College: you pretty much know what to expect, right? Late nights, communal bathrooms, dining hall food, professors you like and maybe some you don’t, midterms and final exams. But what about the differences between Fall Semester and Spring Semester that you may not hear as much about? Whether you’re trying to decide which semester you should apply for or you’re just curious about what to expect for the school year in its entirety, here are some differences between the two main semesters that college students can anticipate.
When selecting classes for Fall Semester, several are often considered prerequisites for classes offered during Spring Semester. As a result, Spring Semester classes may be more challenging than their Fall Semester counterparts, but also may be more hands-on and in-depth, as you’ll be entering them with helpful foundational knowledge. Taking courses with multiple levels also means that you may be sharing both Fall and Spring Semesters with the same students on a similar educational track. This can be advantageous to you during Spring Semester especially, as it will make talking about class assignments and forming study groups much easier. You also just may make some like-minded friends!
Joining a club or organization on campus (or several) can be awesome, and Fall Semester is definitely the semester to do it. During Fall Semester, recruitment for student groups is at its height, as it is often the time with the most group openings available. Though there will likely be a few openings for new positions or members in clubs and organizations during Spring Semester, joining during the Fall Semester is in your best interest. This way, you can get the most out of the group you want to be involved in for the year. It’s also the semester where you often have the best chance of acceptance if the group happens to be selective.
Winter break feels and spring break feels are two entirely different feels. During Fall Semester, when winter break approaches, it marks the end of the semester and an entrance into the world of amazing food, gifts, and family time. Put it this way: winter break is like the cool drink of water at the end of a long marathon, what you force yourself to sprint towards until you can finally collapse. Spring break, on the other hand, though still a marvelous break, is much shorter and a bit different. Normally happening midway or a little more than midway through Spring Semester, many colleges choose different weeks to have spring break, making it a little difficult to coordinate hangs with friends from different schools. Spring break is normally only a week long (as opposed to the several weeks of winter break), and there are two types of spring breakers: those who go on vacation, and those who simply stay at home for a week – there usually isn’t enough time to do both. Some professors even have the audacity to assign homework over spring break! And, finally, then there’s the fact that you have to come back to school to take final exams directly after spring break ends. So, though most college students are extremely grateful for both of these lovely and much-needed breaks, it’s safe to say that the character of the breaks differ depending on the semester.
During Fall Semester, though there are always those dedicated to keeping fit year-round, let’s face it: the fitness center isn’t usually packed. Especially for those schools on the East Coast, Fall Semester is when summer is over, the weather is getting colder, and it’s perfectly acceptable to hide in overlarge sweatshirts until it’s time to go home and eat a ton of food for the holidays. Spring Semester, on the other hand, is the time when everyone who feels they’ve gained weight over winter break and made resolutions to lose it for the summer find themselves in the gym. While you might have always had a machine to work out on during a set workout time during Fall Semester, that same machine may not always be available at the same time during Spring Semester.
As we all know from the changing seasons in professional sports, college sports offer different selections based on the semester. During Fall Semester, you can participate in sports such as cross-country, field hockey, football, and soccer. Spring Semester offers sports like baseball, softball, lacrosse, rowing, tennis, and track and field.
During Fall Semester, again, especially on the East Coast, outdoor activity will start off strong but slowly taper off as the weather gets colder, and many students will end up studying for final exams holed up inside. Spring Semester, though for many it will start out chilly, is the semester when students start enjoying spending time outdoors to study, hanging out, and just drinking in the spring weather. Many more people will be studying for final exams outdoors during Spring Semester than during Fall Semester, and spirits will lift as the excitement of upcoming summer and the beauty of spring hit home.
Fall Semester and Spring Semester each have unique aspects about them that can make the second half of the school year feel very different from the first. However, both semesters have plenty to offer to allow you to enjoy your college experience year round!