When Does Spring Semester Start? When Does It End?

Spring semester typically runs from mid- or late January into May. Learn more about when spring semester starts and schools with spring admission policies.

portrait of Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.
by Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.
Published on December 21, 2021

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When Does Spring Semester Start? When Does It End?


Winter break offers students a well-deserved hiatus from academics, but after that it's straight back to classes for the spring term.

When does spring semester start? At most schools, students return to campus in mid- or late January. The semester typically runs through early May. However, schools on the quarter system often start earlier.

Before planning a visit to see family or choosing a winter study abroad program, make sure to check your school's academic calendar for the exact dates of spring semester.

When Does the 2021-22 Spring Semester Begin?

Colleges generally go back to school in January, but the exact date varies. For example, some colleges return as early as Jan. 3, 2022, while others start as late as Jan. 26, 2022.

Classes start Jan. 26 at William & Mary, while New York University goes back Jan. 24. University of Massachusetts Amherst offers a Jan. 25 start date for spring semester, while the University of Michigan starts Jan. 5.

Why do schools offer such drastically different start dates? Many schools on the semester system offer a winter term or January term that pushes back the spring start date. NYU, for example, offers a January term from Jan. 3-21, while winter term runs from Dec. 17-Jan. 24 at UMass Amherst.

Semester schools also tend to have a later start date than schools that use the quarter system. Most of the University of California schools and the University of Washington return for winter quarter on Jan. 3.

When Does the 2021-22 Spring Semester End?

At most schools, the last day of class falls in the first week of May. Students then take finals before commencement in mid- to late May.

For example, the last day of class at UMass Amherst falls on May 4, 2022. UC Berkeley holds its final classes Apr. 29, 2022. The last day at NYU is May 9.

Sometimes factors outside academics shape the academic calendar. The University of Louisville holds its last class Apr. 25, 2022, in order to finish the term before Kentucky Derby Day, which takes place the first Saturday in May.

Can You Start College in the Spring?

While all schools admit students in the fall, some colleges also admit undergrads for spring start dates.

For example, the University of Southern California not only admits spring students but also recommends fall opportunities like studying abroad for degree-seekers starting in the spring. Other colleges like NYU also offer spring admission.

These institutions typically offer orientations and other services for the spring semester. However, not all schools offer spring admission. Before considering a spring start date, check each school's policy or reach out to an admissions counselor.

The Pros and Cons of Starting College in the Spring

What are the benefits and drawbacks of a spring semester start date? For some students, starting college in spring means more time to work or travel. Others may feel less prepared for college if they start late.

Pros

Undergrads can potentially complete their degree in less time. Fewer students start in spring, making it easier to connect with new students during orientation. Students can spend fall taking general education classes at a community college or studying abroad. A spring start date gives students time to work and save up during fall.

Cons

Students who start in spring may miss out on scholarship opportunities. New student events and clubs may not operate in spring. Incoming students may have fewer options when it comes to on-campus housing. A spring start date may make it hard for students to adjust to college and meet classmates.

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BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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