Last Updated: July 10, 2021

Fall and Spring Semester: An Overview

Candidates applying to colleges are often confused regarding the different semesters offered. The three different semesters offered by universities are called the Summer, Fall, and Spring semesters and they have been named based on the seasons of the year. While two of these semesters have four months each, the third one has a total of three months in all according to the academic calendar.

The Fall and Spring semesters are the only semesters where colleges offer admission to candidates. This is due to the diverse nature of the applicants during different times of the year and the number of procedures they have to complete in order to get admission. The duration for the release of results, obtaining certificates, transcripts, etc. take time and can impact which semester the candidate can enroll in.

Explaining the Three Semesters

The three semesters offered by universities in the US are Summer, Fall, and Spring semesters. Although named after the seasons of the year, their duration is separate from that of the seasons. The four main seasons in the US are: There are only three semesters in the colleges. Their duration is different from that of the seasons. This is a general breakdown of the semesters and they can span a few weeks on either side. Most students apply for the Fall intake as their Undergraduate program finishes in June and Fall semesters begin in September which makes it convenient for enrollment in colleges unless they take a break from the typical pattern for specific reasons like work experience or other personal issues.

Comparing the Fall Semester and Spring Semester

Candidates who wish to apply for courses in the US will often choose one of the semesters according to their convenience rather than the benefits of enrolling in a particular semester. This is due to the strenuous processes involved in the admission application. Most candidates will be looking to go abroad for their higher studies making them wait for their results and original certificates. The time duration candidates have to wait for receiving these documents can vary from country to country and even within a country it can vary from institution to institution. The processing delay of their results will by extension cause a delay in the visa registration.

Most often, candidates will aspire to apply for the Fall semester since this will not make them lose a year and will offer them enough time inside the new campus to know the place better and adjust to the surroundings before their summer break. But though this is the ideal scenario, most candidates will not be able to make it for the Fall semester and will end up applying for the Spring Semester by when all their documentation would have been completed and they will be able to travel with no other concerns.

The other factor that candidates will have to consider is, while all colleges open applications in the Fall semester, a few many colleges do not open admission applications in the Spring Semester. The candidates who are looking for specific courses in particular universities will have to ensure that they are offering a Spring intake for the said course. Opting for the Spring semester, if it is available, offers candidates enough time to prepare for examinations like SAT, GRE, TOEFL, or IELTS according to their requirements.

Pointers on Fall and Spring Semesters

As mentioned above, the choice of a semester cannot be a life-changing aspect while being an international student as long as the candidate is otherwise prepared to study and excel in their course of choice. Objectively, candidates who join in the Fall semester might seem to have an added advantage over the students in the Spring semester but the added advantage only comes into play under rare circumstances since students plan on only doing their part and ultimately in a classroom, it will be a team spirit that matters rather than competition. The pointers comparing Fall and Spring semesters are-

Positives of Fall Intake & Negatives of Spring Intake

Just as there are two sides to an argument, there are different views regarding the benefits of joining either in the Fall semester or the Spring Semester. Understanding both merits and demerits of the semesters will be beneficial in making the decision regarding the candidate’s future course of study.

Fall Semester vs Spring Semester- Conclusion

While applying abroad, though initially, candidates might feel like they have to apply for a particular semester, this might not be how things turn out to be. It is often better to leave an open mind regarding the semester one will be able to enroll in and focus on the procedures of getting there and fitting in so that the candidate will be able to excel in their field of study. Ultimately, the semesters do not matter but the effort that the candidate puts into studying is the only thing that matters.


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