Spring Semester Vs Fall Semester
You know your interests, you know what you want to study, you know which university to study in USA, you know what you want to achieve, but often we find students stuckin making a simple decision- which semester to apply for: Fall semester or Spring semester? These two semesters, although part of same year, can differ in some areas. So, how are they different from each other and what are their specialties?
Let’s see how to choose the best semester to apply for.
We know you are in a rush, you want to land in USA soon as possible. But few things are highly recommended to take into consideration before you choose the semester you want to apply for.
The universities in USA work independently; however, majority of them follow a two semester academic calendar- Fall and Spring semester.
What Is Fall Semester?
Fall semester generally starts from August and runs till December, and is basically the first semester of an academic year.
To start with, let’s point out one of the most important things a student looks for while applying to an American university- the scholarship. A typical mindset most of Nepalese students have is that they get scholarships in Fall semester only and none in Spring.
Well, it might be true that higher number of scholarships are dispensed in Fall semester; scholarships such as full funding, full tuition for undergraduate and assistantships (full/partial) for graduate students. Since it is the beginning of the academic year, the universities seem to have more funds available to provide scholarships. This is the semester in which you can apply for those huge scholarships to save some money of your parents.
But one thing students often forget is that those scholarships are mostly competitive and have some competitive requirements such as their academic grades/percentages and SAT scores. Now, if one has not very high academic grades above and very low SAT score (eg: 65% and 1200 respectively), it does not make much sense waiting for August semester if you can still apply for Spring. Similarly, if you have high academic grades (such as 75% or more and 1400 or more in SAT), you have some chances to get up to full tuition, if not full ride. In the later case, if waiting for August means a huge chance of getting such huge funding, it is best to wait for August and get those scholarships because it will almost eliminate the burden or at least lessen your financial burden.
What Is Spring Semester?
Fall semester is followed by Spring semester, which is from January till May.
If the university does have funding available, Spring might have an equal number of scholarships. Mostly, Spring semesters do have some financial supports as well; it is very less likely to have full funding but basic scholarships and out-of-state tuition scholarships for undergraduate are still available in spring.
For graduate students, assistantships are provided in Fall and it can be not too easy to find one in spring; again depending on available funds. But again you do have to remember that they are highly competitive as well. A person with 325 in GRE or 650 in GMAT along with 75% in Bachelor’s degree with plenty of working experiences is more likely to be chosen for an assistantship than one with 63% in academics and let’s say 300 in GRE or 400 in GMAT. But then, there are other things that come into big role play as well, such as your statement of purpose, letter of recommendation and other credentials.
Spring Semester Vs Fall Semester
One good thing about Spring semester is that you have the summer vacation coming right after the first semester when you get the opportunity to work on campus for full time and gain a full time working experience.
Spring semester might have smaller number of courses provided in comparison to the Fall semester. Since Fall semester is the beginning of the academic year, it might have some pre-requisite classes that are not available in spring. It means you might not find equal number of classes in Spring since Classes are planned in the manner to start in Fall and continue in spring.
Another important thing to take into consideration is that not all universities have spring intake, which means you have lesser number of choices in choosing programs.
If you are looking for internships, one of the things you want to remember is that internships are provided in summer (May – August) and mostly you are required to have completed at least two semesters to qualify for them. Basically if you apply for Spring 2019, you will have to wait for Summer 2020 to get summer internship opportunity.