When Do Spring Classes Start for College?

Although “spring” is usually in the term “spring semester,” spring classes actually tend to start in January. Here’s everything you need to know about these classes when you can expect the semester to end, and whether or not it’s a good idea to start your college year in the spring.

When do Spring Classes Start for College?

White flowers in front of a University of Central Arkansas campus building.

Flickr user University of Central Arkansas

Most colleges and universities start their spring classes in mid to late January, but some will begin as early as January 3rd. The exact date courses start will depend on the college. This is largely due to the fact that many schools offer winter terms. For winter terms that start and end late, the spring semester tends to be pushed back a little bit, too.

For example, the University of West Florida’s start date for the Spring 2023 semester is January 9th. SUNY New Paltz, however, does not have classes starting until January 23rd.

It’s also important to note that schools that use a quarter system rather than a semester system may also have an earlier start date. These schools tend to have a start date of January 3rd for their “winter quarter.”

If you’re ever unsure when the spring semester or winter quarter begins, it’s important to double check your school’s website. You can also check your class schedule so you know exactly when you have to be on campus.

When do Spring Classes End?

Spring classes usually end during the first week of May followed by finals and graduation ceremonies. But just like start dates, the end date of spring classes can vary and it can largely depend on the semester’s start date. If the semester began in late January, for example, these schools may have a later end date.

Typically, spring semesters last 15 weeks on average.

Can You Start College in the Spring? 

Whether or not you can start college in the spring depends largely on the school in question. Some do allow their students to begin in the spring, but not all. If you have any questions about admissions or start dates for incoming students, be sure to reach out to the admissions department.

Community colleges do tend to allow students to start during any semester, however, including winter or summer semesters.

Should You Start College in the Spring?

 While you may be offered the opportunity to take college in the spring, should you? There are definitely benefits and downsides that you should think about before attending the semester.

Here are some benefits to consider first:

  • You’ll be able to get a start on your degree without having to wait until the fall and could potentially graduate early.
  • You’ll have more time to save up for college in the fall.
  • You could have additional opportunity to work on your college application, especially if they use rolling admissions for spring semesters.

And the downsides of starting school in the spring:

  • Not all classes that are offered during the fall are available in the spring and vice versa. Talk with an advisor if you have any concerns or questions about graduating on time if you start during a different semester. This could also mean that you don’t graduate early, too.
  • Clubs don’t always accept new members mid-year.
  • On-campus housing can be limited or unavailable.
  • A fall start date is required for some scholarships.

What Other Spring Semester Dates and Information Do You Need to Know?

While knowing when classes start is absolutely important – you don’t want to get the semester started off on the wrong foot – these aren’t the only dates you need to know. You should also know:

  • When offices on campus open after winter break. They often open a week or two before classes start
  • When you can move back to campus and your dorm room
  • Check-in requirements and deadline for the spring
  • Spring semester deposit, fees, and tuition and their due dates
  • Course registration including how to register, deadlines, and availability for both the spring and fall semesters
  • Health insurance requirements and due date
  • The latest date you can add or drop a class and the fees associated with these actions
  • Housing selection
  • Financial aid information including waivers
  • Late registration dates and fees
  • Graduation application periods if you are graduating that year
  • Spring break

For some students, starting school in the spring can be a great way to jump start their college education. Not all colleges offer this opportunity however. If you have any questions about spring semester start dates, required information or documents, or other details about your upcoming courses, be sure to reach out to your school well ahead of time.

Scholarships aren’t only available for fall semesters of your first year of college – there are plenty of awards out there that are dedicated to spring semesters and later years of your education. Our Scholarship Search tool can help you locate them without the stress and help make college much more affordable.

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