Seniors discuss how they feel about graduating in December ahead of the May crowd


2020 graduates wait in line during Commencement at Amon G. Carter Stadium on Friday, May 7th, 2021. (Esau Rodriguez Olvera/Staff Photographer)

By Emma Watson, Staff Writer

With December graduation near, some graduating students navigate feeling like they are missing out on some pre-graduation traditions that often take place in the spring semester. But there are some benefits to graduating ahead of the May crowd.

“We still do things for graduates in December, the scale is just a little bit smaller,” said Vanessa Roberts Bryan, the assistant vice chancellor for student affairs.“But I think for students graduating in December, it gives them just a different edge on looking for jobs or applying for graduate school or professional school.”

Some December graduates are students graduating a semester early, while others are finishing an additional semester.

Jose Alcibiades Miranda Siles is a senior mechanical engineering major graduating in December. He transferred from a college in Nicaragua in the spring of 2019. 

“I basically had to start over with […] just my math classes transferring over,” Siles said. “Because of that, my schedule just set me to graduate in December.”

Cindy Ciotta, a senior marketing major, is graduating a semester early.

“I’m graduating at 21, and so I’m glad to get started sooner,” Ciotta said.

Siles said it can feel like there’s less competition with people graduating in December. However, engineering is a competitive field.

“If you’re applying to a job which already took students in that graduated in May, then […] they might not need another employee that’s graduating in December,” Siles said.

Ciotta said that in the marketing and sales field, the recruiting process for many companies starts around the same time.

While given a possible advantage in the job hunt, most December graduates are not walking the stage with their friends. Siles said he misses the company of the previous graduating class, which were most of his friends.

Ciotta said she will miss being at TCU.

“I will definitely miss going to basketball games and baseball games, but I can still go, even as an alumni,” she said.

Ciotta also plans to visit campus often to see her friends.

A more “intimate” commencement ceremony

Fewer December graduates also means a slightly different commencement ceremony. Because it’s a smaller graduation, Bryan said the commencement can be more intimate and special. 

“You may be able to see those faculty members that you really connected with and you don’t have to stand in line with a bunch of people to see them,” Bryan said.

Siles looks forward to a shorter commencement ceremony.

“I won’t have to be sitting there for, I don’t know, a couple hours,” Siles said.

Despite not graduating with the majority of students, December graduates still have their fair share of senior events. With commencement exercises, graduation weekend and alumni office celebrations, the students are not left out.

Regardless of timing, graduating as a Horned Frog is something all TCU students will share for life.