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The Bucknellian

A spotlight on early graduates

Madison Weaver, News Co-Editor

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While most students expect to spend eight semesters at the University, some students in the Class of 2018 have planned to graduate a semester early, officially becoming alumni in January.

According to Associate Dean Rich Robbins, students need to plan as early as possible to complete their requirements in seven, or even as few as six, semesters. Students can graduate as soon as all requirements are met; some students might need the required GPA to take a course overload, but otherwise, early graduates are subject to the same qualifications as all other students.

“They need to work with their faculty academic adviser and academic Associate Dean to develop a plan to complete all requirements in their desired timeline, which may mean summer session and/or overloading,” Robbins said.

Students choose to graduate early for various reasons: to save tuition money, get a head start on job searches, head on to graduate school, or for other personal reasons.

Some students who currently attend the University shared their own experiences with graduating early.

Corinne Leard ’18 explained that she is able to graduate early with an animal behavior major because she has taken extra research credits since her sophomore year. While her decision is partially based on her desire to save the money that would’ve otherwise gone toward paying for her spring semester tuition, it is chiefly derived from her professional aspirations.

“My primary reason for graduating early, however, is because I am pursuing a job in conservation and graduating early gives me the opportunity to look for jobs and internships that may have less competition than summer opportunities would if I graduated in the spring,” Leard said. “It also allows me to seek unpaid internships that I may not be able to do after spring graduation, but since I have an extra semester, I can take advantage of those opportunities.”

Leard spends much of her time on campus doing research with assistant professor of psychology Regina Gazes in the Comparative Cognition & Behavior lab, and this semester she defended her thesis titled “Relationship Factors Impact Looking Time to Images of Familiar Conspecifics by Capuchin Monkeys.”

Evelyn Robinson ’18, an art history and economics double major, began planning to graduate early her junior year, and has been able to fulfill all graduation requirements through the transfer of three AP credits onto her transcript, and the early completion of her CCC requirements. After graduation, Robinson will work for Windsor Jewelers in New York City, where she held an internship.

“Having a full time job offer influenced my decision to graduate early, but even before the offer, it seemed to make the most sense for me to just finish up my degree and leave,” Robinson said. “My original plan was to continue working part time in retail after I graduated until I found a full time position.”

Madison Cooney ’18 decided to graduate early to save money, avoid burning out before graduate school, and plan her wedding. A double major in English and psychology, Cooney wrote an honors thesis titled “When Worlds Collide: Feminism, Conservatism, and Twentieth Century Authors,” which she defended this fall.

“I decided to take on an honors thesis because I wanted to be intellectually challenged and I wanted to have something tangible to take away from my time at Bucknell that I had accomplished,” Cooney said.

While there is no ceremony for students who graduate in January, the University hosts a luncheon and the students are invited back to walk with their class during Commencement in May. If a student graduates a full year early, they participate in spring Commencement that year.

It should be noted that not all students who graduate in January are graduating early: a traditional schedule can be offset by taking one semester leave, deferring enrollment to begin courses in the spring of freshman year, and transferring universities. According to the registrar’s office, in rare circumstances a student can be approved for a ninth semester.

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The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University
A spotlight on early graduates