Thoughts on Spring Admission?

We thought we were done! After a long time of contemplating private out of state vs public in state, we finally landed on the University of North Florida. It was not my sons first choice, nor the most prestigious school (that was Syracuse) but for cost reasons, it made a lot of sense. We all agreed, my son was excited and we were done! Decision made, deposit paid, all the school spirit gear purchased! He was even starting to look for a roommate.

Well, yesterday (April 27) he got an acceptance from Univ. of South Florida, for Spring 2023. USF was a reach for him- we had all written it off, especially given how competitive Florida universities have been this year.

So, now we have to quickly decide if we will be changing course. My son is still somewhat in shock and is completely perplexed- he is somewhat looking to us for guidance but I am also in the same place. I do believe that USF is more well regarded as a university and higher ranked. I believe it will give him a more traditional college experience (UNF can sometimes be considered a commuter school- although there are 4K residents on campus) but it is larger and not sure that is necessarily better for my son. Regardless, I am very concerned about the Spring semester start and him losing the momentum with school. While he does have the option to study abroad in the Fall, I am also on the fence with this -and we need to make a decision by Monday for that, which is also overwhelming….

Curious to hear from any other parents of Spring admits- what was the experiences, be it positive or negative, both academically and socially. Also, what did they do in the Fall?

Certainly depends on the school, but I imagine with a school the size of USF there will be lots of kids starting in the spring. I saw another similar thread recently on Reddit about another school that had spring start and there were discussing the study abroad program. There were mixed views on the study abroad classes themselves but they all said it was a great way to meet a bunch of students that were in the same boat as them.


I’m not a parent of a spring admit. I will say, however, that if DC received such an offer, I would advise against it. Most new students enter in the fall. That’s when they’re most open to building new relationships. By the time the second semester rolls around, people are already less open to others because many have already established their social networks.

There was a thread a month or so ago from a student who started in the spring semester who felt really overwhelmed because it seemed everyone around him knew what was going on and wasn’t struggling with the shift to college, when what I assume happened was that the student just wasn’t around when everyone else was struggling with the transition to college, and so the person felt as though it was about him and not just a common, shared experience.

Perhaps if USF had a program where all the spring admits were elsewhere together (kind of like Northeastern has been doing) then it might make it a little easier if he was building relationships with people in that cohort, but even with that Northeastern program, I’m still a bigger fan of starting in the fall on the main campus.

Good luck to your family on this decision!


I’m not sure about the spring admit but it wouldn’t keep me from signing up my kid up for USF. Lots of Florida kids enter in Spring and Summer sessions and most actually enjoy it.

Have you visited both schools? I’d definitely go for USF over UNF. Both for environment and ranking.

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Well, this is something we are looking into. What I recommend looking into is whether attending another 4 year college will affect his offer or not. If not, then why not attend UNF in fall and transfer the credits over to USF if you choose to move in spring? Now some schools will not allow this but will allow transfer of credits from a community college. I would investigate some.

Can he take transferable courses at something like St Petersburg College in the fall? If yes, I would strongly suggest attending USF over UNF.

Some schools that have spring admits have very intentional orientations/on-boarding for them, and this can go a really long way toward closing any social gaps.

Some schools admit these students, but for an off-campus experience, in the fall. They technically start in the fall, but someplace else.

Some folks like avoiding the lunacy of new frosh with new found freedoms and poor decision making that may accompany it in the fall. By spring, it can be easier to find your tribe.

I think, OP, you really need to explore the particulars at this school and what matters to your son. Will he be able to stay in sync with class progressions or is there a notable fall followed by spring sequence? Does this impact rush (if he cares?) Are the activities that interest him ones he can join in spring? Will he be part of a cohort that will be eased onto campus as carefully as the fall cohort?

I think there are challenges for spring admits, but I would problem recommend that my kid do this for a top choice. Friend groups shift over 4 years. A little bad luck can get even a socially able kid off to a rocky start, so the assumption that fall = good isn’t always the case, just as spring = hard isn’t always the case.

Finding something for the fall is the other adventure but really, this can also be a great re-centering opportunity for a lot of kids.


Can he do an entire gap year (assuming he can find something productive to do during a gap year and won’t lose momentum) and then enroll in USF for fall of 2023?

Failing that, I like the idea of starting abroad with a small cohort of spring admits. They’ll be a well-bonded, cohesive group of students all in the same boat.

I’m not sure this is correct but I read that if you take more than 11 credit hours it puts you into the transfer student category rather than an incoming freshman. Could have different admission requirements.

D was a transfer that entered the private U she was admitted to after 3 semesters of CC as a spring admit. Her HS friends had all entered the fall as freshmen. It worked out fine for her as she was able to connect and have housing with them after that spring term. She wanted to and was able to keep her HS friendships while making many new ones as a transfer.

For colleges that admit for spring start, it is best to ask the specific college (in this case USF) what its policy is on spring start students taking courses at some other college (often a community college) in the fall. The college may have a special policy for such admits.

For other situations (e.g. gap year after high school graduation), colleges’ policies on what can cause the student to be seen as a transfer versus frosh applicant vary all over the place. Some colleges may consider enrollment in any college after leaving high school to make the student a transfer applicant. Others have a credit hour limit of college courses after leaving high school. A few may consider the student a frosh applicant even after lots of college credit after leaving high school.

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