What is it like to apply to spring admission of college in the USA?
Having missed the fall application deadline, there are two options. One is to apply for the spring semester, which will not be an option at every university/college. The other alternative is to start college in your country and then take a transfer to the US after one year or two years
Every University has a different practice for admitting students during the spring term.
Universities like Upenn, Harvard, John Hopkins, University of Virginia, Stanford, Brown, University of Michigan, University of Northern Carolina amongst many others do not have any option to apply for spring admission. They only accept freshman students in the fall term or then as transfer applicants.
Universities like Wisconsin at Madison, Middlebury, Texas at Austin, George Washington, Northeastern, Syracuse, Vermont allow you to apply for spring admission, both as a freshman and as a transfer student.
There are others like University of Southern California, Berkeley, Cornell, Hamilton, which do not have the option of applying for spring admission, but having applied as a regular applicant, it is possible that instead of offering you to start in the fall term they offer you an acceptance to start a semester later in spring. This is called delayed admission and this practice has become extremely prevalent to manage enrolments. This strategy helps universities keep their classrooms at capacity because between freshman-year attrition and junior-year abroad programs, campus populations drop off after the first few months of college each year.
So, you will have to go through a university website to understand their specific admission policy. If they do offer spring admission, the next best thing would be to get in touch with the university to understand what introductory courses are offered to a spring admit, will the academic advisor help them select classes, whether there is an option to start earning credits during the fall term itself, what is the financial aid policy and the housing policy for spring admits and how are the graduation requirements managed. Also, don’t be mistaken that spring semester applicants are any less competitive although the academic grades and SAT scores of these admits are slightly lower than their fall counterparts.
All the best!