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Spring or Fall Semester: When to Apply?

Published On: 25 Jun 2012 | Last Updated On: 27 Mar 2013

When it comes to studying abroad, most students are confused whether to apply for the spring or fall semester. Most foreign universities commence their courses with the spring or fall semesters. Students have various questions regarding the similarity and differences between these two semesters. The following will hopefully clear your doubts.

Duration of the semesters:

The spring semester in most universities is from January to May and the fall semester from September to December. The exact dates of commencement may vary from one university to the other. Certain universities start the spring semester in February and the fall semester in August. Hence it is very important for students to do a thorough research on the dates of course commencement in the universities of their choice.

Availability of seats:

Students must take note of the limited seats offered by most universities during the spring semester. Most universities entertain applications only during the fall semester. Therefore, the intake during the fall semester is naturally higher when compared to the spring semester.

Financial Aid:

Many universities do not provide for scholarships or financial aids during the spring semester. If you are an international student in need of financial aid, it would be wise to research on the support provided by the universities. Most universities have scholarship deadlines for programs beginning in the fall semester. This does not mean that the students studying in the spring semester receive no financial aid. The chances are higher in the fall semester.


Although every student stands a chance to obtain internship in either semester, the chances are higher during summer. The eligibility and rules for international students seeking internships also vary across schools. Most schools allow their students to apply for an internship on completing 2 semesters and in some cases 18 credits. Since the holiday period in fall semesters is longer, doing an internship in fall is more feasible.


Most core subjects are offered in the fall semester. Therefore enrolling in spring would mean difficulty in planning your coursework.


The visa process has got nothing to do with the choice of the semesters. If you have the right qualification, needed documents and a set plan, you will receive your visa.

Here are the steps that will help you plan well for spring and fall 2013.

Spring 2013 Admission Plan

Steps to Follow

 Ideal Time

Latest by

Research for Information

Nov 2011–Feb 2012

Early March 2012


Nov 2011–Feb 2012

End of March 2012


Feb 2012–Mar 2012

Early April 2012

Short Listing Universities

Mar 2012–Apr 2012

End of April 2012

Documentation Process

Apr  2012–Jun 2012

End of June 2012

Application Process

Jul  2012–Sept 2012

End of August 2012

Confirmation from University

Jul 2012–Dec 2012

Mid December 2012

Visa Process

Dec 2012–Jan 2013

1st Week Jan 2013


End of Dec 2012

2nd Week Jan 2013

Classes Commence

Mid Jan 2013

4th Week of Jan 2013

 Fall 2013 Admission Plan

Steps to Follow

 Ideal Time

Latest by

Research for Information

Jan 2012–April 2012

Early May 2012


March 2012–Oct 2012

End of Oct 2012


Aug 2012–Oct 2012

Early Nov 2012

Short Listing Universities

Oct 2012–Nov 2012

End of Nov 2012

Documentation Process

Oct 2012–Jan 2013

End of  Jan 2013

Application Process

Feb 2013–April 2013

Early March 2013

Confirmation from University

Jan 2013–July 2013

Mid of July 2013

Visa Process

April  2013–July 2013

Late July 2013


End of July 2013

Early Aug 2013

Classes Commence

Min Aug 2013

4th Week of Aug 2013

The chances only seem brighter in fall in all matters when compared to spring. Make a wise choice as per your needs and chose the semester that serves you best.

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