US Admission cycle: Know all about Spring, Summer and Fall -Do you know that unlike India, US has as many as three admission cycles during an academic year?It is true! Some of the US varsities conduct their admissions thrice in an academic year. The cycle, a US alternative for the semester systems in India, is broadly divided into three parts - Spring, Summer and Fall. For those who have never ventured outside the Indian education system, these terms might seem alien with respect to education. However, you should note that Spring, Summer and Fall form the most crucial aspect of US admission cycle.


So, what is Spring, Summer and Fall? How important are they in your admission process? How do they impact your education in the USA?


Unlike in India where the registration process opens only once a year, in US, fresh admission can be taken in all the three semesters. Though, Fall is considered the most feasible US admission cycle for Indian students given its sync with Indian academic cycle, the remaining two seasons do actually help candidates to take admissions as per their convenience and requirements.

However, not all US universities offer admission in all the semesters. Of the three US admission cycles, Fall and Spring are the most popular time when admissions are open at US universities. Summer, which is the shortest of the semesters usually, covers special programs by the universities.


There is another semester- Winter- between Fall and Spring. But, many universities consider Winter to be within Spring itself.

It should be understood, though, that the admission process of the semesters do not vary. It is only the timeline that varies.


Here, Careers360 delves into the three main semesters of US education. Read ahead to know more!




Starting around August, the Fall semester is the first semester of a US academic year. The roughly 13-weeks long semester continues till late December or mid January. With the application process for fall beginning one year before you join the course, this semester witnesses the biggest rush, especially from international students. In fact, many universities accept application only for Fall.

Below is the application timeline for Fall semester:


August: The application forms for Fall are usually out by August or September the previous year. You can start looking for the forms and financial aid forms at this time. Also, there are more chances of bagging financial support for admissions in Fall.


September to December: The deadline for submitting the forms is usually in December. You are required to arrange your recommendation letters and also start taking the standardized tests mandatory for admission at the particular university you are applying to. You also need to ensure that the score cards of your academic performances as well as the standardized tests are submitted at the time of application.


April to May: In this period, you start receiving acceptance or rejection letters from the universities. Applicants will also be presented with the financial aid possibilities that they can tap. Most importantly, you will have to decide on the program and submit any forms from your university of choice. Organize finances and show proof of funds to the graduate school so that the international student office can prepare your immigration form.


May to August- Applicants should start applying for student Visa in this period. You can also confirm your arrivals plans with the institution.



The Spring semester starts in January and ends in May. Generally, a 16-week semester, full term spring semester is the second most popular semester among students taking admission to US universities.  

However, the application procedure for Spring is more or less the same as Fall.


Below is the timeline for Spring semester

  1. September- Theapplication process for spring starts during this period which gives the student roughly 4 months before the classes. It is around the same time that admission for Fall starts.

  2. November: The deadline for submitting forms is usually November. Candidates should arrange their reference letters and get their score cards ready.

  3. January: The orientation program begins in January. From early January the semester will last till mid May. You should confirm your arrival dates with the university beforehand.


Summer is the shortest of the three semesters in the US. Beginning in June, the semester lasts roughly for two months. Intake in summer is restricted to few universities. Even if the university as a whole accepts applications for summer, the concerned departments may not open its seats for enrollment.


However, some universities do have specially designed summer programs. For example: Stanford University offers the Hopkins Marine Station Program, English for Foreign Students Program, American Language and Culture Program and so on. Applications for the Summer sessions are usually out four to six months prior to the start of the term.


Does terms like Regular admission, Early decision confuse you? Click here to understand what is the admission process of US universities is like!


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Showing 37 out of 37 Questions

I wish to become a Neurosurgeon, but first I wish to practice in the United States or Singapore for half of my career and to spend last half of my career in India. Whether my wish is a good one? Is it possible? Is my decision is correct? Kindly commend on my wish?

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 7th Apr, 2020

Raja, we have been discussing your career and aspirations for a while now and we appreciate that you want to take Career360's opinion on the matter of your career. So by now, you are aware of the fact what it takes to become a neurosurgeon and what it is to clear USMLE, practise as a resident in the US. We also have discussed the life style and the salary part. Now regarding the first half and later half of the career, we only wish we could predict our timeline on this planet. We do not which might be the first half or which might be the later part. But no wish is bad. If you want to achieve something, you should lest you regret for the rest of your lofe. Now to practise in the US, you may have to appear for USMLE, clear the step 1 and then practise as a resident before you can get the license to practise as a full time neurosurgeon. That is a long process that might take good 4-5 years. You study MBBS in India for 50 months and then complete the 1 year rotational internship and it takes you as many as 5 years. And appearing for USMLE and then working as a resident take another 4 years and so 10 years of your life are spent getting a valid license to practise in the US. And then lets say after 5 years you want to move to Singapore, that takes a whole different processing because you need to appear for their license exam. And you work in Singapore for lets say another 5 years and you come back to India. 15 years of your life are spent studying and getting licenses. But the beauty is within 15 years you can actually get license to practise in 3 countries. So you need to take a call. Or how about you finish MBBS in India, move to Singapore to study your MD/MS and plan on moving to the US? That way the transition is going to be smoother.


Is there any age limit to take admission into Ph.D in USA?

lakshita shaan 3rd Apr, 2020
Hey vasu,
The age limit which almost every University demands is 35 years. If anybody is above that they can might miss the chance to get enroll theirselves for phd.
This age is decided because phd is all about researching and writing ,they usually demand people who is also iinvolved in academics and departmental works.
Good luck!

Are Neurosurgeons happy in San Francisco?

Animesh Vats Student Expert 5th Apr, 2020


Well I guess they are because they get very good six figure salary and have a great job security although it's stressing but still they like their job cause they got into it knowing the stress it may carry. Neurosurgery is very much in demand and is a very great speciality in medical field.

I hope my answer helps.

All the best.


Are Neurosurgeons happy in New York?

Manish Singh 2nd Apr, 2020

It will all depend upon the lifestyle and the office hours you put in the work. The number of opd days, OT days and the visit to the wards for rounds. It all affect the free time period for a doctor. In USA,you have to pay tax for the services thus it can be little less than what you make in india


Are US Neurosurgeons rich enough to live a comfortable life in the United States?

Nikki Nair 2nd Apr, 2020

Hello Aspirant

It will totally depend where are you working and what are you getting paid.

As US is anyways costly ,there lifestyle tends to change.Neurosurgeons in Us are paid according to their qualification as well as where they work

According to research

The average income for a neurosurgeon is $775,968

The middle range income is approx $704,170

the lowest paid are $350,000

And the top 10 % of the neurosurgeon get a pay of $1,229,881 per year!

So it totally depends upon your qualification and the place you work if you can have a comfortable life or not


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