Which Intake Season to Choose: Fall or spring?
The fall vs spring debate has always confused international students. We at studyabroadonline.com are always trying to give you unbiased answers to such problems; hence we decided to deal with this question in depth here. But before that, let’s understand what the spring and the fall semesters are.
Most foreign universities have two admission intakes every year, for all classes and courses. Fall semester begins in September and ends in December, whereas the spring semester starts in January and ends in May. There are two main reasons why universities accept students in two different intakes rather than just one.
First, it is not easy to accommodate too many students in a single semester. Most international universities receive thousands of applications every year, so obviously it will be quite a task to admit so many students at a time. That is why the intake division is in place.
Second, there could be various reasons why many students do not have the option to apply for the fall season. Which is why universities accept those who couldn’t apply during the fall season. In essence, numerically more students apply for the fall intake, and consequently, the class sizes are bigger for the fall semester.
But having said all that, let us discuss which semester should you apply for and why.
Comparison between fall and Spring Intakes
You first need to check whether the universities of your choice accept applications for both the seasons. A significant number of top 100 universities do not have any admission open for the spring season. And it is not easy to figure out which universities have different intakes and which don’t as the university websites can be compared to a very complicated maze. So, if you wish to apply for the spring season, you should do thorough research to find out the available intakes. You should do this before you even begin preparing for exams like IELTS, TOEFL or GMAT. This early decision will help you determine if you have enough time to prepare for the exams.
2. Acceptance Rate
Many universities have allotted quotas of admissions for each semester. The fact that the class sizes are much larger for the fall intake, means you might have a better chance of getting admitted then. If your profile is above average or spectacular, then the odds will be in your favor for the Spring intake.
Universities usually offer a lot more courses for the fall intake applicants, so you will have much more courses to choose from. It also means that if you are looking for an unusual course that is not chosen by a lot of students, there are higher chances it won’t not available in the spring semester.
Since the academic session technically starts with the falls semester, it is likely that there will be more opportunities for students to obtain on-campus jobs and internships, especially for research-based courses. A lot of professors begin their research at the start of the academic year and do not recruit new assistants in the middle of the year. So definitely are more opportunities to become research assistants or teaching assistants during the fall semester.
Sometimes, universities are flexible enough to allow you to complete your entire post-graduate degree in 3 semesters. If you can do that, you can start earning faster. But it is easier to graduate in three semesters if you are in the fall intake, since you will finish your course by the next spring semester, and will still have a few months before campus recruiting begins. In those months you could apply for an internship or any part-time job.
6. Job Opportunities
Job fairs and campus recruitments usually occur during the second year, which means you will have completed three semesters if are in the fall class, and two semesters for the spring class. Those who have spent three semesters will have more advantage over those with two semesters because that extra semester will boost your profile, enhance your CV as you have finished more projects, have more leadership roles, did more activities etc. These little extras will help you gain an advantage over those from the spring semester.
7. Extracurricular Activities
If you give a lot of importance to extracurricular activities, joining organizations and student clubs, then applying for the fall semester may be the best option. It will be quite difficult to shoulder leadership roles in student clubs if you join the excitement later on. But if your aim is to just be a part of an organization, then it doesn’t matter much.
Whether you will be issued a student visa or not depends entirely on your overall profile, and your university profile, and not on when you choose to apply. So you are safe to apply for a visa no matter what intake you choose.
Most students apply for the fall intake since by then, they have finished their undergrad degree. But then, it is not the universal case and students need more time to settle down. If you feel you are not ready to start studies by September, then there is no point in hurrying your applications.
The conclusive answer is simple: it depends entirely on you. It all depends on what you need and what are your future plans. First be clear about what you expect out of the college education when you want to apply for a job as you are the best judge of your career. There is no harm in applying to any intake season.