and sometimes worth keeping. I loved looking at my mom’s when I was a kid. Funny, I think my mom would actually be slightly annoyed if I didn’t leave mine at my parents house. She is a second grade teacher, and many of her former students are in my HS yearbooks. Almost every time I’m home, she asks me to look up someone in the yearbook because she has heard news from a former student, so they are much more used there. Anyways, I usually just consult facebook for the friends I still keep in touch with.

  84. posted by dan on

    So is it a coincidence that the very next post (Workspace of the Week) has two diplomas hanging up? The photo on Flickr even tells you what type they are.

  85. posted by Jen on

    I framed my masters’ degree diploma and hung it in my home office, because I worked my butt off for that degree while also working a fulltime job and doing freelance work on the side. I agree it’s a little weird but I use it to remind myself of a time when I worked my way through a lot of challenges and met a goal. I have absolutely no idea where my high school or undergrad diplomas are though- probably in a box someplace.

  86. posted by Sarah on

    Mine lives in the leather-ish folder it came in, propped on the bookshelf by my desk. I’ve had to provide it twice to employers. Of course, I went to a Jesuit university, so the whole thing is in Latin. Watching the looks on the HR people’s faces when they realize that is worth keeping it around.

  87. posted by djk on

    I thought I had tossed my university diploma, and was very pleased to find it filed away in some dark corner of my filing cabinet, as it was required for my current job. I had to give them a photocopy, but show the original. I live in Austria and EVERY certificate matters. I think they would want my HS certificate if I had it. Although that seems weird to me, as one simply cannot get a university diploma without that prior HS diploma, so the uni one makes the HS one completely redundant.

  88. posted by Kalani on

    My high school diploma is in the little book-like cover that it came in, on my library shelves. My yearbooks are, too. My college diploma, ironically, never arrived because of a mailing address mix-up at the college. My friends were concerned about it and tried to convince me to track it down, but it is several years later and has no doubt been destroyed by now. I laugh because it’s one less thing I have to deal with.

  89. posted by M. Eden on

    My mother had mine framed, and so far it’s been hanging in my walk in closet. If my girlfriend would have her’s framed then I would like to hang them both together in the living room or entry-way, but I would feel weird about hanging just mine.

  90. posted by Sarah on

    Diplomas are something you should keep. My husband and I have our framed in our home office. Even if you don’t appreciate your diplomas now, they are an important piece of family history. I want my children to grow up seeing their parents’ diplomas hung with honor, and I look forward to showing my grandchildren them some day.

  91. posted by Mary Beth on

    My bachelor’s and master’s diplomas are in my office. I work at a university and it’s often done here. And they are framed, thanks to family who gave me gifts certificates to have it done upon graduation.

    My mom always hung her two over the clothes washer in our laundry room when I was growing up. πŸ™‚

  92. posted by Susannah on

    Another vote for the bathroom. A good friend and her husband have all their diplomas (large collection!) in the powder room. I think it’s hilarious. Makes me wish I had a half-bath where I could safely hang mine.

  93. posted by chacha1 on

    I don’t even know for sure where my high school and undergrad diplomas are … probably with my moldering scrapbooks. The M.A. diploma (from 1995) is still rolled up in its mailing tube. If I ever framed it, I suspect it would be because I had a sadly bare wall, most likely in a bathroom. Or a henhouse.

  94. posted by Margaret on

    I also have been asked for a copy of my college diplomas by employers.

    Schools will replace diplomas but it can be expensive.

    I also suggest that when you graduate, go ahead and get a few official copies of your transcript with the seal and signature sealed in envelopes. It is easier to request them in person and if you need a copy ten years later it certainly won’t be cheaper.

    Occasionally a high school or even college or university closes or merges or there is a disaster or other problem and records are destroyed forever. If that were to happen, having a copy of your diploma and transcript would be very useful.

    I would even argue that you should keep them in a safe deposit box or fire-proof records box if you keep any papers in a safe place.

  95. posted by Nana on

    My great-aunt was moving (after 50 years) and I went to help…after she’d thrown away Stuff no one would want (like her father’s medical school diploma, 1880 or so). Deprived my cousin of the ability to display four generations of med school diplomas.

    I found my grandparents’ Ketubah (wedding contract), 1911, and framed it for my uncle…who said, ‘well, now I have an answer for any who call me a no-good bastard!’

  96. posted by Carrie on

    mine are sitting on the bottom shelf of my bookcase along with some yearbooks and some books and notes i wanted to keep from college

  97. posted by Sharon on

    My Grandfather was one of the first in his family to graduate from a high school. None of the previous generations had made it that far in school. I have his 1927 HUGE high school diploma, a picture of his h.s. class (in their bobbed hair and flapper style dresses) and his H.S. graduation announcement. It listed their colors (pink & green) and flower (pink roses). So I had a big shadow box frame made that includes his original diploma, original announcement, copy of the photo and I had a “faded” silk pink rose tucked in too. He went on to attend college but got married and had a family and was a Baptist preacher and never finished his college. His children, the next generation, all went to college. His H.S. diploma is very decorative. It’s not the mass produced looking forms we get today. So I think it’s pretty decorative and means a lot to the family. As for my own, I have my h.s. diploma stored but I had our college diplomas framed together and have them in our home office.

  98. posted by Mark on

    Ours are nicely framed and hang at home in the room we use as an office/library. Hey, we worked hard for them and like to see them! πŸ™‚

  99. posted by Lori Paximadis on

    Count me in with those who have been asked to provide copies to employers and thus would counsel against throwing them away. Fortunately, mine fit nicely in a file folder and live in the filing cabinet. I’ve never understood the desire to frame it and hang it on the wall.

  100. posted by julia on

    I have mine – also a “no name” college which has in fact closed, so I keep it sort of in memory of something that has disappeared.

    Don’t care about the one from HS although I finally brought it home from Mom’s.

  101. posted by Ralph F on

    My college diploma — from Loyola University in New Orleans — came in a nice bi-fold leather thing; it’s sitting on top of my bookcase. One side is the diploma and the other is a pretty nice drawing of the iconic Loyola U. building that faces St. Charles Avenue.

    My HS one is, I dunno. I’m thinking it may be in a file in the cabinet (EDU, History) but I might have lost it to Katrina.

    Since the college one supplants the HS one, per se, I don’t see a need to even know where it is.

    As far as keeping them, use your trusty ScanSnap (or other scanner, or even digital camera) to take a takes-up-no-room digital image of each, file them away on your computer, and forget about them if they don’t come up. I had to show my college diploma for my first out-of-college job and that was it.

  102. posted by CLA on

    Mine are stored as they were delivered to me (in presentation folders and a mailing tube) but my husband’s parents had his framed to match his first grade report card, which was all A’s. πŸ™‚ We always hang them all together in his home office, otherwise known as the Man Cave. Over the liquor cabinet. πŸ™‚

  103. posted by catherine on

    I treat them the same as my birth certificate & passport – they are necessary legal documents of no interest to anyone else so they are filed them under “Important papers” and ignored.

  104. posted by Tracy on

    When I got my Master’s, I had all of our diplomas framed in nice, matching frames. They were hung together in our old house. Since moving, they are stacked on a shelf.

    Now that we are homeschooling our daughter, I think I will hang them in our “school room”. And add a space for her certificates, awards and someday her diplomas.

  105. posted by Julia on

    This is a funny one!
    How about the bookshelf? My high school diploma and two community college degrees came in nice little cases that fit nicely on the bookshelf.
    My bachelor’s degree is another story. By the time I earned it, I was so sick of moving my other degrees from a filing cabinet to a closet, to a bookshelf, and back to the filing cabinet, that I never bothered to pick it up.
    Of all the degrees I have this one is most expensive and most important, but that’s the one I don’t have a copy of.

  106. posted by Eduardo Gonzalez Loumiet on

    I think one should be proud of the diploma that was earned through hard work and dedication towards finishing a goal, like graduation, professional cert etc. I hang mine up in my home office. I also have scanned all of my diplomas and certs in case a prospective employer is interested in reviewing.

    Ralph F: I also graduated from Loyola, New Orleans. Small world.

  107. posted by Karen on

    @Kay – maybe you could make a good 8.5×11 color copy of the larger diploma and file away the original, so it will fit in your portfolio.

    I don’t know where any of mine are, but I would like to hang my master’s degree – even bought a fancy frame for it but never put it up!

    I think the ideas of binders, hanging them in a walk-in closet, and even the placemats are good ones! Whatever you do, don’t be like me and not know where they are at all. It’s very little effort to keep them, even in your safe deposit box or something. I wouldn’t shred them. Younger family members might enjoy having them someday.

  108. posted by Victoria on

    You could scan your diplomas into your computer. Be sure to save a copy of the files on a back up disc. Then…throw away the originals!! If you’re not looking at them or displaying them on a regular basis, why keep the piece of paper that will only fade or wear down with time? I have scanned and thrown away all of my diplomas and am also in the process of having all of my photos scanned. I sent my photos away to be scanned professionally because I thought it worth the cost in order to save my time, but scanning a few sheets of paper doesn’t take very long at all!

  109. posted by Angela on

    All diplomas and certificates I’ve received are framed (for some reason)- one day….hopefully soon, when I go from adjunct to full time and have an office on campus I’ll hang the pertinent ones in that office….right now:

    HS (won’t hand in that office) is at my parents in a closet
    College (will hand in that office) is hanging in my den at my house with my husband’s framed & hanging under it. We went to the same college but I graduated a year before him and during his last year the school went from college status to university status. They used to be a conversation piece now they just hang there because their size is perfect for the spot they hang…and I have nothing else to put there.

    The 2 certificates – I’ll hang those in that office too as they are pertinent to my teaching.

  110. posted by KLB on

    From a conservation pov
    – unless framing store flat, not rolled
    – if framing, ensure it’s not in full sun to prevent fading.
    – don’t laminate – over time the document deteriorates (google: lamination conservation museum)
    – scan the document and print off – use that for jobs etc.
    – use good storage materials: a lot of plastic sleeving is stable plastic, most paper we print on is ph neutral and can be used to buffer/interleave documents.

  111. posted by Melissa A. on

    Don’t shred them. You might need them for a job interview or you might not. As much as I’d like to burn my grad school diploma I do keep it around. I would like to have my HS, BA, and MLIS diplomas framed, but I haven’t had the money to do so. The university ones are rolled into a mailing tube, my HS one is stored in a schooltime memories type book I’ve had since I was a kid.

    I’ve worked in 2 levels of government and a lot of people had their diplomas in their office, if they had an office. At my last job I did have my own office, but I didn’t hang my diplomas because I hated the job and didn’t care to decorate my office πŸ˜›

  112. posted by Noah on

    All these comments encourged me to pull my masters and bachelor’s degree dimplomas out and hang them up in the walk in closet. That way they’re not really on display, but I can still see them and remember the work and fun I had during my college years.

    Seems like a good use for the half empty, walk in closet.

  113. posted by Leonie on

    I have four university degrees including a PhD. All degrees are in the filing cabinet. My colleagues have theirs framed, but I can’t be bothered. I keep them because I may need them if I change institutions, companies or careers.

    I can’t imagine throwing diplomas or certificates out. I’m sure you’ll need them if you change careers or jobs, so just keep them in a safe place if you don’t want to hang them up or frame them.

  114. posted by SarahStone on

    My mother framed my undergraduate and graduate diplomas as a graduation present, something I really appreciate as I was in no position to afford to do that at the time. And if you don’t frame them immediately, they get stashed and forgotten. I have them both hanging in my cubicle, and it adds a little bit of professionalism to my space, and it makes me feel a little more professional. Several of my colleagues have commented that they like it, and a few have followed suit.

  115. posted by Trish on

    Graduating HS was a really big deal for me and my family, as both my parents never finished HS. I actually have 2 diplomas, the one from my school and also an honors diploma from the state of KY. Eventually I would like to have them framed together and display them on the wall.

  116. posted by Kelsey on

    My undergraduate diploma is framed and hanging in my parents’ house in our “hall of fame”- a hall where my brothers and my past artwork, achievements, etc. hang. My high school diploma (and yearbooks) are on my bookshelf. I was actually really glad I knew exactly where my high school diploma was this year, and that it was relatively portable- I had to bring it to registration for the Americorps program I did this past year (yes, the original- no, you couldn’t bring a college degree).

  117. posted by Di on

    I scrapbook, so of course mine are put into an album. They are safe there from fading and I know exactly where they are.

  118. posted by Jackie on

    Mine is in a file folder with my birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc. I only kept the actual diploma’s, not the fancy cases. If you have any genealogists in the family down the road, they will be interested in these.

  119. posted by AngelSong on

    I had my college undergrad and graduate diplomas triple matted and framed. I hung my undergrad diploma in my office during one job I had, and now both of them hang on the wall in my home office. I worked very hard against some tough odds to earn them, so I am happy to have them on the wall. It helps keep me going when things get difficult. I would not feel comfortable storing them in a closet, and would certainly never, ever shred them.

  120. posted by CR Linda on

    I was intrigued by the variety of comments regarding diplomas, display options, and storage vehicles. I liked suggestions by Lizz, Dorothy, Alicia, Sue and finally Quatrefoil.

    I keep mine in a fireproof safe as I have been asked more than once to provide them for employment.

    Thanks to Reader Kathy for a great question.

  121. posted by Callie on

    This is very intriguing to me as I am in a “bare bones” mode at the moment. My husband’s and my diplomas are in the filing cabinet in a tube. I was fascinated to hear that some people actually disposed of theirs (I get a sick thrill at throwing things away). Ours are large and will not fit in a notebook. But then there were people who said they needed theirs for some reason or another. Like the guy who needed it for a German visa. I could see us needing ours for that type of thing. BUT! What about someone who lost theirs in a fire or some other way? What would they do? And if yours is framed and on the wall would you think to grab it if you were escaping a burning house? So, I looked up on my Alma mater’s website how I would go about getting a copy and it seems there is a way to do it. In the end I think I’ll stuff ours back in the tube. But if I ever clean out the filing cabinet I can see them going the way of the shredder.

  122. posted by Alicia on

    Don’t get rid of them. At one point I was working for the school I graduated from and my supervisor really wanted me to hang my diplomas in my office.

    As my parents got older and had nice home offices, they both decided they really liked having their diplomas hanging in those office. (Dad is a lawyer, mom is a nurse.)

    At some point in your life it might make you feel good to have them, even if you don’t run into a job where you need to hang them up.

  123. posted by Wendy on

    I have a friend who gathered up her diplomas (3), a pennant, and tassels and had them framed all together and it looks great.

    Mine are somewhere on a bookcase. My husband thinks I should frame them though two of mine came with really nice covers (H.S. and undrgrad) that allow them to be filed among my books.

  124. posted by Elizabeth H. on

    Mine are in my safe deposit box along with the rest of my important papers. I couldn’t figure out where else to put them.

  125. posted by Liza on

    Don’t shred them! If you end up working in Europe, you might be asked for a copy of your diplomas for a job or for a job-permit application – I was. There might also be other countries in the world that require this.

  126. posted by Anne on

    My husband’s is in a box someplace, probably with mine. My best friend recently ran across hers; she framed it and hung it in her bathroom.

    It never hurts to hang onto your diploma. My husband’s Chemistry degree got us a discount on our car insurance.

  127. posted by Heather on

    My college diploma is yellowed, curling, and thumb-tacked to a bulletin board in my parent’s bedroom.

    One post-grad degree languished in the drawers of the University until I went by to pick up another, when they reminded me they had it.

    If you are proud of it, or think it will serve as an advantage to your career, by all means frame it and hang it where it will serve you best.

    Otherwise – it’s the degree that’s of value (and what you learned by getting it), not the piece of paper that proves that you did. It’s likely you could get replacements if you really wanted to.

  128. posted by Susie on

    Just an aside – I never got any diplomas and my kids were home schooled-no diplomas for them either.

    My Dad would have been 93 this past June and 31 years ago, after he died, my mom threw out all his diplomas. At the time I didn’t care, now for some reason, I would like to have kept them….

  129. posted by lucy1965 on

    When we started filling out the visa paperwork for our move overseas, we were asked for the originals of our diplomas. The rest of the time, they live in our firesafe.

  130. posted by Malena on

    I practically worked 24 hours a day getting my degree, working full time, raising 2 kids, being a wife, trying to help my parents through my Dad’s Alzheimer’s, taking care of the house, cooking… you get the picture. Honestly, it was just a piece of paper until my husband convinced me just yesterday to have it framed (a pre-made frame for diplomas, mounted professionally – looks pretty good) and hang it in my office.

    I like it.

  131. posted by J.P. on

    I like the solution proposed in the webcomic Questionable Content: laminate ’em and use them as placemats.

  132. posted by Mike D. on

    I’m so surprised by everyone’s responses. My last two employers stated on the application forms that degree claims would be independently verified, and I since found out that there is at least one nonprofit (but not free) site that provides degree verification for most U.S. high schools and colleges:

    I hated high school and ditched my diploma as soon as I was admitted to my first college, since I figured I didn’t need proof of high school graduation any more. Never needed it since.

    The bachelor’s is in a tube, but not sure I need that either. But considering the possibility of foreign employment, maybe I’ll keep it.

  133. posted by Ish on

    Living in California, mine are in the Firebox with the other important papers – passport, insurance, etc. The firebox lives under the skirt of a slipper chair in my living room.

    I am proud of my BS – I was 44 when I got it – after almost 20 years of consulting (no one needed them then!), but I don’t need to see it. I also had to provide a copy of it to my current employer, so I don’t think it’s all that uncommon.

  134. posted by mydivabydesign - The Diva's Home on

    I don’t have my high school diploma framed. It’s in a memory box in my closet. I did have my undergraduate degree in a frame because I used to own a children’s daycare and I had to have it to prove I was qualified as a facility director. So I hung that, my childcare certificate, and my director’s certificate in my office. I am proud of my accomplishments, and my customers always commented on them. Great conversation starters if nothing else!

  135. posted by Jen B. on

    Here’s a strange reason some people may want to keep their diplomas! I used to work in state government and a friend needed help getting his birth certificate so he could apply for a passport. He had sent in a form for his birth certificate but it was rejected because the way he spelled his name and the way it was spelled by his parents were different (they were recent immigrants when he was born). Vital statistics was not allowed to tell him how it was originally spelled so in order to get a valid cert he had to send in years of documents to show the name he had been using his whole life. We sent everything from his baptism certificate to his 6th grade “diploma” to his HS diploma and marriage certificate. He got his birth cert and finally his passport with only a couple of days to spare before he left on a trip. I know this is unusual but thought it was pertinent to this post!

  136. posted by Kristof on

    Cubicle or not, graduating is an accomplishment. And if you’re proud of what you’ve accomplished, there’s no reason not to display it – just as you would with any award or certificate. To me, it shows that a person has perseverance and can see a goal through to the end.

  137. posted by MsD on

    The requests for stuff from employers can be crazy and inconsistent. My mom has to show her tech degree and high school diploma ONCE A YEAR to keep her job, even though she’s been employed by the same place for over 20 years, and her job barely requires schooling. I have an advanced degree, and transcripts have always been requested for my jobs and government security clearances (just to clear up the statement above, they certainly don’t require the actual diploma now, and will call the university to verify anyway). Meanwhile, I know someone who is lying about having graduated from a very prestigious university (she took a few continuing education courses that “she was going to parlay into addmittance to their grad program” and quit), and has never been asked to provide any documentation of her education.

  138. posted by blissing on

    When I applied for grad school, 15 years after undergraduate, their transcripts did not show that I had graduated! They actually asked me to send them a copy of my diploma. Sheesh.

  139. posted by Tara on

    My hubby’s diplomas are hanging above his desk here at home. It’s not really a focal point as such, but it is nice to remember his hard work (one is a PhD).

  140. posted by Patti on

    I plan to eventually hang our college degrees and professional certificate (CPA) in our home office. We worked hard for them, and I want our daughter to eventually understand that we have the life we have because of that hard work.

  141. posted by Shackleford Hurtmore on

    The British way to deal with these kind of situations is to frame them and hang them in the loo. In that way, you can proudly display them somewhere visitors will see them, but can’t be accused of taking yourself too seriously…

  142. posted by Diana on

    My grandpa hung his MD in the bathroom next to the toilet paper. I’m not sure if it was supposed to intimidate the crap out of you, or be used in case the paper ran out…

  143. posted by Michele on

    Mine are in the file cabinet.

  144. posted by Kazza on

    MsD, that “someone who is lying about having graduated from a very prestigious university” is exactly the reason that many countries require to see the original diploma for work visas.

    I suspect that logic is that anyone can photoshop an electronic scan of a diploma. It’s harder to fake a paper original, especially one on large thick paper with fancy seals.

  145. posted by ari_1965 on

    I intended to get my MA and PhD and be a college professor, so I had my BA diploma matted and framed–very expensively. The leatherette folder the BA diploma came in was purple with gold letters. I hated to just throw it out (not recyclable), and it’s actually attractive. So the framer did a mat with two windows. The diploma is first, with backing material to make it as thick as the folder. The leatherette folder is below the diploma and just shows part of the cover with the college name in gold letters.

    The frame is wood and ornate.

    It’s all very impressive. Unfortunately, I didn’t go on to graduate school and I’ve had a rather up and down career, mostly in marketing. Recently, I’ve been out of work for a year. I’ve got the thing hanging up in my home office. Every time I look at it, I feel angry and cheated, except when I feel stupid and a failure.

    I think I may put it in the closet until I’m back to work, and my mood improves.

  146. posted by Andrea on

    I don’t know where my HS diploma is. I *think* I know where my undergraduate diploma is. I know where my law diploma is because I just graduated–it’s sitting on shelf.

  147. posted by MomsManyProjects on

    My HS diploma is sitting in a trunk with other memorabilia. I have my A.A. degree framed, but not on the wall yet. I’m still working on my B.S. degree and certificates, but I will also frame and hang them in my home office when I’m finished. The reason? Because I’m doing it in my mid-to-late 30’s and want to remind my children, who are 11 and 8, that it’s never too late to go back to school. Also, that if I can do it and get good grades, then they can too!

    I’ll also be scanning them for a back-up, and will put my other awards earned in a binder along with copies of my degrees in case I need them for future interviews.

  148. posted by Sam on

    I keep all my diplomas in an envelope in my safe. I’m glad I kept them handy because I had to provide them as part of a background check to get a job with a government contractor.

  149. posted by MsD on

    Kazza, I’m still not sure that a diploma is really that useful as proof of your education. As I said, the government required official transcripts from me, and that seemed a much better idea. Official transcripts should be mailed directly from the university to the entity wishing to verify education, with a certification from the institution, and contact information in case further verification is needed. They list every class you took, the instructor, code, and grade. Despite the fact that someone mentioned that theirs didn’t include graduation information, my undergrad and grad transcripts list the dates each requirement I needed was met and when my degrees were conferred. I feel like all that would be significantly harder to fake than one piece of paper, especially in these days of scanners and photoshop. My transcripts are even watermarked so you can’t copy or scan them w/o it being obvious (so you can’t scan in, change something, and reprint). Of course, they also lead to lots of questions about how I could do so well in most classes and barely pass a few others, but a good answer to that question can be an interview clincher.

  150. posted by Dominik on

    I have all my diplomas in a safe deposit box at the bank. Losing them through a fire would be a nightmare at least here in Germany, it would take a lot of time to get another set of copies.
    The post inspired me however to frame them (university and mba) and put them on my home office wall. I worked so hard for them and i guess it would make me feel good to see what I already accomplished.

  151. posted by Adrienne on

    Wow, I was just thinking about this today. My solution, scan them so you will have useable softcopies if and when needed and pack them away in your archives with your other valuable (very expensive) keepables. I’m placing mine either in my fire-proof file box with the birth certificates and insurance forms.

  152. posted by JohnCanon on

    Why not scan it and make it into your screensaver. Then everyone walking by will by suitably impressed.

  153. posted by Kimberly on

    I’m still hanging on to mine and am unsure what to do with it. But as far as taking it to be copied at a job, an official transcript should do for that.

  154. posted by Miriam on

    If you have some sort of home office, I would hang the diplomas there. They’re a nice reminder of how hard you’ve worked and how much you’ve achieved.

  155. posted by Lilli on

    With a whopping four graduate degrees between my husband and me, I can appreciate the need for proof of these incredible accomplishments, and to be able to remember them with pride. However, diplomas are kinda boring looking and not unique.

    Just reading these comments, I thought a good idea may be to frame the photo of me right after the ceremony, in full cap & gown, giddily holding my diploma and flaunting a massive grin. Having a photo like that framed on my wall would bring me so much more joy and positive memories than the diploma.

    The diploma is formulaic, ugly piece of paper that I see more as in invoice: you now owe us $70,000! Who would want to look at that all day long?

    Although the ideas of putting the diplomas up in a bathroom really appealed to me too. : )

  156. posted by Katy on

    Hanging and displaying things in the bathroom (even better if you have a downstairs cloakroom) that you are both proud of and a little embarrassed of being proud of is a very British response.

    Apparently you can find a significant percentage of Oscars won by British actors in their downstairs loos.

    On the other hand, my dad has his certificate from his medical specialty boards hanging next to his father’s from the same board, which I always think is quite lovely.

  157. posted by KathyinMD on

    Thank you everyone! The diplomas that came in the little leatherette folios are tucked on a bookshelf. It’s the MS degree that is a large, weird size. Right now, it is in the tube it came in, behind books (and smaller diplomas) on the bookshelf. I can’t bring myself to fold it, and it won’t fit into a 3-ring binder. I had my boyfriend’s MS degree framed expensively as he is a therapist and it hangs in his office for all his clients to see.

  158. posted by Angela on

    As the first college graduates in our respective families, my husband and I are very proud of our diplomas. My mother insisted that mine be framed…I had my husband’s framed as a gift to him. Now, they both hang in the hallway near our children’s bedrooms, along with cherished family photos. Recently, my 11-year-old son asked what they said and I was happy to tell him. I hope that by displaying them in such a manner, we will encourage and inspire our children to reach their educational goals, just as their
    parents have.

  159. posted by LauraBeth on

    I returned to college to finish my degree later in life. I received my BS degree in 2008, at age 56. I’m very proud of my hard work and accomplishment so I proudly hang my diploma in my home office.
    I hope it continues to influence my two children that didn’t get their degrees (one did) and encourage my grandchildren to see how important I believe an education is. If Granna can do it, they certainly can!
    I’ve enjoyed reading the comments, lot’s to learn here. I love Bec’s post with the notebook from when she was a tiny child through her Master’s degree. I wish I had something like that.

  160. posted by Pamela on

    High school is in a folder in my files. College is framed and hanging in my cube. I worked hard for it. Also framed and hanging is the certificate for my degree’s honor society that was hard to get into and my professional license. They remind me of how hard I have worked to get where I am. They are milestones of my achievements and I proudly display them. Until I hung mine, most in my office didn’t. Now, most people do. I think it is good for us to be proud of what we have accomplished.

  161. posted by Leonie on

    wow. I didn’t realise there were jobs like that where you could claim to graduate from a “prestigious” uni and not have to show proof.

    when I was accepted into my current job, I was asked to have the transcripts from ALL schools (two in Europe, one in the US) sent to HR, as well as make photocopies of the original degrees. If they required the original, I would have produced them. However, the transcripts which arrived directly to HR in sealed and embossed envelopes helped authenticate the education obtained.

    In another incident, I have a friend from turkey who did not get a college degree, but put down that he took a few classes at the turkish university and made it sound as if it was a degree. I advised him to remove it because he’d have lost the job if they asked him to produce evidence and he had none.

    Really interesting thread on diplomas…I haven’t seen any diplomas on the wall in the loo when I go back to the UK…so maybe we’ve found a new way to hide them… πŸ™‚

  162. posted by infmom on

    My son graduated from UCLA. Apparently they wanted him to pay some outrageous amount of money for the actual physical diploma, and he declined. I wish that hadn’t been the case–it would have been something good to hang on the wall as proof of his achievement in working his way through, paying for it all himself and coming out with something that means something in this world.

  163. posted by Ange on

    I have friends who lived in a sharehouse and decided they’d all hang their degrees in the hallway. It meant that visitors were struck by just how many they had between them. πŸ™‚

    Also, it gave a neat starting point for conversation.

  164. posted by Nicole on

    I’m not a lawyer, medical doctor, psychologist, or professor…but I still have my BA hanging up in my office. I paid A LOT of money for my degree and I at least want to be able to look up and see the diploma as I make my insane student loan payment every month πŸ™‚

  165. posted by Patti on

    My HS and 2 of my college degrees are all 8.5 x 11 or smaller so they live in an expanding file folder with the rest of my “paper” certificates and accomplishments.

    My grad degree, of course, would have to be the one oversized oddball. Right now it lives in its leatherette folder from the school.

    I really don’t want to fold that diploma and I don’t want to keep ANY of the leatherette folders (more clutter) either, but I hate having to keep the one oversized one and get rid of the rest. I haven’t decided what to do yet, but for now I’ve got bigger clutter-fish to fry.

  166. posted by Jeanie on

    When I started staying home to raise 3 small boys, I framed my college diploma and hung it over my washing machine.

  167. posted by David on

    @Lilli — not all diplomas are boring looking. One of mine looks like this:


    (that’s not mine, because mine certainly would not be found on an auction site)

  168. posted by Ms. Brooklyn on

    If it was office culture at my workplace, I’d proudly hang mine in my office. And while I haven’t done it yet, I fully intend to have mine professionally framed and hang them somewhere in my home. I don’t give a f–k what guests think – I’m proud of those things. They represent the highest achievement of my life so far and I deserve to be reminded of that.

  169. posted by Patty on

    I dropped mine in a mud puddle as soon as I got it. Ooops. Thats what they get for holding a rainy soggy outdoor ceremony though! It dried out ok but now that I’m married the name isn’t the same anyway. Hubbies and mine are framed and set ontop of book shelves in our home office. Thus they are on display but not in your face.

  170. posted by Roxanna on

    I put 8 1/2 by 11 copies my diplomas and degrees in a binder that is my portfolio. The originals I laminated and placed into a cardboard desk notepad calender. It works really well as a reminder for me when I get to the end of the year as to where I was a few years ago.

  171. posted by Robert R. on

    HS diploma is long gone. I gave my bachelors diploma to my parents, and my younger siblings did likewise. Parents still proudly display those undergraduate degrees, even though I’m 55 now.

    More recently, I earned a Masters, and I display that at home on my brag wall alongside a few marathon medals, a photo of me with a large redfish, and my barbershop singing certificate. Not sure which I value highest. I know which one cost the most.

  172. posted by Evan on

    I went to a ‘leading’ university, and I’m proud of my Masters diploma, but don’t really want to show off. As such, it hangs in the bathroom. I think it takes the pretentiousness down a notch.

  173. posted by Karina on

    I have all my diplomas stored along with all my “important files” (such as career sheets, medical, insurance, etc) in the proper folder.

  174. posted by Joe on

    I keep my diplomas and official and honorary certificates in a hard sided Attache case. It can accommodate various sizes and let them lie flat, it protects them from getting bent, spindled, or mutilated, it shields them from UV light and mildew, it does not take up much space itself, and when it is time to move, it’s easily portable. If I have a hankering to reflect back on my life, it is easy to open the case, look over the documents, and put them away again. Get rid of them? No. That’s for my kids to do.

  175. posted by Nadine on

    My graduate diploma is hanging in my office – as is a certification diploma for practice in my field. My undergrad diploma was framed by my parents as a gift and is currently hanging in our office at home (basically a computer and storage room). My high school diploma is in a folder labeled ‘important documents’ along with birth certificates, marriage certificate and I suspect my undergrad diploma will join them soon! Now what to do with the nice frame that will be empty?

  176. posted by Robin Mohr on

    I currently work in the early childhood education field, and I have my nursery school diploma hanging over my desk at work. It is small but looks kind of old and formal and says that “Robin has learned to share and play well with her friends.” This is the first job where it seemed relevant.

    A few years ago, when I first set up a desk of my own at home, as a way of carving out a personal space for my writing out of my children’s and husband’s stuff, one of the first things I set on the back of my table/desk was my framed college diploma (in Latin). It was to remind me that I am an educated and intelligent adult no matter what I spend the rest of my day doing. (which in those days involved a lot more bodily fluids of small children)

  177. posted by Adventure-Some Matthew on

    My diplomas are stashed away in my “important papers” folder in my filing cabinet.

  178. posted by Karen on

    Ours are six (nicely framed) diplomas are hanging in our bathroom.

  179. posted by Grammie Linda on

    I vote to keep them. When my parents moved into assisted living, my sister hung my father’s diplomas and his certificates as member of the bar in two states. He was rapidly going downhill with Alzheimer’s, and she wanted those who cared for them to realize he had another life in which he was brilliant. We hung my mother’s diplomas, including her master’s degree. When my niece graduated from college, she was the first of his grandchildren to do so–he had bugged her to finish that last class so she would be officially graduated. She presented the diploma to him and insisted they hang it with the other awards and diplomas. It was inspiring!

    You never know when it will come in handy.

  180. posted by Wendy on

    Scan them and create an album on one of the online photofinishing websites; throw away the originals.

  181. posted by C. on

    College and Graduate School were both important and fun times in my life. My Diplomas (BA, MA, JD, Ph.D.) all hang in my home office. They are, however, all in double frames with images of the campus (landmarks, etc) where I went for them above the certificate. Looks nice, serves as a reminder of past accomplishments.

  182. posted by IqbalGomar on

    I have taken an extreme approach to minimalism in the last few years. I keep no papers. None. When I found my diplomas in the drawer where they had been moldering for years, I scanned them, saved them as PDFs, and shredded them with the rest of the garbage. The objects are meaningless. I plan on having no children to pass anything down to. When I die, I would prefer to leave the world with no trace.

  183. posted by Christine on

    It amazes me how dismissive of a HS diploma some seem to be. I took the Honors courses and am proud to have finished very high in the class.

    The perspective is much different, though, as I came from Appalachian poverty. In my fifteen-member generation (I am an only child but have fourteen cousins), only three of us completed high school. I was the only one to do so on-time with no failures.

    My HS diploma is displayed in my home office. It reminds me that born-poor doesn’t mean always-poor.

  184. posted by So Glad I Got It on

    If anyone scrolls down this far – there are so many comments now – I would say to definitely make a color copy if framing it in an office outside of your home or to give to a parent, relative, or potential employer. Keep the original! I don’t know why people are keeping them in a closet or in a home office but behind the door. I’m still waiting for mine to come but have completed the degree. I plan to frame it and hang it at home. The hell I’ll hide it! I agree with those who say I worked hard for it and am proud of it!

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