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Fall Intake or Spring Intake: Which Round Should I Apply In?


International students have long been perplexed by the Fall vs Spring argument. Most international universities have two entrance intakes for all classes and courses every year. The Fall semester runs from September to December, while the Spring semester runs from January to May. Universities accept students in two separate intakes rather than simply one for two reasons.

For starters, accommodating too many students in a single semester is challenging. In addition, most international colleges receive thousands of applications each year, so admitting so many students at once will be a challenge. That is why an intake section has been established. International students would have the question of which intake to apply for admission.

Second, there may be a variety of reasons why many students are unable to apply for the Fall semester. As a result, institutions accept students who could not apply during the Fall semester. In essence, the majority of students apply for the Fall Intake as compared to the Spring Intake, which results in larger class sizes for the Fall semester.

Though there may not be significant differences between fall or spring intake in terms of education and research facilities, universities have for a long time adopted the practice of accepting students either in fall or spring intake. In contrast, a few schools have both intakes. But, with that out of the way, let’s talk about which intake you should apply for and why.

Which intake to apply for? - Spring intake 

Since students from most countries will be done with their undergraduate program by June/July every year, they will have limited time to get their act together and get ready for the fall semester, which usually begins in September.

Hence, it may be tough to begin a new course by September. Sometimes, students need more time to settle down and decide which intake to apply for, especially if they have an internship/job right after graduation.

Students often have job offers that they would like to try out, while some students have other personal commitments to attend to. Lastly, in some cases, students want some additional free time to break away from the cycle, take some rest, pursue a new course, develop new skills or take up a hobby that will help them in the future. The spring intake becomes the ideal gateway to the master's program in all these cases.

If you need a couple of months of a break to put all your application in place, then, by all means, go for it. Take your own time, and apply for the spring intake.

A great GRE /GMAT score coupled with a strong application is the gateway to your dream university. Sometimes, waiting a while and preparing to perfect your GMAT/GRE and application is worth it, especially if it lands you into your dream college. In this case, rather than losing out on a year and waiting for the next session, the spring intake can prove to be a viable option.

Which intake to apply for? Advantages of applying for the Fall season?

  • In certain universities, you can't apply for internships until you've completed two semesters, so if you started your MS in the spring, you might be out of luck.
  • Some institutions begin teaching fundamental courses in the fall and advanced courses in the spring, so it would be better to start with the basics and work your way up. A student might be confused to which intake to apply for. 
  • Fall admissions are substantially higher than Spring admissions. Therefore you may have a reasonable chance of getting in even if your GRE score is low.
  • Spring Admissions are not available at all universities. During the Fall season, the number of sources of financial aid is much higher.

Which intake to apply for? Advantages of applying for the Spring season

  • If you want to understand which intake to apply for then you can look for Spring season. Because fewer students may apply for Spring applications, your chances of being accepted may be better.
  • After completing your undergrad examinations, you can begin your MS program in the spring rather than waiting for admissions to open up in the fall.

Which Season Intake Should You Apply For?

Candidates applying for courses in the United States may often choose a semester based on their convenience rather than the advantages of enrolling in that semester. This is owing to the time-consuming procedures required in applying for admission.

As a result, most candidates will choose to pursue their higher education abroad, which will need them to wait for their results and original certificates. The time it takes for candidates to receive these documents varies from nation to country and even from institution to institution within a country. The delay in processing their results will, in turn, create a delay in student visa registration.

Most candidates prefer to apply for the Fall semester because it saves them a year and helps them spend more time on campus getting to know the place and adjusting to the surroundings before their summer break. However, while this is the ideal situation, most candidates will be unable to attend the Fall semester. Instead, they will enrol for the Spring semester, by which time all of their paperwork will be finished, and they will be ready to go without worry.

Another issue to consider is that, while all institutions accept applications in the Fall semester, a small number of universities do not accept applications in the Spring semester. Therefore, candidates interested in specific courses at specific universities should check to see if the courses are offered in the Spring semester. If the Spring semester is available, candidates will have enough time to prepare for exams such as the SAT, GRE, TOEFL, or IELTS in accordance with their needs.

Let's compare the spring and fall intakes:

1. University

You must first determine whether your preferred school accept applications for both seasons. For the Spring semester, a large number of top 100 colleges have no admissions openings. It's also not easy to determine which universities have varied intakes and which intake one should apply for which don't, as university websites resemble a convoluted maze.

Therefore, if you want to apply for the Spring semester, you need to conduct an extensive study to determine the available intakes. This should be done before you start preparing for examinations like the IELTS, TOEFL, or GMAT. This early judgment will assist you in determining whether you have sufficient time to prepare for the examinations.

2. Application procedure

You have to fill out an application online and submit the other application materials, such as letters of recommendation, GMAT/GRE, TOEFL/IELTS scores, college transcripts and admission essays /Statement of Purpose, just like people do in Fall intake. Hence there are limited differences in this regard when it comes to these two sessions.

3. Acceptance Rate

Many institutions have set admissions quotas for each semester. One might think about which intake to apply for, because the class sizes are substantially greater for the Fall Intake, you might have a better chance of being accepted. If your profile is exceptional, you will have a better chance of being accepted into the Spring Intake.

4. Internships opportunities

In many cases, universities are flexible enough to allow you to complete your entire degree in 3 semesters, which means you can get a jobs after degree or internship much earlier. You also get to save some money since you won’t be paying any tuition fees for the additional semester.

5. Assistantship

Because the academic year begins with the Fall semester, students will have greater options to get on-campus jobs and internships, particularly research-based courses. Many professors start their research at the beginning of the academic year and do not hire new assistants until the middle. During the Fall intake means semester, there will undoubtedly be additional opportunities to work as research assistants or teaching assistants.

6. Graduation

Universities sometimes allow you to finish your post-graduate degree in three semesters. If you can achieve that, you’ll be able to start earning money sooner. However, suppose you will enrol in the fall semester. In that case, it will be simpler to graduate in three semesters because you will complete your coursework by the following Spring semester and will still have a few months before campus recruitment begins. You could apply for an internship or other part-time employment during those months if you are unsure about which intake to apply for.

7. Visa

You may have heard rumours that it is easier to get a student visa during a fall intake. But these have no ground as your chances of getting a visa to depend on your overall profile, not the intake you apply in. Further, once you get admission from a school, it is rare to have your VISA rejected, no matter when you use it. Just make sure you take care of all the respective formalities required.

8. Financial Aid

Some federal financial aid programs are limitedly funded, and institutions may have exhausted all government allocated resources before the spring semester begins. Also, merit-based institutional scholarships for USA may be first come, first serve, or require students to apply by a deadline.

To keep a tab on the Financial resource, you are better advised to check the college site you want to apply to or even get in touch with the students’ ambassador or Admission Director to know more about the fall semester vs the spring semester.

9. Courses

In fall intake, as the number of incoming students is more as compared to spring intake, the courses taught are also high. So it is best advised to check with your target college in advance and make sure you aren’t missing out on an important course that might add more weight to the skill section of your resume. Here, deciding on the fall vs spring semester and which one to apply to becomes crucial.

10. Jobs after graduation

It is relatively easier to find internship opportunities in the fall as companies plan their recruitment accordingly. But companies for MiM do recruit students from Feb intake. Sometimes, students also take gap years, so a student starting in fall intake means could graduate with someone from spring intake. Hence finding a job or internship should not be an issue in the long run.

In conclusion, we believe there are various pros and cons of applying to B-schools for fall or spring intake but depending on how you plan, and it can easily be traversed.

11. Weather

This doesn’t seem to be a deal-breaker, but it’s something to think about. Because of weather conditions, if one is supposed to decide which intake to apply for, then temperatures can be extreme depending on where you want to study. If you plan to study in a state like California or Florida, where there is sunshine every day of the year, you will most likely be fine. However, if your desired university is located in the northern portion of the country and you arrive in January, you will be greeted by a mound of snow as soon as you enter the country.

12. Student Transfers

What if you were unable to gain admission to the university of your choice and were forced to settle for a lesser institution? Yes, once you’ve been accepted into a university, you have the opportunity to transfer to another. While the specifics of how to do so are outside the scope of this blog, you must know that the entire process could take many months. Therefore, in that scenario, you’d be better off going in the fall because if everything goes well, you’ll be able to transfer to another university the following semester. 

13. Readiness

The majority of students apply for the autumn semester because they have completed their undergraduate studies by then. But, it is not always true, and students may require more time to settle in. There’s no point rushing your applications if you don’t think you’ll be ready to start classes in September.

In conclusion, we believe there are various pros and cons of applying to B-schools for fall or spring intake but depending on how you plan, it can easily be traversed.

The B-Schools which accepts application for spring intake are as follows-

Sr. No. School Name Country Programme name
1 IE Business School Spain Master in Management
2 National Singapore of University:NUS Singapore MSc in Management
3 Singapore Management University Singapore MSc in Management
4 Ivey Business School Canada MSc in Management
5 IESEG School of Management France Master of Science in International Business
6 Grenoble Graduate School of Business France Master in International Business
7 HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management Germany MSc in Management
8 Maastricht University Netherlands Master in International Business
9 Australian National University Australia Master of Management
10 Melbourne Business School Australia Master in management
11 University of Sydney Australia Master in Management
12 Monash University Australia Master of management
13 Macquarie Graduate School of Management Australia Master of Management
14 Swinburne University of Technology Australia Master of Business Management
15 Sydney Business School, Australia Master of Business
16 La Trobe University Australia Master of Management
17 University of the Sunshine Coast Australia Master of Management
18 Aquinas College USA Master of Management
19 Barry University USA Master of Management
20 Bellevue University USA Master of Management
21 University of South Carolina, Moore USA Master in International Business
22 University of Maryland University College USA Master of International Management
23 Washington School of Business USA Master of Science in Management

The B-Schools which accepts application for fall intake are as follows-

Sr no. University Country
1. Harvard Business School United States
2. Stanford University United States
3. Kellogg School of Management United States
4. The Wharton School United States
5. Booth School, University of Chicago United States
6. Yale University United States
7. Kelley, Indiana University United States

Confused about which school would be a better fit for your career?

Take our Free Profile Evaluation to get an understanding of where you stand and which schools can be a good fit for you. Also, fall or spring intake which intake could be best for you.

Also, you may want to check out our Essay Editing to know how we can help you get admitted into your dream college.


So, before deciding which semester to apply for, you should consider the following factors. Even after reading all of these reasons, you might be unsure what you should do. And that’s perfectly fine. It will take some time. So, what you have to do is give it some serious thought.

But if you ask us what you should do, we’ll tell you that it’s entirely up to you.

Though it may appear from the points we discussed above that applying for the spring semester is a disadvantage, this is not the case. It all relies on what you require right now and what you intend to do in the future. And just because you have a tiny edge when applying for the autumn semester doesn’t mean you have to wait till then and squander your valuable time sitting at home or in an office you despise. If you genuinely cannot wait until the fall, or if you believe you would have the best chance if you apply in the spring, then go ahead!

Is it better to submit an application in the fall or the spring?

For each semester, many universities have set admissions quotas. Because Fall Intake has much larger class sizes, you may have a better chance of being accepted. If your profile is exceptional or above average, you’ll have a better chance of getting into the Spring Intake.

When should you submit your application for fall admission?

The Fall Intake typically begins in September and finishes in December. Because most institutions accept applications during this time, the fall intake is regarded as one of the best. The fall intake is particularly well-known among MBA and other full-time students.

Is there a distinction between September and January intake?

There is no difference between the qualifications you receive in January and September. If this is in the context of your first year of university, any months you miss because you started in January will delay your graduation by that amount of time. Two graduations would be held each year at such institutions.

Which is the better option for the US: fall or spring?

You should start applying 9-12 months before the intake date. The average time for a university in the United States to process an application is 8-10 weeks. Fall intake, on the other hand, is frequently preferable. Unfortunately, the Spring or Summer Intake is not available at all universities.

What is the fall intake in the United States?

Fall intake is the most popular in the United States, and most overseas students prefer it because it runs from August through December. It also gives students enough time to study for standardised tests and the application process in the United States.

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