Getting into the overseas universities isn't a cakewalk. A major chunk believes that GRE score is the breakthrough element in the applications while the toppers leverage on the stunning academics. Then comes the lot who, despite having poor academics and test scores, manages their way into the top schools using the make/break parameter - Statement of Purpose (SoP). Some get through recommendations while a couple of smart chaps apply way before the deadline (early bird catches the worm). And before we rack our brains towards the unsaid factor - LUCK, there's, of course, the SEASON which equally matters a lot.
In most cases, students have always preferred the Fall over the Spring at the time of applications. While your seniors might have said "Sab log Fall mein hi jaate hai".
Here are some of the vital reasons to prefer Fall intake -
SPRING vs FALL ADMISSIONS
US has over 3000 universities but at the time of application, a candidate doesn't look beyond 70 to 100 universities. Out of these, around 35% universities do not offer Spring admission. So, an applicant who has decided to go for the Spring misses on some of the fantastic universities which s/he could made it under the Fall season.
Every university offers Fall admission.
Chances to get into any college, be it India or abroad, is always proportional to the intake. Spring admissions have terribly low intake and thus, only the best of the profiles get in. Spring intake is one of the common reasons which deters a student not to go for this season.
A similar profile, which has brilliant chances in the Fall, may be be rejected at Spring.
Many applicants are unaware of the fact that once you complete 9 months (some universities allow after 2 semesters while some follow 18 credits) of the Masters course, you're allowed to do an internship. Now, that's law and you can't play with it. This means when you enter the Spring (January), the internship phase - June to August - becomes 'useless' and hence, most applicants settle with some Assistantships or Project building sessions which do not fetch you any money. Winter internship isn't a popular trend and companies do not recruit any student that time.
Moreover, internship is an important phase in the Masters journey because
- You make some noteworthy dollars in those three months which is an asset to fund your last 1/2 semesters.
- Chances of the final placement offer (if not, atleast an interview opportunity) from the same company.
Most core courses are offered in Fall. So, if you enroll in a Spring session, you may find it a little difficult to plan your coursework which will indirectly affect your performance during the Masters course. Finding the right projects, ideal internships and final placements are a lot dependent on the kind of subjects that you choose.
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.
Spring deadlines, generally, hover around the month of July/August. If you're looking for recommendations from your undergrad college professors, make sure they're in and around the college in the month of May/June. Some teachers might go on a holiday (Yay, summer vacations) while some will be extremely busy with the semester exams. Same goes with the transcripts.
If you manage all the paper work before time (most don't), then you're good to go.
This section is broad and important. Some of the noteable factors here are -
While it's good to romanticise about snowfall in the States after watching a couple of hollywood flicks, the fact is that when you enter the country in Spring, you'll be facing one of the coldest months. The temperatures drop to as low as -30 degrees in the Northern regions like Michigan and Minnesota. Weather in other regions, too, looms over -8 to -12 degrees which is VERY cold for Indian standards. Acclimatising is a must. There have been cases in the past where students have come back to India because they could not adjust to the sheer cold weather in Spring.
GROUPS & PROJECTS
This is similar to First Year students and Diploma Entrants but not as weird as Indian colleges. Students who commence their course in Fall have already spent 6 months till Spring arrives and thus, adjusting to new faces and new set of people becomes kind of weird. What gets worse is choosing partners for projects, seminars and presentations as the Fall ones are already booked.
RAPPORT WITH PROFESSORS
Students who enter the Spring season loose out on one of the most crucial factors - Rapport Building with Professors. American culture is extremely modern and professors are equally excited to meet new students. While Fall applicants may have built a solid heart-to-heart connection which might lead to a good recommendation, followed by some research assistantship and project guidance, Spring entrants might be treated 'second hand' unless, of course, they charm their teachers.
So, if you're one of those who are looking for Spring admissions, do not be discouraged after reading this article. Know your university, respective department, interact with seniors and you might be able to mingle with them easily. For students who come under 'I-don't-know-what-to-do-after-college-and-let's-go-to-the-States-in-Spring', I'm sure this post will make a difference.
Note: The above mentioned reasons/points are based on judgments and observations and not on any factual data. Also, this is not an exhaustive list and it would be great if you could drop in your suggestions as well (Check comment box below).