Is it Better to Study Abroad in the Fall or Spring?

Is it Better to Study Abroad in the Fall or Spring?

Studying abroad can be one of the most important decisions in a student’s life. Enrolling in a foreign university provides world-class academic opportunities and international exposure. Students will also be exposed to people of different cultures, which can broaden their horizons.

However, students often ask themselves, is it better to study abroad in the fall or spring? The admission cycle, intake, and associated factors vary according to the season. So, it is best to evaluate all options before deciding to study abroad in the spring or fall.


Most universities follow a similar admission cycle, where the fall intake cycle is from August to December. Further, the spring cycle is from January to late March or May.

For example, US universities’ admission or intake cycle is divided into Fall or Spring.

  • The fall intake season starts at the end of August or September and ends in December. It is the most popular season for international students, as they get the most funding.
  • Also, most institutes like Harvard University, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, and Georgia Tech offer fall intake.
  • The spring intake season initiates in January and ends in May. Institutes like the University of New Haven, the University of California, San Jose State University, and Rochester Institute of Technology offer spring intake.

Students can choose the spring season to study abroad as fewer students apply, so the competition is less.

Semester System

Most institutes abroad have a semester and quarter system for academic programs. If the student’s preferred college has a quarter system, getting enrolled in the fall quarter might be ideal. It will help students enjoy a shorter semester and plan their academics during the summer break.

If the student plans on spending two quarters studying abroad, the spring admissions cycle will be a suitable option. American semester systems have 15 weeks-long fall and spring semesters.

In the UK, the calendar is divided into three terms having two semesters each. The spring semester (Term Two) starts in January and ends in March. However, the fall semester begins in September, also called Term One.   

Special Programs

Special academic programs are offered during the fall and spring seasons at foreign universities. Students must check with the university to know more about semester-specific study abroad programs.

Studying abroad during the fall can help students choose from various programs. Language learning programs and project-based programs are very popular. Students can also access programs through third-party organizations like USAC or CEA.

Moreover, fall programs provide plenty of time for the students to explore the campus and its infrastructural facilities.

Students can consult third-party providers and their professors to arrange a spring study abroad program. It is a more cost-effective option but has a limited time of 7 to 10 days. That’s why spring programs are excellent for learning a different language or culture.  


One must be aware of the climatic conditions of the preferred country for higher education. If the weather doesn’t suit the students, they will not be able to concentrate on their academics. They might suffer from seasonal ailments and have a tough time adjusting.

So, if someone prefers a snow-clad destination and doesn’t have issues with cold, then the fall semester will be a perfect choice. On the contrary, if the student isn’t comfortable with the harsh winters and fancy pleasant weather, the spring semester is the one for them.

Other factors to keep in mind while focusing on the destination’s climate –

  • For countries in the Northern Hemisphere, like Canada and Germany, spring lasts from March to May 31st. Fall is between September and November 30th.
  • For countries in the Southern Hemisphere, like Australia and New Zealand, spring falls between September and November 30th. The Fall is between March and May 31st.

Building Valuable Connections

One of the greatest advantages of studying abroad is meeting people from diverse cultures. However, the possibilities of interacting with people differ slightly during the fall and spring academic cycles.

Studying abroad during the fall allows students to build connections with their classmates and professors. This is because sometimes the classes don’t begin until September, so they have sufficient time for interaction.

Students will also receive opportunities to interact with their peers during the spring academic cycle. They can explore the host country with the locals during spring break. However, students might not be able to spend time with their peers graduating that semester.  

Study with upGrad

If the question of whether it is better to study abroad in the fall or spring hasn’t yet been clarified, upGrad is here to help. The professionals at upGrad will provide the appropriate assistance in selecting the right academic program and university and completing the application process. It will ensure a hassle-free experience for the student aiming to study abroad.


Are spring semesters costly?

In some institutes, spring semesters are longer than fall semesters. So, students have to bear additional expenses for accommodation, food, and education. It makes spring programs costlier than fall programs.   

Which is the best time to study abroad and apply for internships?

Most internship and job opportunities are available in the fall, making it a better option than spring.

Which is the appropriate season to exclude the locality while studying abroad?

Spring offers pleasant weather suitable for exploring the host country. However, fall suits those who enjoy winter festivals like Christmas and Mardi Gras.

How to look for a study abroad program?

Students can search for study abroad programs at their university or consult third-party providers. Consulting with the professors will be beneficial.

When are more courses and scholarships offered?

The fall season provides better access to courses and scholarships than spring. This is because the fall has fewer students studying on campus, so other students receive more opportunities.

What are the average expenses for studying abroad?

The average expenses of studying abroad are approximately $18,000 per semester and $36,000 for the entire year.

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