There are a number of important dates you need to take note of when attending college. Although specific dates will vary from college to college, some generalities can be made.
So when does college start? Most schools on the semester system will have a fall and spring semester. Fall semesters typically start in mid to late August and run through December. Spring semesters will start in mid to late January of the following year.
Starting College in the Fall Semester
Before choosing a college you need to first apply. If you wish to start college in the fall after you graduate, you should start researching colleges the summer before your junior year in high school. This will give you enough time to compare colleges and do some tours of your top picks.
Once you have a few top picks you’ll need to decide if you want to apply early or as part of the “regular” application timeline. Early decision and early action schools may be a good fit if you are certain you know the school you want to attend and have the academics to back it up.
Early decision applications are typically due in mid to late October through November. Schools will then typically respond with a decision by late December. Keep in mind that early decision schools may lock you into attending their school so be sure to only apply to an early decision school that you are set on attending.
Applications for the regular submission deadline are usually at the end of January.
When it comes time to start college you may find that your college offers freshmen the opportunity to move in a week early. However, colleges will start classes at the same time for every group.
Starting College in the Spring Semester
Things are a bit less hectic for students wishing to start college in the spring semester. Note that because of the fewer number of students starting in the spring, it may be harder to find the specific courses you want especially if they are in a series. Applications are due in November for spring semester students.
As students will already be on campus from the fall semester, don’t expect there to be any kind of freshman welcoming if you choose to start in the spring.
In order to help you decide on your perfect fit for a college, don’t forget to sign up for a College Factual account. With College Factual you can create a custom profile to get school recommendations based on your most important criteria such as cost, school size and major. Likewise, if you haven’t picked a major yet, let College Factual help you out.