What is Rolling Admissions

Learn the Pros and Cons of Rolling Admission

Many colleges and universities have a rolling admissions policy for incoming freshman students. This essentially means that students are free to submit their applications at any time during the admissions process. The window is usually six months or more, beginning in the fall and often lasting to the summer.

Most competitive colleges and universities don't employ rolling admissions and instead set firm deadlines. But for schools that do, it offers students many advantages as well as some potential hazards.

Specific policies vary from school to school. Some set deadlines, while others accept students as long as space is available. Like any part of the college application process, you should make sure you know a school's admissions requirements and all the pertinent dates and deadlines well ahead of time.

Rolling admissions gives you a wider range of flexibility when applying to colleges, but you still want to submit your application early. Most schools will give you a response within a month, sometimes even just a couple of weeks. If you apply early and are rejected, there is still time to apply to other schools. The same is true if a selective school with a winter deadline rejected you. There is still time to apply to a suitable school with a rolling admissions policy in the spring.

Applying early also sends a good signal to admissions counselors and gives you one of your best advantages. Some students even believe that early applications receive a little more time and attention than those that come in later in the year.

Student housing and financial aid deadlines usually precede the end of the rolling admissions window. For this reason, it is highly advisable that you submit your application early, even if the window lasts through the summer. Additionally, many schools do run out of space and it is usually impossible to know when that will happen. Early acceptance also greatly increases your chances of being awarded a scholarship.

While rolling admissions allows students more flexibility, it shouldn't be used as a reason to wait. Sometimes spots fill up fast, and more qualified students are rejected simply because they took too long to send in their applications. And even if you do make the deadlines for financial aid and student housing, earlier applicants will be higher up on the lists.

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