MS in US: Myths and Misconceptions About The Spring Intake
Spring is one of the two large admissions intake seasons in the US, other one being the Fall intake.
Fall semester starts in late August and ends in late December/early January whereas the Spring semester begins in January and ends in early May.
Most of the students applying for the Fall intake will finish their undergraduate program in June. Fall semesters, begin in September which makes it convenient for higher education unless they take a break for specific reasons like work experience or other personal issues.
Myths and misconceptions surrounding the spring admission season.
With a lot of talk going around, you might have come across one or two of your seniors, peers and maybe even juniors who have repeated “Fall admission season is better than Spring”, these rumors, however, are based on half-truths and complete lies. Before we move on further, let’s have a look at the categories that make up Spring Intake aspirant body.
There are usually two types of MS aspirants applying for Spring intake:
- Working professionals and
- Graduate students who passed out that year.
The overall number of students planning for higher education in the US can be classified into three groups:
- Currently in college
- Working professional
- Passed out and applying for universities
So, it can be presumed that students who are currently in college aren’t very enthusiastic about going for Spring admission. This means less competition and can most definitely work in favour of those applying for Spring (more about that as we go into details).
Without further ado, we will jump into the pros and cons for Spring admission season. We will try to answer all of your doubts and queries by picking up a few of the commonly asked questions and debunking them.
University Intake and courses offered
Myth: Less intake and hence fewer courses will be offered.
Although the intake is less, the number of courses offered is equal to that of Fall. Students who join in Fall have to continue their classes in Spring. So, it makes no sense for Universities to offer less number of courses in Spring Semester as compared to Fall. Although some of the courses offered during Fall are sometimes not available for Spring admission season. You have to make sure that the core courses applicable to your specialization are available during Spring too. As far as optional courses are concerned you can take up courses during Fall semester also. Additionally, all Masters students have to complete at least summer, Fall and Spring semesters. Hence, Fall applicants will have the same number of courses as Spring applicants.
The curriculum is designed in a way that those who are going for Spring is provided the same educational facility as those who are going for Fall admission season. It is observed that the number of aspirants applying for Fall is much higher as compared to Spring. As seen above, a huge chunk of students who are in college won’t be applying, which translates into less competition. This is one such advantage that students applying for Spring enjoy.
Chances of getting a Spring admit
Myth: Spring admits are difficult.
The number of seats is comparatively less than fall but that doesn’t mean that admits are difficult, in reality, the number of applications is also less. The competition might be slightly less than fall since the current final students who are in the 7th semester will not apply which is the major chunk of students, hence chances of getting an admit for spring semester are actually pretty good.
Eligibility for internships
Myth: Spring admitted students are not eligible for internships like CPT (Curricular Practical Training).
One of the biggest misconceptions. This stems from the rule that “you are not allowed to go for an internship without completing at least two semesters of your course”. However, for a graduate student who is enrolled in a program that requires immediate participation in CPT you can go for an internship during summer, even if you are admitted in the Spring intake.
Scholarships and financial aid for Spring applicants
Myth: Fewer options for financial aid.
Scholarships and financial aids are one of the most important criteria for deciding on the admission season. Did you know 100% scholarships are no longer a myth? There are enough funding options available for Spring semester students as well, but there are more opportunities during Fall when compared to Spring since the on-campus jobs and financial aid options open up during the Fall semester intake. Research and Teaching Assistantships depend on your skills and research experience. Although you have to approach the professor and other faculty members from your area of interest.
If you have the right profile, you are sure to get a financial aid irrespective of the admission season, whether Fall or Spring.
Myth: VISAs are provided on a first come first served basis.
F1 VISA doesn’t depend on which season you’ve been admitted or when you have received your admit. VISAs are provided on a fair basis of eligibility and qualification. If you have the right qualification, your VISA will most likely be approved. Your chances of obtaining a US VISA neither increases nor decreases by being a Spring student.
Another question that creeps up many a time is:
Most universities are not available for spring intake. Only low ranked ones are open.
The number of universities which are open is less compared to Fall intake, but that doesn’t mean that only low ranked universities are open.
The likes of Columbia University, Purdue University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Cornell and University of Illinois Urbana Champaign and many other prestigious universities have courses for civil, mechanical, computer science and MIS among other branches, open for the Spring intake.
These are quite a few reasons why someone chooses to apply to a university.
- the ranking for that particular course/field
- research work and
- the job opportunities.
If you fall in the above category, there are plenty of options to look for in Spring. There are a lot of good and even top universities offering courses for popular branches for the spring admission season.
You may not know that the university you are looking for is open for Spring until you start planning your admissions. So get started with your admission preparations, viz. university selection and shortlisting etc.
If the university you’re looking for is open for Spring, why waste another 6 months. Prepare a spring calendar and stick to it. One thing which we saw among our students in the past is that those who are well planned are the ones who make a better decision, so we would suggest you start applying to universities beforehand to be ahead of the race.
In conclusion, we would like to say that if you belong to the working professional or out of campus and done with your bachelor’s category then Spring is a good intake for you. Being a working professional you need not wait for another 6 to 8 months to go to the same university or same range of universities.
Feel free to use the comment box below to ask any questions and queries, we would be glad to address them. Happy learning with GREedge.