It is again the time of the year when thousands of students, especially international graduate students, will be applying to U.S. colleges for admissions to M.S. and M.B.A. programs. Here are a few things that students should remember as they decide whether to apply for Spring intake in USA (i.e. applications due in Sep. and Oct) or wait for the Fall next year admission cycle to start in November onwards.
Any advantage/disadvantage of opting for Spring intake in USA?
If you are currently working and interested in going for your graduate degree, already have your test scores, no reason for you to wait to apply, especially if the university you are interested in applying is accepting applications for Spring 2019 admissions.
Just remember, not all the universities and program departments accept applications for Spring cycle so your choice will be limited in your college options. But also, the pool of applicants applying in this cycle is small so you may have a better chance of admission if your profile is good. Plus no point waiting another 8 months to start your graduate studies. If you start in Spring 2019, you can still graduate in June 2020 and get into the job market post-graduation.
Do international students face any problem finding internships and/or full-time jobs after attending MS programs in Spring?
Finding internships during summer is tough even if you join in the Fall program or Spring program. You may be able to find an internship through your network and contact, something that is possible to do irrespective of when you start your graduate studies.
Many graduate students tend to work on their research thesis or find a job on-campus during the summer, while taking a few courses that are offering towards reaching the credit requirements for graduation. If you start in Spring 2022, you can still use the summertime to take courses towards your graduation requirement and also start working on your thesis, while meeting profs. and university officials to find an on-campus job, TA or research assistantship. Summer months will put you ahead in the list of students who may be joining in Fall 2022 and also looking for aid, on-campus jobs, etc.
Tips for re-applicants – who might have faced rejections in the Fall intake
If you applied for a graduate program and got rejected in Fall 2021, here are a few things for you to think about. Admission process is a subjective process and also a process of playing with odds if you are applying to the competitive schools (less than 50% admission stats).
If you got rejected from your dream university in Fall 2021 and have already joined a US university, you still have chance to apply and move to your dream school with credits from your current university. This requires you to put in extra effort on engaging with your dream college and its professor.
When I came to the US for my MS in 1991, I joined Texas A&M and was able to apply and shift to U.T Austin in Jan 1992 with all my course credits from Texas A&M.
If you did not join any college post your application rejections, you can still look at the colleges you applied, think through what may not have worked for you and re-apply either to a new set of colleges/programs or re-submit your application with new information i.e. scores, experience, papers etc. Graduate program admissions are highly dependent on your academic background, research work, GPA and GRE scores, plus the program area you are applying to. If any of these things have changed, it may be worthwhile for you to re-apply and make a case on why the university should admit you this time. Just sending the same information again will not help.
What are the important things to look at while applying for the Spring intake in USA?
Over the last two years, I have worked with a few students who got rejected and re-applied the following year for admissions. Two common mistakes I found with these student applications were around 1) Not having the right college list and the program they were applying to 2) Very generic LORs and SOPs – primarily a repeat of their CV and accomplishments. These two critical elements of a student’s application have to provide more information to the admissions team than what is covered somewhere else.
Good Luck to everyone applying for the 2022 admission cycle!!!
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