Pros and cons to graduating in April or December

An April graduate celebrates her accomplishment  by holding her diploma in the air. (Photo by cberryphotos)
An April graduate celebrates her accomplishment by holding her diploma in the air. (Photo by cberryphotos)

Students who have found a major still aren’t finished with planning their education — a graduation plan has to consider the merits of April or December graduation.

Heidi Vogeler, a career counselor at BYU, acknowledged the pros and cons of the two most popular times to graduate.

“Most companies think about hiring recent grads in April/May,” Vogeler said.  “That’s the traditional ‘graduation’ time.”

One disadvantage of April graduation is that more candidates equals more competition. Vogeler also sees value in graduating in December, especially since most students are still in school.

“Less competition for open jobs,” Vogeler said. “The fall career fairs and recruiting events have just as many employers as the winter semester events.”

Vogeler said one disadvantage of December graduation is that most large companies have recruiting cycles, which means graduates may wait until May to start work anyway.

Rebecca Wiseman, an international relations major, will be graduating in a few weeks, although she considered a December graduation.

“I was tempted to graduate in December because, initially, I wanted to extend my time as a student as long as possible, for employment reasons,” Wiseman said. “I wanted to make sure I would have a job over the summer.”

Wiseman changed her mind after hearing some wise advice from an academic counselor.

“She led me to consider the fact that I could start being paid for the work I did right out of graduation, rather than being an unpaid intern,” Wiseman said. “While I understand there is no guarantee of work right out of graduation, the idea of having the ability to demand payment because of the degree I had worked so hard to earn really resonated with me.”

Kendra Davis, an elementary education major, is a little concerned about graduating this fall.

“Graduating in December means that I am graduating in the middle of the school year,” Davis said.  “My job opportunities would be very minimal for a long time.”

Vogeler’s advice for students who currently find themselves in this situation is to take advantage of opportunities available to them.

“Do what’s best for you,” Vogeler said. “Do your research on the industry/jobs you’re truly interested in, and make yourself the best applicant you can be through experience and/or coursework that wasn’t required for your major.”

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