Studying abroad is a major undertaking as well as a decision. And, like any major undertaking, it requires long-term planning and careful decision-making.
If you are planning to study in the US, of the many things that you need to carefully consider are deciding on which intake you intend to apply and the deadlines. To help you make meaning out of the confusion of intakes and deadlines and make an informed decision, here is a guided tour of intakes of the US universities and colleges.
US Universities’ Intakes: The Basics
In US universities, an academic year is divided into two semesters. Unlike India, universities and colleges across the US enrol students three times in an academic year: Fall, Spring, and Summer.
Here is a snap view of some of the principal facts about the intakes.
|INTAKE||STARTS FROM||DURATION||NATURE||PROS AND CONS|
(Also known as September intake)
|September||September–December/early January||Primary/Major intake||Most popular intake for international students because:
(Also known as January intake)
|SUMMER||May||May–August||Not offered by all universities||
Which Intake for Me?
You need to decide carefully which intake best suits you. You must consider the fact that the deadlines for applying to an intake are usually a few months before the date of the starting of the semester. Ideally, you should begin applications 9-12 months before the intake. Universities usually take about 8-10 weeks to process the applications.
However, Fall intake is usually the preferred intake. Not all universities offer the Spring or the Summer Intake
Fall vs. Spring: Undecided?
Now that you know about the main intakes in the US, you might be asking, “I am planning for an MS in the US. What should I opt for? Fall or Spring?” Or you might be planning to undertake an MBA at a top Business School. We suggest that before you decide, consider the following.
|MBA||Columbia Business School offers Spring intake. However, most B-school applicants opt for the Fall intake|
So, the upcoming intakes are: Fall 2021 and Spring 2021
Application deadlines are important milestones in your application process. Different universities have different deadlines. Top universities normally set their deadlines 8-12 months before the commencement of the program. Hence, you must be very clear about your deadlines. Here is a general guideline.
- Fall Intake
- Top Universities (A, A+): November/December of the previous year
- A-, B, B+, C grade universities: February/March of the same year
- C-, D grade universities: June/July of the same year
- Spring Intake
- Top Universities (A, A+): March/April of the same year
- A-, B, B+, C grade universities: July/August of the same year
- C-, D grade universities: October/November
- Summer Intake: March
Types of Deadlines
MS: In the case of Master’s, there are generally two types of deadlines:
- Financial Aid deadline
- Regular deadline
MBA: Most B-schools have various rounds of deadlines: Round 1, Round 2, Round 3, etc.
- Round 1 deadline for B-schools is generally in the month of September or October
- Round 2 deadline is usually in the month of January
- Round 3 deadlines are usually for domestic applicants in the US
Round 1 and Round 2 are for international applicants. A sizeable number of applicants target Round 1. However, if you are a B-school applicant and your application is not ready for the Round 1 deadline, then you should focus on honing your application and target the Round 2 deadline.
UG: In case of UG, there are usually three types of deadlines:
- Early Action deadline (Deadline is in November)
- An applicant targeting this deadline will expect an early admissions decision; it is not legally binding
- Early Decision deadline (Deadline is in November)
- An applicant targeting this deadline will expect an early admissions decision; it is legally binding
- Regular deadline (Deadline is usually in January for top colleges)
To help you get an idea of application deadlines, here is a sneak peek of the representative deadlines for Fall and Spring 2021 of a few MS programs in some US universities. However, owing to the extraordinary situation because of the CoViD-19 situation, we strongly recommend that you check out your target university website before applying.
|UNIVERSITY||INTAKE||PROGRAM||FINANCIAL AID DEADLINE||REGULAR DEADLINES||MOST POPULAR DEADLINES|
|Purdue University, West Lafayette||Fall 2021||MS Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering||15.12.20||Late November/Early to mid-December||Mid-December|
|Virginia Tech University||Fall 2021||MS Aerospace Engineering||30.12.20||Late November/Early to mid-December||Mid-December|
Before we end, here are a few deadlines for the Fall 2021 intake in some top B-schools in the US.
|2020-2021 MBA Application Deadlines by School|
|B-School||Round 1||Round 2||Round 3||Round 4||Round 5|
|Columbia Business School||October 2, 2020 (Early Decision August 2021 start and Regular Decision January 2021 start)||April 9, 2021 (Regular Decision August 2021 start)||April 15, 2021 (Deferred Enrolment August 2023 start)||NA||NA|
|Harvard Business School||September 8, 2020||January 5, 2021||NA||NA||NA|
|UPenn/Wharton||September 15, 2020||January 5, 2021||March 31, 2021||NA||NA|
If you are feeling confused, you can reach out to us at Manya Education. We would be happy to assist you with all your queries.