How to be a "December Finisher"
The first week of Fall classes is the suggested deadline for meeting with the registrar to complete the required form. Extension beyond the deadline is possible if all the requirements on the form are actually met. Meeting with the registrar is required in any case.
Depending on required permissions, students can finish course registration in December (or sometimes over the summer at summer school elsewhere) and not be enrolled or registered for courses in the spring semester (or semesters) prior to commencement.
Permission is required from the Registrar and the chair of any major being completed. Students are considered on leave of absence between the time they finish course registration and their commencement.
Finishing in December means finishing enrollment (not actually graduating in December). Swarthmore has commencement only once a year, in May.
Until graduation, December finishers are still "students," still degree candidates, but no longer enrolled, no longer registered for courses, and no longer billed tuition.
The diploma will be available at Commencement. We hope you will attend commencement, but if you cannot, you will be graduated anyway, and your diploma will be mailed to you a few days later.
Commencement information: The senior class dean's office will be sending information about Commencement throughout the spring. Please be on the lookout for those announcements. If you have any questions about commencement, please ask Dean Miller, or Dean Ray, the senior class dean. Please also read this Advice to Social Seniors.
Required December Finisher form: There is a required form which is not complete without meeting with the registrar. Students must schedule a meeting with the registrar preferably for the first week of fall semester classes to review the non-major degree requirements, those fulfilled and which need to be fulfilled, when and how. The form will be completed during the meeting, after which students will sign and date that they understand. Major adviser approval signature is then also required. Please discuss with your adviser how you are going to complete major(s) without being enrolled in the Spring semester you plan to graduate.
Certification letter available: Sometime this spring, after your degree requirements are completely finished, my office can write a certification letter saying the degree requirements are complete. If you want one of those letters, please be sure you have a zero balance with the accounts office, be sure all your grades are posted, arrange for your major department to send me an email certifying that your major is complete (both the course work and the senior comprehensive requirement), and then ask my office for the letter. The Registrar's Office will only write your letter when we see all your grades posted (no Incompletes or In Progress grades), a degree audit showing completion of all your non-major degree requirements, a zero balance on your student account, and after we have certification from your major that the course work and senior comprehensive requirement for the major are complete.
Please contact the Registrar if you have any questions about how this might work for you.