KU fall semester graduates by year
December 2007: 1,367
2012: 1,221 (preliminary number; may increase)
Though they haven't taken the traditional walk down the hill, about 1,220 newly minted Kansas University graduates earned their degrees in December.
That number, which includes degrees from the KU Medical Center, is lower than the number of fall semester graduates in any of the previous five years. The figure is still preliminary, though, and more degrees may still be awarded case by case.
In December 2011, about 1,450 students graduated between the Medical Center and the Lawrence and Edwards campuses. Fourth-year students in the 2011-12 year were members of KU's largest freshman class ever in 2008. The incoming class of 2009 dropped off by about 500 students.
The students who finished up their work during the fall semester can return in May for KU's formal Commencement and walk down the hill.
There may be less pomp surrounding their graduation, but December graduates don't tend to face a job market that's terribly different from the one they would see in May, said David Gaston, director of the University Career Center at KU.
"It's not a huge differentiator," Gaston said.
More important are things like internship experience, training and certification and the willingness to move for the right job, he said.
Overall, Gaston said, the job outlook for college grads is better than it has been in recent years, though it's certainly not up to where it was before the economic downturn.
"It's not a huge stampede by any means, but it's much better than it has been," Gaston said.
Lucas Commodore, who graduated in December with a business degree, didn't struggle with the market. Two days before finals ended, he accepted a consulting job with Cerner Corp. in Kansas City, Mo.
Commodore, who's from Overland Park, graduated after just three and a half years at KU, thanks to some college credit he earned during high school.
He said that when he visited a career fair during the fall semester, some companies were looking to fill positions right away, while others were preparing to hire for summer 2013, when spring graduates are available.
But Commodore said he didn't believe the timing of his graduation had affected his job prospects too much.
"It's more about being prompt and getting on it fast," Commodore said.