Skip to content

3 Reasons to Start Your Freshman Year in Spring

college application
student visa
advice for students
By Oshitha Narangoda
Last updated on December 1, 2021

With fewer applicants and less competition, starting your US university studies during spring semester can offer many advantages for international students.

A group of four international students sits on a lawn under a grove of trees on the quad at their US university campus during the spring semester

During the 2019–20 academic year, more than 1.1 million international students came to study in the US — despite the COVID-19 pandemic. With increased vaccinations and more open travel policies, US universities and colleges are welcoming international students back to campus. If you were not able to start in the fall, a spring start for your academic year is still an option! 

The US has one of the most advanced, flexible, and adaptive education systems in the world. Typically, US universities offer three start options each the year — fall, spring, and summer, with most students starting in fall. Fall semesters typically begin in August or September, spring in January, and summer in May.

Why Choose to Start Your US Studies in Spring Semester? 

Making a decision on where to attend university can be challenging. Completing all the required application and visa documents, choosing a degree program that aligns with your goals, and traveling to a foreign country to study can bring uncertainty. It is completely normal to feel overwhelmed. 

Starting in the spring is the perfect opportunity for students who require more time to:

  • Complete the student visa process

  • Prepare mentally

  • Choose a field of study

So, if you need extra time or you experienced delays trying to meet fall deadlines, spring can be an excellent backup option. Advisors are always available if you need personalized guidance for the best time to start your US studies.

Learn more about Shorelight services

Here are the top three reasons why international students should consider starting their US education in the spring semester: 

1. Higher Chance of Admission

Compared to fall, a smaller cohort of students typically apply for university admission in the spring. Fewer applicants means less competition — and possibly a higher chance for you to get accepted to your dream university. 

Once university applications are submitted, international students may also find greater flexibility with getting their visas for a spring start.

2. Increased Chances of Visa Success

Because fewer new students arrive for the spring semester than in the fall, spring-start students increase their chances of successfully getting their visas—

  • US embassies and consulates have more time to interview applicants.

  • Fewer applicants mean US embassies and consulates process applications faster.

Shorelight is your pathway to visa success! With a strong track record of obtaining student visas, our friendly counselors will guide you through every step to navigate the visa process successfully.

3. Flexible Virtual Learning

Conducted online, virtual learning options at US universities offer international students the opportunity to learn from anywhere they call home — using an electronic device like a smartphone or computer.

If you are an international student and wish to start your studies in the spring semester, but are unable to be on campus, virtual options let you start now and plan to travel to campus for a future semester. 

Where Can I Apply for a Spring Semester Start?

Here is a list of top-ranking Shorelight universities offering a spring start for international students:

American University

Located in Washington, DC, American University offers more than 65 undergraduate programs and 20 graduate programs, including international services, media and communications, law, and public affairs. Applications for spring semester are usually due in early December.

University of Dayton

Renowned for engineering and research development in America’s birthplace of aviation, the University of Dayton offers more than 80 undergraduate and 20 graduate doctoral programs, preparing students to excel in roles of leadership and entrepreneurship. Applications for spring semester are usually due in mid-December. 

University of Massachusetts Boston

With more than 65 courses of study and a prestigious Honors College, UMass Boston gives international students access to career opportunities, research projects, and a strong alumni network. Spring semester applications typically are due in December or January, depending on the degree program.

University of South Carolina

The University of South Carolina offers 350+ degree programs and is one of only 40 public universities to receive Carnegie Classifications for both top-tier research activity and community engagement. Applications for spring semester are typically due in late November/early December each year. 

American Collegiate Live

With American Collegiate Live, international students like you can start your studies in spring from your home, local study center, or anywhere in the world; you can interact with university faculty in real time, and earn recognized course credits to stay on track.

American Collegiate Live offers:

  • Advanced interactive technology, with more engagement than a traditional classroom

  • Faculty members from nationally ranked US universities

  • Recognized credits that easily transfer to your dream university

  • Academic assistance and counseling, bilingual support, and more

Here are Shorelight universities that offer virtual start options through American Collegiate Live in spring semester: 

With varying start dates, American Collegiate Live application deadlines for spring are typically in January, February, or March each year.

*Please reach out to a Shorelight advisor if you have any questions about virtual start options at Shorelight universities.

Start your education in the US now with American Collegiate Live >

There is no one-size-fits-all path to success. Shorelight counselors are always here to help you learn more about the spring start options, discover the best degree program of your choice, improve your English skills, and more. Consider the advantages spring offers and prepare for an exciting journey in the US! 

Shorelight advisors can help you start your first year on time