Which intake is better for Masters in US: Fall or Spring?

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The decision to apply to universities abroad is followed by a series of preparations that students need to undertake. Being a relatively new process, students are often plagued by a horde of questions and one such question is when to apply – during spring or fall? Students often wonder if applying for the fall season has many benefits and what are the pros and cons of applying for either of these intakes. Coming to a conclusion requires a comparative analysis of the various advantages and disadvantages, which can help the student to arrive at a well-planned and carefully thought out decision.

The following pointers can help you determine when to apply for fall intake and when to apply for spring intake:

  1. Check if the university offers both intakes
    It is important to ascertain whether the universities in question accept applications for both the seasons. Almost 75 percent of universities in the US do not have a spring intake for a majority of the courses. Thus, if you wish to apply for the spring intake, you should conduct a detailed research on the prospective universities, and find out whether they accept students in that season or not.
  2. Courses offered
    An advantage of applying during the fall intake is that there is comparatively a higher number of courses offered by a university as the number of applicants is higher during the fall semester. In spring, there are comparatively fewer students applying, and so the courses offered by the universities are also fewer. Thus, if you want to pursue a course which is relatively new and a rare choice of specialization, then there is a possibility that the course may not be offered in the spring semester. So, you must check your target universities if they offer the courses, especially if you are applying for the spring intake.
  3. Time for preparation
    More students apply for the fall intake since, by that time, they have already finished their undergrad degree. Since students from most countries complete their undergraduate course by May/June, they have a few months to relax and prepare for the fall semester, which begins in September.
  4. Chances of securing admission
    Acceptance rates usually do not depend on the semester you are applying for. However, since the class sizes are larger for the fall season, the number of admits during the fall term is greater. On the other hand, as there are fewer students who apply for the spring term, the chances of securing admission at the selected school tend to be higher than fall.
  5. Second Choices
    If you apply to a university in the fall semester, you at least have the option of trying again and applying for the spring semester if nothing works out for you. But you may lose out on such an opportunity if you only apply for the spring intake as the fall application deadlines may have passed.
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