U.S. Universities Academic sessions
The US academic year is usually divided into 4 semesters – fall, winter, spring and summer. The semesters are usually 13 weeks long. The fall semester starts somewhere between August and September and ends in late December or early January. The spring semester starts in January and ends in May.
The summer semester starts in late May or early June and ends just before the fall semester begins.
Not all universities have a winter semester but if they do, it is a very short semester squeezed between the fall and the spring semesters.
Most universities in the U.S. accept applications only two times in a calendar year for the fall and the spring semesters of the academic year. Also, some universities only entertain applications for the fall semester. The application process for the fall semester usually starts one year before your joining during October and ends on December or January. Generally students are in dilemma whether to apply for fall or Spring Semester.
In spring courses are tough, less Internship and job opportunities, less chances to get aid and part time jobs. Fewer intakes in spring, so not many courses will be offered. Getting internships will be easier. Seats are limited for spring admission. More pressure on students since courses will be tough.
It is better to apply for fall semester unless there are some exceptional circumstances. Applying for fall offers following benefits:
1. More chances of getting a financial aid.
2. The academic year in US Universities begins with the fall semester, so there are more seats available in fall and hence more chances of admission being granted.
3. Most core courses are offered in fall. So if you enrol in a spring session, you may find it a little difficult to plan your coursework.