Fall vs Spring: When should you apply to US universities?

By Vidhya

Applying to US universities


For those students who have made decisions to go to the US for their higher education, one of the major factors to decide is about - when to apply? There are two seasons for admissions in USA, one during the fall and the other during the spring.

You could have taken decisions about which university or college to attend which programme to take and your funding options. After all this, the decision of when to apply could be haunting you.

Should I apply during the fall or the spring semester? Most of you, for sure have this question, if you are planning to apply to universities overseas.

Here is some basic information you should know, that could help you decide the best season for application to US universities:

Programmes offered in Fall and Spring

For application to the US universities, fall semester is the most important. It is during the fall semester when most programmes are offered. During the fall semester, there are much wider choices of programmes available for you to choose from. Therefore, this season also sees are large number of applications.

During the spring semester, only some courses are offered. Applying in the spring, may leave you with a fewer number of course choices.

Financial aid and scholarships

Another important factor to consider, while applying to universities abroad is your funding options. Most students apply for scholarships and assistantships to help them fund their education. Most of these funding aids are considered during the fall session. The chance of obtaining a financial aid in spring are lesser.

Acceptance rates of international students

The rate of intake during the spring is usually lower when compared to the fall. This is due to the lesser number of courses, and low number of applications. The number of applications may vary from one institution to the other.

Make a note that most of the student recruitment is done during the fall semester.

Most of the activities and functioning of the student organisations happen during the fall semester. Hence, joining in the spring might prove disadvantageous with respect to your participation on campus.

Also, if you are starting fresh in spring, the students who joined in the previous fall are one semester ahead of you. On a similar note, you may have narrower choices for choosing students for group projects, as those who enrolled earlier, in the fall, would have already formed teams for their group projects.

Jobs and internships

Most jobs and internships on campus are filled in the fall season. Fall is the time when students leave the university after graduating in summer.

For internships, summers are more favourable as students who have joined during the fall would have completed half of their coursework and hence are more qualified.

Although, it is not much of a disadvantage to apply for universities in the US during the spring, the schedule of some programmes offered may work in your favour.

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