The Case for December Graduation
Spring graduates may get the press, but winter grads get the perks. Here’s our case for the benefits of a December graduation, and what you need to know to take full advantage of the benefits if you’ll be graduating soon.
Exhibit A – Party Planning
Graduation invitations, announcements, and party favors can cost a pretty penny – unless you’re buying them on clearance after the spring graduation season. Cards, signs, and Solo Cup stacks that say “Class of 2018” or “Congratulations Graduate” are often discounted up to 75% towards the middle of June when shelf space is forfeited to Independence Day products. By planning ahead for your December graduation in the spring, you can stock up on these items and save a pretty penny.
Exhibit B – Loan Debt and Tuition Hikes
Student debt statistics show that student loan debt is now the second highest consumer debt category, second only to mortgage debt. The average college student graduating from a four-year program in 2016 was saddled with over $37,000 in student loan debt. Graduating a semester early gives you a six-month head start on repayment of your loans and also reduces your accumulated interest. And higher education isn’t getting any cheaper – US Department of Labor statistics show that tuition costs rose 6% each year between 1990 and 2016. Since most college institutions raise tuition annually at the start of the spring semester in January, graduating in December means you might avoid these rate increases on your last semester of classes.
Exhibit C – The Ceremony
May graduation ceremonies can be long, hot, and boring. Graduating in December means a shorter, more intimate ceremony where your family doesn’t have to show up three hours early to get a good seat. Preparation for the ceremony is more convenient, too. Setting an appointment with your advisor, making a reservation for a cap and gown, finding parking at the venue – fewer people means shorter lines and less congestion.
Exhibit D – Photography Discounts
Many graduates take time to refine their internet and social media presence with a professional headshot. Spring graduates had better schedule their photos in advance and be prepared to pay top dollar as they compete with the millions of high school seniors already booked. December graduates have the advantage here too. Smaller graduating classes, combined with seasonal ebbs that effect most photographers in the winter months, mean December grads have a better chance for an appointment with the photographer of their choice, often accompanied by an off-season discount. Fall is one of the busiest times for photographers, followed by sometimes-consecutive slow winter months. Book a winter session at the beginning of the new year for the best deal.
Exhibit E – Finding Gainful Employment
Armed with your new degree, you’re ready to hit the streets and start interviewing for a position in your chosen career field. According to Fox Business, those graduating in December have fewer fellow graduates competing for the same jobs . Because of the holidays, be prepared to wait a little bit longer for an interview or call-back
Graduating in December means you get to start the New Year with a fresh degree, and hopefully a fresh new job. What’s the best graduation advice you ever received? Share it in the comments below!