A Guide to Colleges with Rolling Admissions

Padya Paramita

A Guide to Colleges with Rolling Admissions 

During the college application process, you encounter a lot of different types of schools. This includes universities that have various policies when it comes to application submission and notification protocols. Colleges with rolling admissions include institutions that open up submission anytime within a certain application period, so that students can send in their materials without the stress of a fixed deadline.

Many candidates put colleges with rolling admissions on their list as safety schools because they’re able to find results out early and good news can relieve the pressure of being accepted to college. Some universities that implement this policy, however, can be more selective than others. To guide you through what these colleges are all about, we have elaborated more on what the rolling process entails, included a list of the universities that use this submission timeline, reviewed when you should actually submit your application, and added some pros and cons of including these colleges on your list.

What is Rolling Admissions?

Early action, early decision, and regular decision all have fixed dates. Colleges with rolling admissions are more flexible in the sense that most of them don’t have a strict deadline. That said, since application review works on a first-come first-served basis, you should definitely aim to send in your materials as early as possible. The earlier you submit, the more spots there will be available in the class!

The rolling admissions window of time usually runs from early in the fall to late in the spring. Many schools keep the timeline open until all of their intended spots in the incoming class have been filled. Admissions officers evaluate student files as soon as they are submitted online and notify the applicant within two to eight weeks after the application has been received.

List of Colleges with Rolling Admissions

As you work on your college list, you might ask the question, which are the colleges with rolling admissions? There are nearly a thousand schools that follow the protocol of a quicker turnaround once students submit their applications. In the table below, we have narrowed the list down to a hundred to give you an idea of some of the most notable schools on the list, alongside their acceptance rate so that you can get a sense of whether they would be a reach, fit, or safety option for you.

School Name Acceptance Rate
Adelphi University 73%
Alabama State University 48%
Albion College 71%
Arizona State University 84.1%
Arkansas State University 70%
Augustana College 49%
Bay Path College 63%
Belmont University 81%
Bennett College 89%
Bowling Green State University 68%
Brooklyn College 38%
Butler University 65%
California Institute of the Arts 25%
California State University (at Pomona, Dominguez Hills, East Bay, Fullerton, Long Beach, Northridge, San Bernardino, San Marcos, Stanislaus) Varies
Central Methodist University 63%
Central Michigan University 68%
Clemson University 47%
Concord University 90%
Culinary Institute of America 97%
Dickinson State University 99%
East Carolina University 79%
Eastern Illinois University 47%
Elmhurst College 71%
Emerson College 46%
Emmanuel College 73%
Fairmont State College 66%
Florida Atlantic University 60%
Franklin College 62%
Full Sail University 100%
Gordon College 89%
Greensboro College 66%
Hawaii Pacific University 75%
Hofstra University 64%
Hollins University 48%
Hunter College 40%
Idaho State University 100%
Illinois Wesleyan University 61%
Indiana University — Bloomington 76%
Indiana University — Purdue University 91%
Iowa State University 89%
Kansas State University 95%
Lake Erie College 63%
Laurel University 26%
Lesley University 69%
Louisiana State University 74%
Loyola University Chicago 71%
Manhattan College 67%
Memphis College of Art 38%
Meredith College 69%
Methodist University 63%
Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design 63%
Milwaukee School of Engineering 53%
Mississippi State University 73%
Morris College 79%
Mount Ida College 63%
New England School of Communications 61%
North Carolina Central University 83%
Northern Michigan University 74%
Ohio Wesleyan University 71%
Penn State University 77%
Quinnipiac University 74%
Regis College 84%
Regis University 60%
Rhode Island College 74%
Ringling College of Art and Design 64%
Rowan University 59%
Salem College 60%
South Carolina State University 78%
St. John’s University 68%
Stephens College 54%
Temple University 57%
Temple University 53%
Texas A&M University 70%
Thomas Aquinas College 72%
United States Air Force Academy 15%
United States Coast Guard Academy 15%
United States Merchant Marine Academy 22%
United States Naval Academy 9%
University of Alaska - Anchorage 100%
University of Arizona 84%
University of California — Riverside 84%
University of Central Florida 65%
University of Houston 61%
University of Illinois at Chicago 77%
University of Iowa 81%
University of Maine 91%
University of Massachusetts — Amherst 58%
University of Massachusetts — Boston 75%
University of Michigan 27%
University of New Hampshire 77%
University of North Carolina (Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, Pembroke) Varies
University of Pittsburgh 60%
University of Tampa 53%
University of Tennessee 77%
University of Texas (Pan American, Arlington, Dallas, San Antonio) Varies
University of Utah 66%
University of Washington — Tacoma 84%
University of Wisconsin — Madison 54%
Virginia State University 95%
Wake Forest University 28%
Warren Wilson College 84%
Washington State University 74%
Wayne State University 67%
West Virginia State University 98%
Western Illinois University 60%
Wheelock College 95%
York College 65%

Many of the colleges with rolling admissions have high acceptance rates — which is why students often opt for these as safeties. The list however also includes more selective and well-known institutions such as the University of Michigan and Wake Forest University, which are very competitive. On a different note, the table features colleges that appeal to students with unique and specific career interests, such as the United States Marine and Air Force Academies, Ringling College of Art & Design, and the Institute of Culinary Arts. 

When Should You Apply to Colleges with Rolling Admissions?

If you want to be admitted into one of the colleges with rolling admissions, it’s best to start preparing your application in the early fall. If you’re really excited about the college, it would be wise to submit your materials by the first half of the submission window. This way, you can find out early, and it could take pressure off you because you could already be accepted to college and know that you’re going somewhere next year.

Colleges can vary in their rolling admissions policies. Emerson College for example only sets rolling policies for students applying for admission in the spring after high school graduation year, but has early decision, early action, and regular decision deadlines for students who wish to attend college starting the fall after graduation. Penn State, on the other hand, has an early action deadline, a priority submission deadline, and then opens up a rolling window until spots are filled. Schools also have scholarship and financial aid deadlines — for example, to be among the students considered for priority consideration for merit awards at Central Michigan University, you must submit your application by December 1! That’s even earlier than schools where you need to send your documents for the regular deadlines. So, if you really wish to attend a school, check for other application options rather than just rolling! 

Pros and Cons of Rolling Admissions

Now that you’ve looked through the list of colleges with rolling admissions, you’re probably wondering whether you should apply to one or more schools through the rolling route. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of choosing to do so.


  • You can find out your admissions decision early in the application process: The greatest benefit of applying to a school that lets you know your admissions decision quicker than others is exactly that. For early decision and regular decision choices, you have to wait at least 2-3 months. That period can be highly anxiety-inducing! Some colleges with rolling admissions notify students as early as two weeks upon receiving their file. This can relieve a lot of pressure while you wait to hear back from your ED or RD schools. On the other hand, if you get bad news this early in the process, you have time to take another look at your application and try to improve it before regular decision deadlines elsewhere!
  • You could apply at the last minute: Many students develop a late panic that they won’t be admitted to any school during the cycle. If it’s February and you’re in that stressful zone, it might help to apply to a college that you know you’re well qualified for that still has an open application window. You’ll find out in a few weeks of submission, and if admitted, can relax a bit and get a good night’s sleep!
  • Your acceptance chances could be higher: As you can see from the table above, many of the colleges have very high acceptance rates. Since a lot of the universities are state schools and public institutions, your chances may be even higher if you’re an in-state candidate. Even if the other colleges on your list are far more selective, by applying to one or more colleges with rolling admissions, your admissions chances increase!


  • You may have to prepare your materials in advance: Like we mentioned in the previous section, there are other special deadlines that colleges with rolling assign, such as the last date to apply if you want a scholarship. So, if you’re extra interested in one of the schools, the flexibility in the rolling admissions policy may not benefit you, as you could end up having to apply very early. This might lessen the advantage of the rolling timeline. If you want to apply rolling, you have to be on top of your organization since everything is earlier!
  • Spots might get filled up: Since every student doesn’t apply at the same time when it comes to colleges with rolling admissions, it can be hard to predict exactly when the most competitive points are in the cycle. You may send in your files at the last minute — but it could turn out the admissions office has filled every slot that was available for the incoming class. It’s not always possible to guess the flow of files into the admissions office, so your strategy could backfire.

Colleges with rolling admissions can often help reassure students who are nervous about what the notification season holds for them. By choosing one or more of these as your safety schools, you’ll not only have some options, but they will also let you know earlier than the usual late March-early April. As you gear up to make your school list, consider researching one of these universities. Or, if one of these is your dream school, look up everything you need to do to take advantage of priority deadlines and scholarship opportunities. Good luck!

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