What Is Rolling College Admissions?

Understand what rolling admission is, how it may help you if your applications have not been sent in and the colleges with flexible admissions.

Shawna Newman

January 14, 2022

What Is Rolling College Admissions?
Don’t drop the ball: Rolling admissions deadlines usually close in February, or until all student seats have been filled.
While most college application deadlines have passed, there is a solution for seniors considering college even if application(s) are not in yet.
If you haven’t submitted your college application, you may consider applying to schools with rolling admissions at this point in the higher education admissions season.

What is Rolling Admissions?

Admissions officers at rolling-admission colleges look at each application as they arrive, rather than waiting to consider all applications received after the college’s established application deadline—AKA the typical, college admission season. Rolling admission is not an admission type you choose such as early admission or early action. Rather, it’s how a college chooses to manage their admissions calendars. However, the timeline is dwindling as even schools with rolling admissions have some type of deadline. The rolling admissions deadlines usually close toward the beginning of February, or until all student seats have been filled.

Rolling Admissions Benefits

If you’ve waited to get in your application, picking a college that admits students via a rolling admissions process gives you time to get your application in and attend school this fall. There are three benefits to rolling admission:
  1. Flexibility
  2. With longer admission windows, you have more choices on when you could begin your first semester. If you’re still not sure about attending college this fall and would feel more comfortable attending mid-fall semester or during the spring, you could ask for a deferment. You also have time to make your final attendance decision as this type of admission does not require a contractual agreement as early admission does. Typically, May 1st is National College Decision Day, which would be your deadline for a decision.
  3. Less Competition
  4. Your application will not be compared to a list of students. Rather, rolling admissions applications are evaluated as they come in. Visit the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) to find a list of test-optional universities.
  5. Quicker Acceptance
  6. You’ll hear back quickly from colleges using a rolling method. The admissions teams evaluate each application as they come in rather than waiting for a specific date.

Colleges with Rolling Admissions or Later Application Dates

It’s important for you to visit the website of each college you’re applying for to get the details of their rolling admissions process and the window of time you have to submit your app. U.S. News and World Report has created a list of the top 11 U.S. schools with rolling admissions. Two from the list have a February 1, priority deadline, meaning you may have more university-specific scholarship opportunities if your application is submitted by the priority date: Purdue University – West Lafayette, Indiana University of Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) – University Park, Pennsylvania Rutgers University) – New Brunswick, New Jersey University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, Minnesota Indiana University – Bloomington, Indiana Michigan State University – East Lansing, Michigan Binghamton University (SUNY) – Binghamton, New York University at Buffalo (SUNY) – Buffalo, New York Arizona State University – Tempe, Arizona Saint Louis University – St. Louis, Missouri Several of the same schools listed above appear on Niche’s list of 2022 Top Colleges with Rolling Admissions in America, as well. College board provides a comprehensive list of universities that offer application deadlines of January 15 or later.

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