Intakes in USA 2024: September, January and May Intakes

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The USA is the biggest study abroad destination in the world and primarily attracts Indian students in STEM courses. 

There are three main intakes in USA: Summer, Spring and Fall. Spring intake happens in January, Summer in May, and Fall intake starts in September. 

The majority number of admissions happen in September, so naturally, the fall intake is considered the primary intake. 

If you missed applying for the September intake, you have a second chance to apply in January. Hence, the January intake is called the secondary intake. 

Not all universities accept summer or May intake. This intake has the lowest availability for courses and scholarships and can be referred to as an additional or tertiary intake.

Below is a quick overview. 

Intakes in USADurationApplications open
September Intake/Fall IntakeSeptember- DecemberNovember- May
January Intake/Spring IntakeJanuary- AprilJuly- December
May Intake/Summer IntakeMay-AugustJanuary- March

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Intakes in USA 2024: September, January and May Intakes

An intake is crucial, and it’s essential to consider all factors before settling on one. In this blog, we’ll explore all aspects of intakes in USA, including benefits, deadlines and other key considerations.

Let’s dive in. 

Intakes in USA: Fall/September Intake

The fall intake is the most popular intake for international students in the USA. Popular programs like MBA, MS and MA programs are widely available during this intake. Most universities offer a full range of programs and courses during the fall intake.

The fall intake also offers a more extended period for students to adjust to the new environment.

The application process for September intake begins in November and remains open till May. Since the competition is relatively high during this intake, it’s essential to keep an eye on the deadlines and apply at the earliest. 

Intakes in usa
Over 1,25,000 Indian students moved to USA to study abroad in the year 2022.


  • Wide range of programs and courses to choose from
  • High availability of universities 
  • Enough time to adjust to the new lifestyle
  • Most number of scholarships and financial aid 
  • Better possibilities of getting part-time jobs and internships during the break


  • High competition, seats fill out fast
  • The cost of living may be higher 
  • Difficult to get accommodation due to the high demand

Intakes in USA: Spring/January Intake

As we mentioned, January intake is the secondary intake in USA and gets the second highest admissions yearly. 

January intake has fewer courses and universities’ availability than Fall or September intake. However, the January intakes in USA are still a good backup for those who missed the primary intake. 

The spring intake starts in January and goes on till May every year. This intake can buy you enough time if you plan to take a gap year. 


  • More time to prepare your application
  • Less competition, more chances of getting in
  • Some universities have lower tuition fees for January intake
  • Affordable accommodation due to lower demand


  • Not all courses are available 
  • Not all universities have January intake 
  • Fewer housing options
  • Fewer scholarships and internship opportunities
Intakes in USA
Universities and Intakes in USA are especially good for STEM courses.

Intakes in USA: Summer/May Intake

The summer intake is the lesser known of all intakes in USA. May intake is less popular because it has fewer applicants. Very few universities offer the intake in the first place, and courses are limited too. 

May intake does have its advantages and could make an excellent choice if you’ve skipped the first two intakes. However, we don’t recommend considering the summer or May intake as your first choice. 


  • Competition is cut down by more than half, and it is easier to get admission
  • You have the opportunity to start sooner than the September intake 


  • A limited number of courses
  • Limited availability of universities 
  • Little to no scholarship options
  • Housing can be expensive 

Intakes in USA: Availability of Courses 

The availability of courses depends on various factors such as university, demand and syllabus. 

Since the Fall or September intake is the main intake, it has the most course options across all disciplines, including popular programs like MBA, Engineering, Law and Medical courses.

The second intake, beginning in January, has around 30% of the course available. Although fewer alternatives exist than in the fall season, students may still choose from various courses.

The summer semester, which begins in May or June, has the fewest course options but can be a backup option if you miss the fall and spring intakes. It’s important to confirm course availability with your chosen university before planning for the summer intake.

Intakes in USANature of the intake% of courses available 
September Intake/Fall IntakePrimary Intake90%
January Intake/Spring IntakeSecondary Intake30%
May Intake/Summer IntakeTertiary/Least preferred10%

When to Apply for Intakes in USA: A Timeline

Getting admission in the USA is highly competitive, so it’s advisable to keep an eye on the deadlines and apply as soon as possible. 

The application process for intakes in the USA begins almost a year in advance. 

Want to know what you should do next in the process? Book a free call with our experts and get a plan chalked out for yourself! 

Here’s a timeline for your reference. 

1 year beforeDo your research and choose a country
9-8 months beforeResearch and gather information about universities. Shortlist them based on your requirements, or let us do it for you! 
7-6 months beforeStart preparing your application. Take all the exams you need to.Prepare your Letter of Recommendation, Statement of Purpose and gather all documents. 
5-3 months beforeReceive offers from universities, and take your time to make a decision. Apply for a student visa
2-1 month beforePaying your fees/deposit. Look for accommodation options.

Intakes in USA: Tips for a Successful Application

  • Begin your research well in advance. Plan which country and university you’d like to apply to based on your personal goals. 
  • At Leap, we shortlist universities after carefully assessing your profile, and you can expect an admission offer in ~15 days! Only apply to a few universities, have a good mix of safe, moderate and ambitious universities on your list. If you need clarification, talk to an expert. 
  • Ready all the documents required in your application, verify them and ensure they’re all valid as per the university’s guidelines
  • Take your time and write a compelling Statement of Purpose (SOP) that shows your full potential. Unclear SOPs can lead to visa rejections, so if you need clarification, talk to an expert. 
  • Get Letters of Recommendation (LORs) from people who truly know you and are looking forward to your journey. 
  • Refrain from plagiarising SOP or LOR, as it may lead to visa and university application rejection.
  • Prepare and score well in your English proficiency exam, as these scores can boost your chances of admission.

Final Thoughts

The USA is an excellent study destination for Indian students and is actively launching student-friendly initiatives. The US offers a wide range of courses across its two main intakes.

The intake you choose decides a lot for your career, so it’s best to take your time and select wisely. Our experienced counsellors can help you begin your study journey to the UK. Book a free call today to find out!

Leap also provides collateral-free loans for your education in the US at interest rates as low as 8.5%! Get up to 100% funding for your tuition fees, transportation, and personal expenditures within 10 minutes. Learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the intakes in USA?

    September, January and May intake are the three intakes in USA.

  • Which is the primary intake in USA?

    September or the fall intake is considered as the primary intake in USA and gets a high number of admission every year.

  • When is spring intake in USA?

    Spring intake starts in January, and is considered the secondary intake in USA.

  • How early should I apply for the intakes in USA?

    You should start your application process at least a year in advance to have good chance of getting an admit.

  • Can I apply to more than one intakes in USA at the same time?

    Yes, but it depends on the university’s policies. Also, applying to multiple intakes at the same time is not recommended.

  • Which intake is the best for USA?

    The September intake in USA is ideal as it has a wide range of course and university options.

  • What are some may intake universities in USA?

    Stanford University, Bridgewater State University, Boston University, Western Illinois University, and The University of Arizona are some of the few universities that offer May intake.

  • Can I work part-time while studying during the Fall intake in the USA?

    Yes, international students in the USA are typically allowed to work part-time on-campus during their studies. The US government says you can work up to 20 hours per week on your student visa and full-time during your semester break.

  • What month is the fall intake in USA?

    The fall intake starts in September and ends in December/January.

  • Can I take a gap year before starting the Fall intake in the USA?

    Yes, taking a gap year before starting the Fall intake in the USA is possible. Many students choose to take a year off after college to pursue other interests, gain work experience, or engage in community service.

  • When should I start applying for the Fall intake in the USA?

    It is advisable to start the application process for the Fall intake in the USA around 12-18 months in advance, typically in the previous year. This timeline allows sufficient time for researching universities, preparing application materials, taking standardized tests, and meeting application deadlines.

Jhansi Rani

Jhansi Rani is an experienced overseas education counsellor and specializes in helping students choose the right academic path in the USA.

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