Which Intake to Choose: Fall or spring?

A constant refrain among students is the unfailing debate of the fall v/s spring admissions. We at Admit Abroad would like to throw light on this debate with you.  However, 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.

Firstly, it is not easy to accommodate too many students in a single semester. Most international universities receive thousands of applications every year, it therefore becomes very difficult for them to admit so many students at a time. With two intakes, they are able to do justice to the best applications that they receive.

Secondly, the universities take into consideration the various reasons why many students do not have the option to apply for the fall season by facilitating an admission during spring.


Let us now compare the fall and spring Intakes.

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. So, if you wish to apply for the spring season, you should do a 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.

In many cases, universities have allotted quotas of admissions for each semester.   In most cases the Fall intake is always bigger and therefore the above average students get a better chance of admission during the fall.  Also, Universities 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.

Another reason in favour of the fall admission is that , 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 start of the academic year and do not recruit new assistants in the middle of the year.  Therefore, opportunities for obtaining Research Assistantships are more at fall.

Sometimes, some universities are flexible and allow you to complete your entire post-graduate degree in 3 semesters. If you can do that, you can start earning faster. However, 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 to yourself  before campus recruiting begins. This in between time can be fruitfully used to apply for an internship or any part-time job.

All Job fairs and campus recruitments usually occur during 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 exhibit additional experience on your profile.  It will enhance your CV as you would have completed more projects, and participated in more activities. These little extras will help you gain advantage over students from the spring semester.

Some students like to play active role in extracurricular activities. If you belong to that category, then applying for 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.

The general tendency of students is to apply in fall since they have completed their undergrad degrees in May and have ample time to prepare themselves for the fall semester. However, it’s not a mandate. Some students even take up a long internship before they leave or even take a while to be ready to start studies by September. Please do not hurry yourself. You can do a great job even by going in spring.