What Is Rolling Admission Exactly?


What is rolling admission? Ever heard of it? If not, no need to fret. It’s not the most commonly known thing, and we’re here to tell you all about it. It’s not something that students choose, but rather simply a way that certain colleges conduct their admissions process. Schools with rolling admissions will continue to accept applications until all slots have been filled for the semester, which can have both its advantages and disadvantages for you as a student.



What is Rolling Admission?

What does rolling admission mean? Rolling admissions refers to the application period designated by the specific college. In general, it means that it’s a larger window than early and regular decision admissions, and can be as long as six months, sometimes even more. It means that the college accepts applications as they come on a continual basis, and most colleges have no specific application deadline, but it’s always important to check.



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What is the Difference Between Early Admissions and Rolling Admissions?

While early admissions and rolling admissions both mean that you can apply prior to the deadline, rolling admissions means that the school will continue to accept applications until all slots are full. This, however, does not mean that they will necessarily accept you earlier, and unlike early admissions, rolling admissions is a system set by the college, and is not something the student can choose.



The Advantages Of Rolling Admissions

There are many benefits to applying to a school with a rolling admissions system. Generally, you are likely to hear back from them within 4-8 weeks, making it a faster waiting process in comparison to other colleges. This in turn can help to reduce college stress, and is great if you want an early answer. Rolling admissions also offers more flexibility with a larger time frame to apply, which can be beneficial for those making a last-minute decision to attend college.


Rolling admissions could also mean less competition if you decide to apply early, since you won’t be compared to already accepted students. It’s a first come, first serve basis, and if you apply early enough, the college may accept you prior to seeing all of their options and potential candidates. It can leave you time to weigh out all of your options, opening up more doors for yourself, especially since in most cases, rolling admissions are non-binding.



The Disadvantages Of Rolling Admissions

Similar to most things in life, rolling admissions has both its pros and cons. If there is a deadline for the rolling admission and its passed, then you may never hear back.


Although many colleges don’t have a deadline, some colleges do have one as they do for regular decision, and it requires students to still be on top of things. Some colleges even request an early response for an early acceptance, which can cause stress.


Spots can also fill up very quickly with this system, and the longer one waits to apply, the harder it is to get accepted. Certain time periods are more competitive than others. This can be risky and may end up leaving students without proper on-campus housing and funding.



When Should You Apply to a Rolling Admissions School?

While every college has their own deadline, the sooner you apply, the sooner you will hear back and will increase your chances of acceptance. Many schools will get back to you within 2 months of applying, and some will even give you an answer in as little as 2 weeks.


In general, schools open their application acceptance on September 1st. Some schools also have a priority deadline which is important to check out, and if that doesn’t work for you personally, then set yourself a realistic deadline to apply by.



Reputation of Rolling Admissions

There is a false belief that since deadlines are more flexible when it comes to rolling admissions that schools will accept all students automatically. This is not always the case and with rolling admissions, colleges look at applications as they come. This can make it even more difficult to get accepted as spaces become more limited.



Which Colleges Use A Rolling Admissions System?

While no Ivy League colleges use a rolling admissions system, there are many highly reputable and popular colleges that do. Some of these include Purdue University, Penn State, Michigan State, University of Pittsburgh, Indiana, Pace University, Roger Williams, Rutgers, Loyola Marymount, and University of Tulsa, among others.


Penn State, for example, uses a rolling admissions system with no deadline. They also have no early decision and have a 50 percent acceptance rate. Michigan State has both early admission, regular decision, and rolling admission, all of which have different deadlines.



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What Are Other Kinds Of Admissions Systems?

Other admissions systems besides rolling admissions include early action, early decision, regular admission, early evaluation, deferred admission, and open admission.


It’s important to explore all of your options and see what your colleges of choice have available. In most cases, it’s not up to the student how the application process works other than early admissions, but by doing your homework, you can make sure that you have the best chance of getting accepted and attending the college of your dreams.



Why Do Colleges Offer Rolling Admission?

Similar to how rolling admission can take away from a stressful experience as a college applicant, it works the same way for the college, too, especially for one with a small team of staff. It allows them to evaluate potential candidates as they come, and better space them out.


More selective schools tend to compare candidates to others, while rolling admissions for the most part look at each person individually, potentially accepting a student before seeing others. Nonetheless, it’s still a competitive process.



The Bottom Line On Rolling Admissions

Now you know what is rolling admission! It can be a great option for those that apply to college at the last minute — however, it can be a struggle as many students are often in the same boat.


Generally, colleges that use this system tend to have a higher acceptance rate, but should still not be seen as an easy way out.


Since rolling admissions isn’t something that the student can choose, it’s important to always be on top of deadlines and applications, and to be aware of other options such as tuition-free online universities like the University of the People.




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