The pros and cons of a December graduation

Ryan Savage


Photo by Chris Jenkins.

Photo by Chris Jenkins.

The long blue line of the W is about to get even longer.

In only a few days, graduates here at the W will be donning their cap and gowns for the December ceremony. Unlike the graduation ceremonies held in August or May, this will only have a fraction of those numbers of students.  
“In August, we had over 400 apply,” said Lynn Dobbs, registrar at The W. “Some of those came off, but we still probably had 420. Something like that. And then for December we’ve had 174 apply.” 

Dobbs, who received both of her degrees in December ceremonies at The W, said that even though she thinks that there isn’t much difference between a May graduation and a December graduation, there is one benefit to graduating during this time of the year.

“The main advantage of December is there are less people graduating and more space available for family members to come to the ceremony,” said Dobbs.

Katelyn Stamper, a senior graduating this December, agreed — to an extent. Stamper’s original plan was to graduate with a degree in culinary arts and an emphasis in food art in May 2015. Unfortunately, she was unable to get the classes she needed in time and instead prepared for a December graduation.

“You’re kinda coming in at a weird time. Like, everybody expects you to graduate college in May, so no one’s really looking for it in January, when you’re hunting for a new job,” said Stamper.

Dobbs acknowledged that the job hunt issue applied to a lot of graduates, such as education majors who find themselves graduated in the middle of the school year. However, other majors have no problem with graduating in December. Carli Davis, who plans to receive a bachelor’s degree in accounting, is a member of this category.

Davis attended classes at The W after receiving an Associate’s at Northeast Mississippi Community College. She elected to take extra classes to ensure an earlier graduation.

“I kind of took some advanced classes before their prerequisites,” said Davis, “and then I’ve taken their prerequisites now. So I’ve taken 18 hours every semester except for this one. I’m taking 20 so that I could graduate.” 

Davis plans to move back to her hometown after graduation, where she hopes to begin her career at a local bank.

Regardless of why a student graduates in December or whether one graduation date is better than the other, nearly all participants can agree that the differences are minimal. Being able to invite more audience members for the ceremony could easily be offset by the extra weeks spent unemployed. The stress of not having a job immediately after graduation could then be offset with the ease of not having to deal with another semester’s worth of student loans or other debt.

At the end of it all, Dobbs said it’s pretty much the same, and students have other things with which to occupy themselves.

“By the time they get to this point,” shared Dobbs, “they’re just so happy to get out of here.”

The December commencement is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Dec. 12 in Rent Auditorium, Whitfield Hall.