Study in the USA: Know All About Spring (January) 2021 Intake

By Subhashri Roy Updated On - Jan 20, 2021 01:29 PM

Looking forward to applying to a university in the US? Here is the timeline for Spring (January) 2021 intake that you should follow in order to ensure a successful application process to one of the top US universities. 


Have you also been told that Spring intake in the United States has more cons than pros, unlike a Fall entry? Being one among the three large admission cycles in the US, the spring intake also sees a huge number of applications from across the world. While the Fall intake is favoured more than the Spring intake by international students, the spring intake is to some extent associated with a host of myths and misconceptions.

While the fall intake in the US means programs starting in August/September, the Spring entry programs start in January. What starting in January also means is that you would be joining in the middle of an academic year, which typically boils down to graduating at a later date. 

Now that you know the basic difference between the two, let us plunge into the misconceptions surrounding the Spring admission cycle and the timeline for the US Spring intake 2021.

Myths About Spring Intake in the US

Here are some of the myths related to the Spring intake in the US:

  • Fewer Courses: The number of courses on offer in the Spring intake is equal to that of Fall. The curriculum of every course is designed to meet the requirements of students entering the university in either of the two intakes.

  • Teaching & Research Assistantships are Limited: The more you connect/ network with your department, the easier it is for you to find Teaching Assistantships & Research Assistantships. It has no connection to when the student is taking admission.

  • Fewer Scholarship Opportunities: This is again entirely false as availability of scholarships depends on how well a department is funded. Usually, universities receive equal amounts of funding for both the intakes.  

  • Getting a Visa is Difficult: What getting a visa depends on are factors such as the university you are going to, your finances, among other things. Hence, this is also a misconception.

Also Read: Timeline for September 2021 Intake to Study in USA

Timeline for Spring 2021 Intake in the USA

Overall, from researching your study in the US to arranging your finances, it would take you around a year to be done with all the required steps and finally get ready for departure. Here is the overview of the timeline for the Spring (January) 2021 intake:

Timeline Activity


(Sept 2019 - Oct 2019)

Research and shortlist the best universities that offer your choice of course and 

meet your requirements.

Take the Required Admission Tests 

(Nov 2019 - Feb 2020)

Prepare, register and attempt the required tests such as IELTSTOEFLSAT


Apply to Universities 

(Feb 2020 - May 2020)

Start applying to your list of shortlisted universities and submit the required 

scores and documents.

Wait for Your Admission Decision 

(June 2020 - Aug 2020)

Wait for universities to send you the Letters of Acceptance, after which 

you can pick one university whose offer you wish to accept.

Finance Your Studies and Apply for Visa 

(Sept 2020 - Dec 2020)

Check out what scholarships are on offer, apply to education loans (if required) and arrange your finances. Following this, apply for your US student visa. 

Get Ready to Fly (Jan 2021) You are all set to fly to the US.

Is it Your Dream to Study in One of the Top USA Universities?

Step-by-Step Guide for the Spring 2021 Intake in the US

Find out what steps you need to follow while applying for the Spring 2021 intake in the US:

January 2021 Intake to Study in the USA

Step 1: Research Between Sept 2019 and Oct 2019

After you have made your mind to join a US university in Spring, the first thing you need to do is research thoroughly on everything. This would include finding a suitable course of study, creating a list of universities that would fit your criteria, understanding their fee structure and admission requirements, and more. 

The ideal way to go about this is by jotting down all your preconditions and then moving on to the rest of the points. 

Step 2: Take the Required Admission Tests Between Nov 2019 and Feb 2020

Now that you know what the admissions process of the selected universities is, preparing and taking the required tests for admission such as ACT/ SAT (for Bachelor’s courses) or GMAT/ GRE (for Master’s courses) should be done by February 2020. 

In addition to that, you would also have to appear for English language tests like the IELTS or TOEFL.  

Step 3: Apply Between Feb 2020 and May 2020

Get to the job of applying to all of your shortlisted universities/ colleges in the US that are offering admissions in Spring 2021. Also, make sure you have all the necessary items ready while applying. This may include the following: 

  • Résumé/CV

  • Transcripts or records of grades (high school and/or university)

  • Proof of English-language proficiency.

  • Test scores (SAT, GMAT, ACT, GRE)

  • Statement of Purpose or SOP

  • Application fee

  • Writing sample

Step 4: Wait for Your Admission Decision for the Next 3 Months

What do you do after you are done applying to universities? It might be difficult to sit anticipating what the future holds or what might show up in your email. But, during this time, you can try alerting the universities and adding to your files. 

You can also plan campus visits and wrap them up during this time, making it easier for you to kill time instead of simply waiting for your letter of acceptance. 

Also Read: COVID-19 Impact: What Lies Ahead for Study Abroad Aspirants?

Step 5: Finance Your Studies & Apply for Visa Between Sept - Dec 2020

After you are accepted by a US institution of higher education, one significant job you are required to do is getting your finances in order. Find out how much would be your living expenses each month along with what scholarships are on offer and for which of them are you eligible. 

To study at an accredited U.S. college or university certified by the  Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP), you would have to apply for an F Student Visa with documents that are mentioned below:

  • A valid passport

  • Nonimmigrant Visa Application

  • Application fee payment receipt

  • Photo

  • Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status

  • Additional documents such as Transcripts, certificates from schools you attended and standardised test scores may also be required.

Step 6: Get Ready to Fly in Jan 2021

You are now all organised to take a flight to the US. While booking your flight, look for student discounts and connect with other international or Indian students travelling to the US. 

Also Read: US Federal Judge Turns Down Trump Rules Limiting H-1B Visas

Top Universities for the Spring 2021 Intake in the US

Listed below are some of the top US universities that are all set to admit students in Spring/ January 2021:

Name of Institution

City & State

Level at Which CoursesAre Available

Harvard University

Cambridge, Massachusetts

UG and Masters

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Cambridge, Massachusetts

UG and Masters

Yale University

New Haven, Connecticut

UG and Masters

Columbia University

New York City, New York

UG and Masters

University of Illinois, Chicago

Illinois, Chicago

UG and Masters(Except MS CS)

Auburn University

Auburn, Alabama

only UG

University of Massachusetts, Boston

Massachusetts Boston,

UG and masters

Florida International University

Miami, FL

only UG

University of Dayton, Ohio

Dayton, Ohio

UG and Masters

University of Central Florida

Orlando, FL

only UG

Washington State University

Pullman, WA

UG and Masters

In case you have further questions about Spring intake in the US, please write to us at or call us at 785 9990 990. You can also visit CollegeDekho’s Study Abroad website to have a look at the top-ranked US universities.

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