Spring and Fall Semesters; An Overview:
- U.S Universities have two intakes for admission purposes, namely Fall and Spring semesters.
- Fall semester starts in late August and ends in late December or early January whereas the Spring semester begins in January and ends in early May.
- Most of the students apply for the Fall intake as their Undergraduate program finishes in June and Fall semesters begin in September which makes it convenient for Higher education unless they break off from the normal pattern for specific reasons like work experience or personal issues.
Positives of Fall Intake & Negatives of Spring Intake:
As with any other topic of discussion, there is two sides to the argument of which intake term is better for students i.e. both terms (fall and spring) have their own sets of positives and negatives. So make sure to understand both sides of the argument, before making a decision regarding your future course of study.
- The biggest advantage of the Fall intake is the number of courses on offer. Most colleges offer a myriad number of courses in fall, a comparatively smaller number of courses during the Spring semester.
- Another major advantage is the number of sources for financial assistance which a student can obtain. While funding is available during the spring intake, the number of opportunities present during fall is much higher since the on-campus jobs and TA, RA positions usually open up during the fall semester intake, preference is usually given to students who have finished at least one year in college i.e. since you would have completed only 6 months of college at that time, you will be disadvantaged.
- Students admitted in the Spring semesters may be grouped in a few of their classes with Fall semester applicants who have the advantage of one semester over them. This may be a disadvantage especially while choosing project partners, but this again depends on a person’s mentality and flexibility.
- To be involved with a student organization, Fall intake would be a more suitable option especially if the student is keen on winning a prestigious position within the organization. This is because the new leaders are always elected at the end of the Spring semester, by joining in the spring semester you will not have enough time to show your true potential.
- Universities require the students to have been enrolled for a minimum of 9 months before applying for internships outside the college. This would pose a problem for Spring applicants as they would not meet the eligibility criteria for the internship held in the Summer following their admit.
- Job intakes will be lesser for Spring applicants in their first semester as all the available posts would have already been taken by the Fall applicants because of their own semester advantage. The acceptance rate into a particular course is a University specific trait and does not depend upon whether it is a Fall or a Spring admission.
- Issue of the F1 Visa also depends entirely on the candidates profile and the necessary requirements i.e. you will not be at a disadvantaged even if you are joining a college in the spring intake.
As you can see the number of positives of joining the US universities during the fall outnumber the number of positives present in the spring intake. While the negatives present with joining during the spring intake can be obviated with a bit of hard work, if you can leave during the Fall semester, do so.