December graduates jumpstart job hunt

Trip Stewart graduated in December but said his departure from the University won’t feel official until he walks across the stage to receive his diploma May 14.

The political science major and criminal justice minor said he needed to save money, so he graduated a semester early, along with almost 300 of his peers, to take a job at a District-based law firm.

“As much as I loved college life, it’s been nice being in the green rather than in the red,” Stewart, who will join Teach for America in June, said.

A growing trend, graduating early allows students to save a semester of tuition payments while also getting a jump on the job market. University spokeswoman Jill Sankey said since 2007, 250 undergraduates received degrees at the culmination of the fall semester each year. This December the number increased to 271.

During his freshman and sophomore years, Stewart was part of the Colonial Inauguration Siblings Program. He studied abroad in Vienna as part of the Focus on Fall Abroad Community during his junior year.

Chelsea Gamber, who graduated in December with a major in English and a minor in psychology, also stayed in D.C. for the spring semester. She said it was important to her to attend Commencement to culminate the time she spent at the University.

“Having Commencement on the Mall is such a fitting way to end our time at GW,” Gamber said.? “I am really looking forward to sharing that last memorable D.C. moment with all the friends and family that have been such an important part of my time here.”

The member of GW’s chapter of the honor fraternity Phi Sigma Pi said she considered graduating early since freshman year.

“I realized I had enough [Advanced Placement] credits to finish a semester early and still have room in my schedule for a minor and study abroad,” Gamber said.

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