A Guide to Summer Enrollments for International Students

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By Deshan Mendis
Last updated on March 12, 2024

Starting your degree in the summer can bring unique opportunities and benefits! Here is what you need to know about starting your study in the USA experience in the summer.

3 International students sitting together outside during summer

The US education system offers three admission cycles for universities and colleges — fall, spring, and summer. Fall is when the majority of students begin their degree programs, but international students may want to consider the many benefits of starting in the summer. When you start in the summer, you get a head start on your studies — and can enjoy a more relaxed environment, great weather, and more.

Choosing the right semester to begin your degree can help you adjust to the US, learn effectively, and pursue your academic goals with confidence. Read on to learn more about some of the best reasons to start your study in the USA experience in the summer! 

Benefits of Starting College in the Summer

When you begin your semester in the summer, you can ease into life in the US, often at a more relaxed pace. Here are just a few reasons why a summer semester might be the right option for international students like you.

Get Familiar with Your New Campus, Without the Crowds

Because most American students go home or work at off-campus jobs during the summer, campuses are typically less crowded during this season. A quieter campus gives you the chance to explore your university at a leisurely pace, meet new people, and familiarize yourself with US culture without the rush of a busy environment.

You can explore different places to eat on campus, find your favorite spot to relax, and more. You may meet other international students starting in the summer as well, giving you a head start on making friends and creating your community at university. 

Summer semesters offer a more supportive environment for international students transitioning from another country to the US: Advisors and professors may be less busy, with more availability to answer your questions and provide individualized attention. Adjusting to your new life at a slower pace can also be more effective in handling culture shock (compared to the busier spring and fall semesters).

Another benefit of the summer semester is getting more attention from your instructors, as summer class sizes are usually smaller than other semesters. While this typically helps improve academic performance for all types of students, it may be especially helpful if you are shy or more introverted. 

Start Your Degree Sooner - and Save Money

Summer courses are adapted for a shorter session of instruction, covering similar material to their fall- and spring semester versions, but faster. So, if you are cost-conscious, enrolling in summer is a great way to save money: You can work toward your degree requirements in less time, earning more credits earlier to possibly even graduate sooner. 

Other costs are typically more affordable, too — universities usually reduce tuition, housing, and dining plans during the summer semester, so you’ll get a similar experience to fall and spring, but at a lower cost.

Enjoy the Best Weather of the Year 

If you are more accustomed to warmer climates, summers in the US will make you feel more at home. The warm weather creates great opportunities to explore the outdoors: visit the beach with your friends, go camping in the mountains, experience whitewater rafting, and so much more.

While allowing you to ease into college life at your own pace, enrolling during the summer comes with other benefits that make your journey to the US much smoother. Additionally, Shorelight universities offer many exclusive activities for students over the summer semester, including outings to sporting events like baseball games, trips to amusement parks, and resident block parties.

Why Should You Enroll for the Summer Semester at US Universities?

As an international student applying for the summer semester, you have improved chances of enrolling at a university of your choice, speeding up your visa process, and accessing unique programs. 

Get a Better Chance of Acceptance 

Since the number of applicants for the summer semester is typically less than fall, you may have a better chance of being accepted into your dream university. This is especially beneficial if you plan to apply for programs with high fall or spring enrollments. 

Get Your Visa Faster 

As an international student enrolling for the summer semester, the visa process can be smoother than in fall or spring.

In the summer, the relatively lower number of applicants and fewer applications to process means US embassies have more time to interview applicants — and may process these applications faster than their normal pace during busy times of the year. The chances of receiving your visa quickly are better in the summer, compared to enrolling in the fall or spring.

If you need support with obtaining your student visa, remember that Shorelight advisors are always ready to assist you through every step of the visa application process.

More On-Campus Jobs Available

With fewer students on campus, the availability of campus jobs increases over the summer, as many university departments still need workers during this quieter semester. An on-campus job is a great experience in summer: You’ll likely work close to your dorm, meaning a short commute and little to no transportation costs; you’ll get a sense of campus life and policies; and you’ll earn a regular income.

Here are several Shorelight universities that offer competitive programs in summer:

Cleveland State University

Cleveland State University partners with world-class hospitals, Fortune 500 companies, government research centers, and cultural institutions to provide students with academic, research, and job opportunities. Starting your degree in the summer semester at Cleveland State means big discounts on housing, on-campus work opportunities, and invites to exclusive summer events. Applications for the summer semester are open until April.

University of Dayton 

With robust options for both undergraduate and graduate programs, the University of Dayton is a top-tier research university with a focus on entrepreneurship and engineering. Undergraduate programs are offered at sharply reduced tuition rates in summer, and heavily discounted on-campus housing and dining plans are available. Applications for summer programs are open until April.

University of Illinois Chicago 

Offering undergraduate degrees in engineering, business, architecture, design, education, health sciences, public health, public affairs, and more, University of Illinois Chicago summer programs give international students the opportunity to get a head start at one of the top public schools in the country (U.S. News & World Report). UIC also offers a 30% discount on housing over the summer. Applications for the summer semester are open until April.

University of Utah

Located on a picturesque campus in Salt Lake City, the University of Utah creates global leaders by placing a strong emphasis on entrepreneurship, innovation, and quality of life. Starting your degree in the summer semester at Utah offers discounted tuition (in-state tuition price for International Direct students), on-campus work opportunities, and invites to exclusive summer events. Applications for the summer semester are open until April.

Beginning your degree in the summer is a great way to kickstart your higher education adventure in the US at a relaxed pace, with the additional benefits of discounted pricing and increased on-campus job opportunities. Speak to a Shorelight advisor for assistance in finding the right university and guidance through the summer admissions process. Take your first step in the US this summer with support every step of the way!

Get in touch with Shorelight advisors to start your application process >