A number of universities have introduced two intakes in a year. Prospective students have a choice and they can either start the academic year in September or January. Despite the flexibility, some international students are facing the dilemma as they need to decide which intake, September or January, is better as the start date of their degree programme.
What are the pros and cons of the September or January intake?
A student needs to consider the number of available courses in each intake, job prospects, student placement options, freshers week events and course duration when choosing either the September or January intake.
1.Number of available courses
Not all universities offer January intake. Most top rank and prestigious universities consider September as the start of the academic year. The universities with January intake frequently provide a limited number of programmes available in this intake. Before applying for January intake, ensure you research your university and find out if your desired degree is available in this intake. Otherwise, it’s worth waiting until September, by which your application will be spotless and you’ll be comfortably waiting for the freshers week.
2. Freshers week
Freshers week gives a great opportunity to network with fellow students, learn more about courses, familiarise themselves with campus and various student clubs, participate in lots of fun and also academic events with tutors and university staff.
You don’t want to miss September’s freshers week, and you will definitely miss freshers week if you start in January. And even if your university does organize freshers week in January, it’s not as fun and engaging as the one in September.
3.Part-time job opportunities
Finding part-time work in September is easier than in January. Lots of companies need extra staff before the Christmas period. As a result, you have better chances of finding employment. That said, lots of students look for jobs during this time, so the competition is fierce. Hence you need to be super proactive when job hunting, print your CV, take it with you and leave it with a manager of every coffee shop, clothing store or restaurant located in close proximity of your accommodation or campus.
Part-time positions are limited in January, the haste of Christmas is long gone, people are usually into saving than spending, so there might not be as many job opportunities. However, this is also a period when people make new years resolutions, they want to change their life, and very often that is connected to changing their work. There’s a good chance there will be a vacancy here and there, but it will be limited.
4. Duration of the course
Some programmes starting in January might be 3 months longer than those starting in September. As a consequence, you will be studying longer than your fellow classmates. Some universities however ask you to study throughout the summer term, so that by October you catch up with other students in your year. When choosing the university and programme, look into the end dates of the course. What comes with a longer course duration is also an increased programme fee.
5. Work placement
Work placement is completed during your degree, usually between your second and final year of study. Sometimes they even make a compulsory element of your degree. During this ‘sandwich’ year or as some call ‘year in industry’ you will be assessed and at the end awarded credit for the placement.
Work placement gives you a fantastic opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills in work settings. You will be able to increase your skills and competencies, frequently sought after by future employers.
Companies usually advertise the work placement a year in advance in September, very few employers start placement programmes in January
Why would someone choose to start a university in January?
1. You need more time
Family responsibilities, work commitments, English level, saving money or visa issues are just a few things preventing you from starting university in September. No matter how challenging your life has become, take time to sort out the outstanding issues so that you can fully devote yourself to your studies in January.
2. Gap year
Gap year used to allow students to take a break between studies to reflect on their life and future, get some work experience or simply backpack around the world. These days, some students prefer to take a mini gap year for 3-5 months. It’s enough time to do volunteering, travel or simply take time to think of what you really want to study. Don’t feel guilty when taking a mini gap year or even a whole 12-month gap, you need this time and space to really think about what you want from life and about your career aspirations.
3. Need to change the course
You might have started a course in September and realised that it is not exactly what you were hoping to be, it’s just not the right fit. Don’t feel you’re stuck and you can’t change the uni or the course. On the contrary, you can start again and apply in January intake, it’s a perfect time to transfer.
4. You missed the September intake
For some reason you missed September intake, if that’s the case, January intake comes as a saviour and it can even allow you to apply for the course of your first choice. Some universities allocation additional spots for the January intake, meaning that some lucky students might get a place on the course they have always dreamt of.
5.Flexibility for mature students
January intake becomes a flexible option for mature students who want to do their first degree or for those who are thinking of doing their second degree. The time between September and January allows them to mentally prepare for the study, deal with their commitments and then with a piece of mind start the course in January.
6. You are an international student
In the southern hemisphere, including Australia, South America, some countries in Africa and Asia, the school year usually runs from January to December. Starting in September might be a bit tricky as they have to go through the application process during the school year, then wait for almost 9 months to begin their study.
List of Universities in the UK that admit in January 2022:
Anglia Ruskin University
Bath Spa University
Birkbeck University of London.
Birmingham City University
Brunel University London
Cardiff Metropolitan University
City, University of London
De Montfort University
Edge Hill University
Edinburgh Napier University
Glasgow Caledonian University
Keele University UK
Leeds Beckett University
London Metropolitan University
London South Bank University
Manchester Metropolitan University
Northumbria University London
Nottingham Trent University
Oxford Brookes University
Regent’s University London
University College Birmingham
University of Bedfordshire
University of Central Lancashire (UCLan)
University of Chester
University of Cumbria
University of Derby
University of Dundee
University of East London
University of Greenwich, London
University of Hertfordshire
University of Huddersfield
University of Leicester
University of Portsmouth
University of Salford
University of South Wales
University of Stirling
University of Sunderland
University of West London
University of Westminster, London
University of Wolverhampton
University of Worcester