Most students plan to graduate after eight semesters, taking four years to earn their degree.

On Dec. 15, however, the students that graduate early or choose to take an extra semester will walk down the floor of Thompson-Boling Arena and finish their college careers.

The decision to graduate in December can be reached for various reasons. For Tyler Mitchell, senior in logistics, the choice was primarily practical.

"There's not as many people to compete for jobs with as there would be if I had graduated in May," Mitchell said.

In an article published last December, agreed, pointing to the much larger incoming job force in the spring that creates a more competitive job market.

Instead of finishing up course requirements next spring, Mitchell will be applying for jobs and putting his name out in the logistics world.

Colin Skinner, another senior graduating this December, used an extra semester to finish up his journalism and electronic media major.

"I switched majors my sophomore year and when I did that credit-wise it set me up for five years, but I managed to fit everything in in four and a half," he said. "I have a buffer to look for jobs and explore before the summer."

Using an extra semester helped Mitchell as well, affording him time to complete a foreign language minor.

"I thought it'd be beneficial to pick up a minor in Spanish and that pushed me back," Mitchell said.

The decision was a savvy one. According to a 2005 study conducted by Korn/Ferry International, 88 percent of executive recruiters say the ability to speak more than one language is critical to international business success.

There's always another incentive to stay at UT for one more fall semester.

"I didn't really think of it at first," Mitchell added, "but it was nice having really cheap tickets to go to football games."

Skinner did think of the Vols, planning on relishing the last season of his undergraduate career. Going into this fall, many analysts predicted a big coming-out season for UT.

"The Vols didn't quite follow through with my plans, but I was really pumped to have a last season and embrace every single game day," Skinner said. He added that he managed to make it to three away games.Skinner guessed that only 20 percent of his classmates would be graduating in December."

I personally have some close buddies graduating in December, but I was surprised at how few are actually graduating with us," he said.

Commencement will be held on Saturday, Dec. 15 in Thompson-Boling Arena, with the address delivered by Chad Holliday, chairman of the board for Bank of America. The ceremony begins at 9 a.m.