Masters abroad: preps and steps

Fall Intake in USA 2023 - 2024 : A Complete Guide on the Fall Intake in US

Yocket Editorial Team

The United States of America is the number one destination for foreign students. Call it the lure of the developed world or the charm of Silicon Valley, the United States (US) has always been an evergreen destination for study abroad aspirants.

According to Statista, 948,519 international students studied in the US in 2021-22. With restrictions due to Covid-19 lifted, expect more numbers of students in the subsequent years.

As the US rises in popularity by the day, the number of international student applicants will go up in the coming years. In 2022 alone, the US State Department issued 125,000 student visas to Indian students.

With such a high number of applicants, only a few students can get a chance to live their dream. Will you get to live it?

Before answering this question, make sure to acquaint yourself with the nitty-gritty of the admission process. The first step towards this is understanding the best time to apply. It is the key to bagging the best opportunity at the right time.

With Yocket Premium, get the finest counselling for giving wings to your study abroad dreams in the US! More on that below.

Since the fall intake is the major intake period, we’ll tell you all about it in this blog.

This blog will cover the benefits of the fall intake, the universities offering admissions during the fall intake, the application process in this intake, and a lot more!

Table of Contents

Overview of Intakes in USA

There are primarily two intakes for study abroad aspirants in the USA: Fall Intake and Spring intake. While classes for the spring intake begin in January, the deadlines lie between July and December of the previous year. The fall intake, on the other hand, is the most common and is preferred by a majority of study abroad aspirants. Classes for the fall semester start either in late August or by September.

There is a third intake season - summer intake. But only a limited number of universities offer programs during this season.

Here’s a quick comparative look into these intakes:


Starts From


Fall Intake

(Primary/Major intake)

Late August 2024 or September 2024

September–December 2024 /early January 2024

Spring Intake

(Secondary intake)

January 2024

January–May 2024

Summer Intake

May 2024

May-August 2024

Admissions in the US in Fall vs Spring

Whether you're planning for Fall or Spring - the right strategy can be a game changer between a good and a great admit. Speak with our experts right now to learn more about your intake selection and the strategy to make it in time for the deadlines.

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What is Fall Intake in USA?

The fall intake or the September intake in the US starts in late August or early September. It is one of the most preferred intakes among international students willing to study abroad after graduation (or after Class 12 for undergraduate programs).

This is primarily because of the wide variety of courses offered during this intake, and the relatively higher volume of funding available.

Benefits of Fall Intake in USA

Before we discuss the timeline of fall intake in the US, let us start by analysing why it is considered the preferred admission season.

The Fall intake is the most preferred for all major universities in the US because of the following reasons:

  • Fall marks the beginning of the academic year in the United States. As a result, most universities offer their flagship programs during this time.
  • The fall intake offers more opportunities for students in terms of scholarships and financial aid. More programs, more scholarships, more opportunities (yayy!).
  • It is relatively easier for students to find internships and jobs after landing an admission in the fall intake. It’s not off-season, and just the right time to begin your search for a part-time gig or an internship.
  • It is better for students interested in networking and other on-campus activities. The class sizes tend to be bigger, and with more students, there will be a chance to build camaraderie and have loads of fun while building your career!
  • Contrary to popular perception, the Fall intake may not be a harder season to enter university. Bigger class sizes and more programs nullify the effect of competition.

Universities Offering Fall Intake in USA

Most leading universities in the US offer programs during the Fall intake. Some of the top US universities offering their programs in the Fall intake are tabulated below:

Harvard University

University of Minnesota

Stanford University

Texas A & M University

California Institute of Technology

Ohio State University

North Carolina State University

Virginia Tech

Georgia Tech

University of Colorado Boulder

University of California Berkeley

Carnegie Mellon University

Yale University

Cornell University

Boston University

Arizona State University

University of Pittsburgh

Columbia University

New York University

University of Notre Dame

Michigan State University

Princeton University

Suggested: Find the best US universities based on your profile

Fall Intake in US Deadlines and Timeline

The timeline for the Fall intake in the US starts an entire year in advance. It means that if you want to start your course in the Fall of 2024, you should start preparing as early as 2023. Given the breadth and depth of steps involved, it is advisable to start by 2023 to not leave anything till the last minute.

In this section, we’ll be highlighting the steps and the timelines to help you smoothly sail through the process of your MS admission!

Suggested: Fall 2024 - Application Timelines for MS in US

What’s the Tentative Timeline for Competitive Exams for Fall Intake?

For admissions to most postgraduate programs, you would have to appear for an entrance test. It is the same with international programs as well. A certain set of exams need to be cleared which test your ability to handle complex coursework in the post-graduate years. A high score on these tests signals to the universities that you are ready!

What are the major tests you need to take to be ready? Let’s dive right in.

English Proficiency Exam

Universities in the United States require you to take an English proficiency test to demonstrate competency in the native language. You could take either IELTS, TOEFL, PTE  or Duolingo. However, most universities in the US accept either the TOEFL or IETLS. Check out each university’s admission requirements page for more information on accepted tests.

A high score on any of these tests indicates that you are good at communicating in English and will be able to cope with the classes & everyday conversations at your university. These exams are meant to test your basic knowledge and foundations of the English language.

Every university requires a student to have a minimum score to be eligible to apply for its programs.  In general, a score of over 100 on TOEFL or 7+ on the IELTS is considered acceptable for most top-tier universities.

While preparing for exams, remember that you can reappear for these exams as many times as you like. However, there would be no reduction in the test fee for every additional exam. It means that you can appear for a test 5 times in a year, but you will also pay the exam fees 5 times! 🤯

Standardised Admission Exams

The other exam needed for master’s admission is the GRE or GMAT exam. These exams play a very important role in your application. The higher the score, the better chance you have of getting an admit to the university of your choice. Both exams test your quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, and analytical writing skills.

For most MS programs, the GRE is a must. For MBA programs, the GMAT is more acceptable. You can choose to take these exams multiple times. However, it is not recommended to take these exams more than twice or thrice, as they can be expensive and take a lot of your time for preparation.

Make your first attempt the best one!

Make your Preparation for the GRE Smarter with Yocket Prep - Live Classes, Mock Tests, Video Lessons, and more

Deadlines for Fall Intake in the US

All application forms and portals are mentioned on the course webpage or the university’s website. You should fill out the application form very diligently and make sure you make no mistakes.

Given below are the fall intake in US deadlines:

Type of Application

Application Deadline

Admission Decision

Early Action

November 2023

December 2023

Early Decision

November 2023

December 2023

Regular Decision

January/February 2024

March/April 2024

Rolling Admission


Usually within 4-6 weeks

You can also check course-wise Fall and Spring application deadlines of US universities here. Make note of these deadlines and make sure to apply well before.

There are two types of deadlines, priority and regular. Try to apply by the priority deadline to get more time to evaluate decisions and make choices on whether to apply to more universities or not.

Also, deadlines for international students are different than those for domestic students. The international student deadlines usually close sooner than the ones for locals. Make sure you double-check the deadlines before applying anywhere.

Once you have submitted all your documents and completed the application form, all you can do now is wait to get through the fall intake in US deadlines!

Documents for Fall Intake in the US

Before pressing the Submit button on your application form for a university during the Fall intake, be sure to have all relevant documents in place.

For example, you may need to send soft copies of a couple of academic documents. These include your semester-wise mark sheets, degree certificates (or provisional certificates in case your degree hasn’t been issued yet) and transcripts. Additionally, the following may be required.

Academic Transcripts

Your transcripts need to be generated by the university itself.  They should be scanned for your reference, as well as sealed and stamped by the registrar of your university.

Some universities may have specific criteria for transcript uploading or submission, which you will find on the university’s website. For MS admissions, some US universities require you to submit WES evaluations of your transcripts or mark sheets.

The WES Evaluation takes about a month and needs to be submitted to the university via WES itself. Therefore, it's best to apply for your transcripts (or WES evaluations) in the months of July.

Now, a lot of applicants are still in their final year of study when they start applying. If that’s you, specify that you have transcripts of only the first two (or three) years of study and that the final year mark sheets will be submitted by you when you attend the university the following year.

Statement of Purpose (SOP)

It is an essay that outlines your academic and career goals, as well as your reasons for wanting to attend the particular university you are applying to. The SOP is an opportunity to showcase your writing skills and demonstrate your passion for the chosen field of study.

An SOP plays a vital role in helping you stand out and tell your story to the admissions committee, thereby increasing your chances of getting an admit to your dream University.

Want to do a deep dive into what goes into a well-crafted stellar SOP? Talk to our experts and get help in writing an SOP that will increase your admit-chances!

Letters of Recommendation (LOR)

In your application, you will also need to specify 2-3 recommenders. These recommenders can be your professors, managers, people you have worked under, etc. For students without any work experience, all the recommenders can be professors or managers who they worked under during internships or live industry projects.

For working professionals, at least one should be the recommendation of a manager or team lead.  It may take time to get recommendation letters; therefore make sure you have them ready well before filling up the application forms.


Your essay is an integral part of your application. It can make or break your entire profile.

Applicants with very high scores have been rejected by top universities in the US because their essay wasn’t great! While applicants with average scores have been admitted to great universities because their essays won hearts!

Therefore, Start preparing your Essay well in advance!

Some applications want you to answer certain questions in your essays and they specify so in their application forms. Some applications may even require you to submit multiple essays.

Other Documents

Other documents that you will need include your passport, passport-size photographs, resume, etc. The documents needed will be specified on the course page on the university website. Go through the list of documents needed and keep them ready by the end of July.

Application Process for Fall Intake in USA

Once you decide to enrol in the US fall intake, follow these admission steps/requirements and begin your application process.

  • Explore the various university options mentioned above or others, and select a particular course, fee structure, payment method, etc.
  • As per University requirements, take tests like IELTS, TOEFL, GRE, GMAT, SAT, ACT, PTE, etc.
  • Apply to the universities with documents, including academic resume/CV, academic transcripts, proof of English language proficiency, SAT/GMAT/ACT/GRE scores, statement of purpose (SOP), letter of recommendation (LOR), and others.
  • You can also apply to the universities with a conditional offer letter in case a vital exam score is absent.
  • After receiving the letter of acceptance from a university, you can apply for an F1 student Visa with documents like a passport, identity proof, application fee payment receipt, photo, etc.

Tips for Students Applying for Fall Intake in USA

Given below are some tips to help you with applying for a university in the USA fall intake:

  • Make an Excel sheet with the names of all your universities along with important information stored in the columns. This information can include the application like program name, course link, deadline, fees, average living cost, essay questions (if any), application link, your application login details, etc.
  • Another way to stay organized would be to follow a schedule, especially while preparing for exams. This will ensure that you give ample time to studying as well as carry on with your regular activities.
  • Most priority deadlines are in November and December. Some US universities' regular deadlines for Fall 2024 start off in these months; therefore it is necessary to keep these deadlines in mind.
  • All the months specified are one year prior to your starting year. This means that if you plan on starting your masters in the US in Fall 2024, then you should follow this process in 2023 in the corresponding months. You can read about the timeline to follow after you have got an admit over here.

Check Out the USA Student Visa Guide!

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Frequently Asked Questions about Fall Intake in USA

Ques. What are some fall intake universities in USA?

Ans. Some Fall 2024 intake universities in the USA are:

  • Harvard University
  • Stanford University
  • Princeton University
  • Cornell University
  • New York University

Ques. What is the September intake in USA?

Ans. The fall intake in the US or the September intake in the US starts in late August or early September. It is one of the most preferred intakes among international students willing to study in the US.

Ques. What is the fall intake in USA deadlines?

Ans. The deadlines for Fall 2024 in the US are as follows:

Type of Application

Application Deadline

Admission Decision

Early Action

November 2023

December 2023

Early Decision

November 2023

December 2023

Regular Decision

January/February 2023

March/April 2023

Rolling Admission


Usually within 4-6 weeks

Ques. What are the benefits of fall intake in US?

Ans. Some benefits of fall intake in the US are:

  • Access to popular, flagship courses and majors
  • Greater availability of financial aid and scholarships
  • An unlimited number of job opportunities and internships

Ques. What are the two common intakes to study in USA? ‘

Ans. The two most preferred intakes for studying in the United States are the Spring as well as Fall intakes.

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