Is September intake better than January?

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 

Aston University 

Bangor University

Bath Spa University 

Birkbeck University of London.

Birmingham City University 

Bournemouth University 

Brunel University London

Cardiff Metropolitan University

City, University of London

Coventry University 

De Montfort University

Edge Hill University 

Edinburgh Napier University

Glasgow Caledonian University 

Keele University UK

Kingston University

Leeds Beckett University 

London Metropolitan University

London South Bank University

Manchester Metropolitan University 

Middlesex University 

Northumbria University London

Nottingham Trent University 

Oxford Brookes University 

Regent’s University London

Teesside University 

Ulster University 

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