Should I apply for Fall or Spring? Advantages of Fall vs Spring for Scholarships, TAs, RAs, etc.?

by Kumar · 33 comments

When you choose to apply to US Universities for Masters or PhD program, depending on the time of graduation and taking of GRE and TOEFL, students are often caught between decision to apply for Fall or Spring. There are some misconceptions among students too about admissions and visas like : “ Is it easy to get admission in Spring ?  Will visa stamping be easier in Spring ? Many visas get rejected in Fall ? , etc”. This article will focus on some of the advantages of fall and when is it advisable to apply either Fall or Spring.Fall vs Spring Advantages

Scholarships, Fellowships, Assistantships in Fall vs Spring :

One of the most important things for admission are funding of any sort.  I am sure you are familiar with academic year and when it starts and ends. Typically for High School or 12th grade. Typically, it starts anywhere between July – August and ends anywhere between March or May next year. It varies by country. Same case applies to Masters or Bachelors program in US Universities. The academic year starts in August and ends in May for most of the schools.  Summer is optional and many students end up working in internships or in summer jobs of any kind to earn some money for school.

Most of the scholarships, Fellowships, Teaching assistantships and Research Assistantships are  given to students for one academic year. It may vary for TA, RA and GAs based on the offering of classes, but most of the Scholarships and Fellowships for sure are awarded in fall for one year.  What does that mean ? There will be less funding chances in Spring.  One more logical thing, most of the students start their college in Fall and Graduate in Spring. From TA, RA and GAs perspective, there is a high chance of senior students graduating and you have more opportunities for funding.   Fundamentally, most of the students try to continue in the regular academic year schedule that they are used to since high school unless they mess up something or take additional time or break for specific reasons.

Course Offerings Fall vs Spring :

Another important thing about course offerings in Fall and Spring. Most of the classes that are offered in Fall are pre-requisites for courses offered in Spring. Typically, class schedules are planned with a progression of starting in Fall and continuing the course work in Spring. Most of these Fall classes are offered once in an year and they have set schedules like this particular course will be in Fall and others will be only offered in Spring. If you apply for spring and come to US, you have a disadvantage in choosing your classes. You may not be following the usual University class schedule plan.

Class students’ Dynamics Fall vs Spring :

Another important thing is, the students who are in the classes that you take in Spring are one semester ahead of you if you are starting fresh in Spring. You may have the disadvantage of choosing students for group projects because students in fall would already have their group project teams select. There is no hard set rule. It is just a flexibility thing. If you know the people and team you worked with, you prefer to work with those students in rest of the class projects too.

Student Organizations and Involvement :

If you like to be part of any student organizations on campus, Fall is when most of the recruiting for the student organizations is done. Many organizations plan their activities for an academic year with events kick off starting in Fall. Also, if you plan to run for any position like President or Treasure in an organization, Elections for organizations happen typically at the end of Spring, so that new leaders are ready for fall. If you are starting in Spring,  you do not know how the organizations work; people in student organization do not know you as a person; you may have hard time winning the election because of lack of network in the organization.

Campus Jobs Fall vs Spring :

Most of the on campus jobs are filled in Fall, due to the fact that most of the students leave the  University by graduating in Summer or Spring. Also, new positions may be available due to expansion of any facilities that kick off in Fall.

Finding Summer Internships advantages of Fall :

Summer internships chances are more favorable for students who come to US in fall because they would have completed half of their coursework and have enough qualifications. You know your professors better and they can give you better recommendations. If you come in Fall, you get to know the system well in US, network by joining few student organizations and increase your chances for Summer internships. You will have a good resume too because you have lot of things of class work, leadership and volunteering skills you can add to make your resume stronger. Also, check Working CPT vs OPT

Weather if you plan to attend schools in Northern States:

This is not a big deal, but if you are coming from a warm country with 70 – 80 F ( 21 C to 27 Celsius), it would be a challenge to adjust to the cold temperatures in Northern states with Snow and freezing temperatures of -20 F to 20 F ( -29 C to  – 6 Celsius ). This may not  necessarily apply for Southern states.

Is it really so BAD or Disadvantage to come to US in Spring ?

No, not really. All the stuff said above, are the advantages of applying for Fall and stuff you may be at disadvantage in comparison. For some reason, you had to take a break or you could not come to US for fall, you should NOT waste another 7 – 8 Months of your career, just for these advantages. The goal of my explanation is for all of those who have a choice to plan ahead of time to apply for Fall and Come to US for Fall. If you miss Fall for some reason, do not worry. There are always chances and you have to work a little smarter and harder to get the opportunities.

What do you think? Fall or  Spring ? Anything to add to this article ?

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

narendra September 12, 2014 at 12:42 am

If i write the gre and tofel exam in novenber can i apply for the fall session

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shailaja August 29, 2014 at 10:30 am

i want to write my gre in octember ,but i didnt apply for slot if i apply now i wil get slot in octember ha .if i wrte -gre exam in nov i wil get scholarship pls help out.

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Ravi August 9, 2014 at 3:09 am

Hi Kumar
I am a 2014 passout I’ve just stared working .. would it be possible for me to prepare for GRE and TOEFL in a month.. So that i can apply for Fall 2015.
Pls guide me.
Thanks in advance.

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tanmay May 12, 2014 at 6:02 am

How much does being an year-down student during BE matter during the admissions for MS..??
Though my aggregate is around 55 right now..thats like a 7+ cgpa from my Pune university..hopes are that it’ll raise by the end of my BE course. Presently I am in the third year of my engg course pursuing a degree in Electronics and Telecommunication.

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sandeep kumar March 3, 2014 at 1:24 am

hii kumar..myself im uday..im pursuing my btech final year..im too greedy of doing ms in us..the first time i hav taken my GRE i was not satishfied with my score..so want to retake again..but by the time i take GRE and then TOEFEL i would end somewhere between 1st week of january..i heard from my frns that admissions for fall 2014 hav started and likely to end up in mid of january of 1st week of feb in order to get some sort of financial aid..i have no problem of starting my course in spring 2015 but afraid of whether i would get financial aid in spring or not because it is the only prior reason with which i scheduled my course to spring..if i would apply well advance for spring dont i have a chance for funding.?and aa the part time jobs closed for spring admittants as dey wd be fill up by fall admittants prior.?pls pls do reply my post..eagerly waiting for your reply..thanx well in advance..:)

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saumil January 27, 2014 at 8:50 am

That was much useful, thanks for posting

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aanchal November 24, 2013 at 10:27 pm

i have completed my masters in biotechnology this year..i am looking forward to apply for stipned Ph.D. does any university grants admission in spring too?? or only in fall?

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Saakshi November 6, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Okay so i’m currently in A-levels(12th grade) studying Psychology and Business. The teachers and classes are absolutely useless to attend, I self study most of the time. I took this break thinking it will be better.. But right now I’m considering to join an American university in the Spring Semester after completing my AS exams . I’m not sure whether it would be worthwhile.
Help would be appreciated !
Cheers
x

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Piyush Upadhyay September 9, 2013 at 3:03 am

Hi,

I am a working professionals in TCS having 1.2 years of experience.I started my weekend preparations in September.Initially thought of giving GRE in November.But,being prepaertion not up to the mark,forcing me to stop giving exam till october.
1) Will it be good if I go for spring?
2) Will I be able to get good colleges in US if i go for Spring and apply for Embedded or CS field?
3) As told above that Fall is better in various perspectives, what if I go for another countries?
Are there good colleges in other countries too?If yes,Can i have the name of them for Spring intake.

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swathi July 31, 2013 at 6:51 am

I am a BE graduate(2013),I am from a middle class family.I have an aggregate of 75% in degree, 83% in 12th and 96% in 10th. Can I expect an admission from top universities? Please tell me the detailed procedure step by step for doing MS. How can i get financial aid? Is this an ideal time for MS?does the spring effects any placements?Please help.

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Palash June 10, 2013 at 1:24 am

Is it true that, nowadays people don’t get scholarships for doing MS in US????

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Gourav Agrawal June 2, 2013 at 3:06 am

Hello
My Only Question is
I am still confused in Rise, Fall and Spring
Can you explain me clearly about these

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Anurag Shendge June 2, 2013 at 3:35 am

There is no thing as RISE.
Fall referes to AUg-Sept, Spring refers to Jan-Feb timelline

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rohit June 1, 2013 at 3:24 pm

HI….
I want to take a admission for MIS but i am e&tc engg.so i have any chance to take admission for MIS.if yes then what i want to do.please tell me….

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Anurag March 20, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Hi,
The post was really helpful,especially the last paragraph.I am planning for Spring 14 in Computer science(Information Security/Networking). I do not want to waste another 7 months of my career . Although I have a Job at hand(I am as of now in my final Engg Semester) but I do not at all want to join it.So will it be advisable to attend a spring course?

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Manoj April 11, 2013 at 6:30 am

hi dude i am also planning for the same spring 2014(Information Security), I think you have done some ground work regarding university’s, If so please mail me the best colleges for Info Security. Mail me @ popurimanoj gamil. com
come on yar we have the same goal …………..

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rupesh June 5, 2013 at 3:13 pm

hey anurag !! even i was looking for networking/information security…can you please mail me the universities you found to rupeshwood gmail.com…

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sirisha chowdary December 4, 2013 at 11:20 am

hey…pls visit happy schools blog…it can answer all your quaries…
you can visit it in fb too..

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Sangit Barua March 2, 2013 at 1:10 am

It is a very good process. Pls notify me for any comment and answer in my email.

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Robby January 17, 2013 at 2:50 am

Good

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Swathi January 14, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Hi,

I am planning to persue my masters in computer science.
I have a engineering score of 72%, no backlogs, one year experiance working in sap, gre score of 286/340, toefl score 92/120. Do you think I can get into any normal ranked universities in California? Can u please suggest me, if I am eligible to apply to sjsu, csueb, scsu, university of san fransisco ? I am planning to apply for fall 2013 batch.

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Neha December 1, 2012 at 2:30 am

Hi kumar,
I’ve completed my B.E , 2011. I”m currently working in a decent MNC company for a year now. I’m very much interested pursuing MBA in US. I’m preparing for GMAT and planning to start the course by 2014 if every thing goes well.. I’m worried that my undergraduate CGPA isn’t very good. How can I overcome this and get an admission in a decent college for MBA? Will high GMAT score be able to cover this?

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uday November 16, 2012 at 12:53 pm

hii kumar..myself im uday..im pursuing my btech final year..im too greedy of doing ms in us..the first time i hav taken my GRE i was not satishfied with my score..so want to retake again..but by the time i take GRE and then TOEFEL i would end somewhere between 1st week of january..i heard from my frns that admissions for fall 2013 hav started and likely to end up in mid of january of 1st week of feb in order to get some sort of financial aid..i have no problem of starting my course in spring 2014 but afraid of whether i would get financial aid in spring or not because it is the only prior reason with which i scheduled my course to spring..if i would apply well advance for spring dont i have a chance for funding.?and aa the part time jobs closed for spring admittants as dey wd be fill up by fall admittants prior.?pls pls do reply my post..eagerly waiting for your reply..thanx well in advance..:)

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sam June 8, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Dont you think you should improve your english

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radhakrishna May 11, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Hi Kumar,

I am a 2010 passout .done my BTech from VIT University.
In my engineering I never understood the value of exams and CGPA. I never cared for them.
And the result is I am left with 15 backlogs only in first four semisters.Then I realized what I was missing..from then I cleared all the papers in first attempt and finally secured 7.4CGPA.
My question is , If I get a descent score of about 1300 + , is there a chance to get into a Very Good University ? will my score covers all my backlogs?
Will these backlogs have any effect in University selection?
I am very much worried about these Backlogs..Rescently I started my preparation for GRE and planning to fly by 2013 fall.
Please Clarify my doubt.

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Ritesh July 12, 2011 at 7:49 am

hi kumar
I am now studying in last year BE (IT) . i want to join in for fall admissions ,but prob is I have less than 4 months to give GRE so i am worried should i give GRE within 4 months or aim for Spring admissions . My BE marks are not that good and i had 8 backlogs in my carrier till now (in these 3 years) . So can u tell me what score should i get to get admission to good University in US for CS.
Plzz reply need help.
Thank you.

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Alekhya June 13, 2011 at 10:13 pm

hii frds.. I have just completed my B.Tech n have a small doubt about revised pattern of GRE. hey if we write GRE in aug, we will b getting the score on nov-8th.. so can we apply in nov to colleges for spring? can we get the I20 and admission by time? some plz reply me. Thanx in advance :)

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santosh October 4, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Does the universities divide their scholarship amount equally in fall and spring…?

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Kumar October 5, 2010 at 12:55 am

Santosh, Scholarships do not work like that….It all depends on the scholarship type and the endowment for the scholarship. Typically, there are more scholarships available for Fall as the academic year starts from Fall.

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karthi June 23, 2010 at 8:55 am

Hi Kumar,
i would like to know ur opinion on these things
> i am planning for jan-11(spring). what is the best time to apply for gre?
> what would be the reasonable score for gre/toefl to recieve an aid?

thank you,
karthi

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Kumar June 23, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Karthi, The sooner the better. Check this Sample schedule for Spring 2011
Score wise, the more the better. Anything over 1400 would be ideal score.

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Rakesh February 2, 2010 at 12:16 am

Hi Kumar,

I always dream of studying/working in the US. I’m working for one of the largest Indian MNCs for the past 2yr 6months. At first, i thought i will get an H1B for 2011 and work in the US. But, i was not selected for the H1B elite group that my company picked up for this year. I have to wait for 2012 and again, there is no surity as such. As per new rules of H1B(employee-employer relation doc), i don’t have hopes on any consultancy if they could secure me a visa and good job.

With all these thoughts in my mind, i again recollected my desire for studying in the US. One of my elders suggested me to do MS from a very good university which offers campus placements. can you please give your opinion on this. And also please answer the below queries.

1. Since i got a 3+ years(by the time i apply for Universities) of experience, how would it add to my chances of getting admission into a V.Good university
2. I did not take GRE yet. what score should i target for? Ofcourse, everyone will try to score over 1400. But, what would be a decent score to get into VGood university, considering my experience.
3. My B.E. aggregate is 70.1% , Intermediate – 96.3%, 10th – 89.8%. How does these help in getting admission as well as scholarship. By the way, I’m planning for Jan 2011(spring) as fall 2010 admissions are already started.

Please help.
Thanks In Advance,
Rakesh

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Kumar February 2, 2010 at 1:51 am

Rakesh, I understand your situation. You will have to be clear on your goal before you decide anything. Work in US or may be just study and get PhD, etc. With visa rules be realistic on your work vs study goals.

First thing, your experience will help for MBA, I do not know if it makes a difference for MS. Honestly, I do not exactly know about MS if they consider your work experience. They may, but I do not know. Other thing is, your research experience in B.tech or any publications is a plus though for MS admission. As I said, MS vs MBA in the article http://redbus2us.com/2009/12/should-i-studyapply-for-ms-or-mba-in-us-after-b-tech-b-com-mba-vs-ms-fees-degree-focus-and-funding-issues-explained.html see the differences.

About score, decent would be around 1300. Anything less will slim your chances of good Univ ( You are asking for GOOD universities) . About 10th and Inter percentage, no one cares about them for the most part in most of the universities. Only B.tech is what matters.

Hope it helps,

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