Understanding Rolling Admission in U.S. Colleges


Rolling admission” is the name given to a very common type of admissions policy implemented by many colleges and graduate schools in the United States. This method provides applicants with a large window of time to process and complete their application to a specific school or program. The application process for schools using this type of admission policy usually opens up in the early fall, and continues right through the summer. For instance, a school with rolling admission might begin accepting applications on October 15th and cease accepting applications on January 15th.

Unlike the regular admission process where schools provide a specific application deadline after which every application will be evaluated, rolling admission applicants can continue to submit applications as soon as they open as long as there are slots available in the program they wish to apply to.

How Rolling Admission Works

In a rolling admission system, colleges and universities evaluate applications as soon as they receive them and make decisions shortly after. Applicants can learn whether they get accepted or not a mere few weeks after they have submitted their application in many cases. Program slots are being filled continuously as colleges accept more and more candidates. Thus, when planning to apply to rolling admissions schools, it is important to make sure that  your application is processed as soon as possible.

In many cases, applying early improves an applicant's chance of being accepted, even if marginally. On the other hand, postponing submission may disqualify an applicant from getting scholarships, financial aid, and/or housing incentives that might be integral parts of his or her decisionmaking calculus.

Advantages of Rolling Admission

If handled properly, rolling admission can provide several advantages to students, including:

  • Receiving admissions decision early on the application period;
  • Having flexibility in weighing college options and making final decision as to which school  to get into;
  • Avoiding competition – and stress – during application period; and
  •  Improving the likelihood of receiving a scholarship and getting first choice for housing, if students apply early.

Is Rolling Admission For You?

Rolling admission can work for you only if you are willing to apply early in the process – meaning, your college application is completely ready by the time the rolling admission begins. This means that your test score record will be ready by to send to the schools, that your personal statement and all other application components have been meticulously completed and reviewed, and that your transcript and recommendations are all in order within the requisite timeframe. This way, you can receive a decision shortly after that will help you better weigh your college options. For instance, if you get rejected, you can apply to another school or program of your choice.

More importantly, if you want to improve your chances of getting a scholarship or financial aid, you should be ready to apply early during the rolling admission period. For help getting your application ready for rolling admission, contact a college admissions expert at InGenius Prep.

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