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Usually students who are not sure if they can apply for Fall, ask this question similar to below by Aditya.

Aditya – Do u think it is a good idea to apply in Spring ? I have read ur articles on “Difference in Fall Or Spring” and “Graduate Admission Fall or Spring” . But some of my seniors told me that students who come in Spring are not considered for internships as it is necessary to complete 9 months in USA to get summer internships . And hence, Fall students have an edge over Spring students. Is this true ?

Article Aditya is referring to are

Summer Internship in CPT

Generally universities allow students to apply for internship after completing 2 semesters, or in some case 18 credits. But, there will be difference between schools, but mostly 18 credits. So, lets consider 2 cases when students is starting the semester

  1. Attending School from Fall Semester (Aug/Sep)
  2. Attending School from Spring Semester (Jan)

Attending School – Fall Semester

So, you start the school in Fall 2011  and register for 9 credits

  • Fall 2011 – 9 Credits (or 3 courses)
  • Spring 2012 – 9 Credit (or 3 courses)

After yo have completed 2 semesters, as per F1 Visa rules, for CPT, you are eligible to do internship starting Summer 2012.

You be go for internship from May 2012 to Aug 2012.

Thats called Sumemer Internship. So, what your Senior said is right, but there is more to it.

Attending School – Spring Semester

If you start your attending university from Jan 2012

  • Spring 2012 – 9 Credits (or 3 courses)
  • Fall 2012 – 9 Credit (or 3 courses)

You will become eligible to apply for internship from Spring 2013, after completing 18 credits.

Which is better – Spring or Fall Semester?

Having said the difference between 2 semesters, know comes the part, you might not be aware of and that could be the reason you are hesitant to apply for Spring.  Considering the above situation, you might ask

I would be able to apply for internship only after 1.5 years in Summer 2011 ( Spring 2010, Summer 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011)?

Well, that’s not true. You have used the word Summer Internship, which is offered by companies only during summer term, I can understand the concern. But, the fact is you can apply for internship even for Spring and Fall semesters.

Internships is not something you can apply only during summer. Companies will hire interns throughout the year.  You can work as an intern using CPT for 364 days. but, universities have restrictions on how many days you can work as intern.

But, other than that, if school is admitting students for Spring semester, go ahead and apply for Spring semester.