What is Rolling Admissions?

What if I told you that you could get into college as early as September or October of your senior year? Instead of waiting until December, January, or even later for your decisions, you could go through your senior year with less stress knowing that you are already accepted to a great college.
This can be a reality for you if you apply to colleges that offer a rolling admissions option.
So what is rolling admissions exactly?
Simply, colleges with rolling admissions review applications as they come in. This allows students to take advantage of a broad range of dates to apply for admission. The sooner you apply, the sooner you can be accepted. Colleges will have a final rolling admissions deadline, but students are encouraged to apply to whenever they want (as long as it is before that deadline).

About The Author
Will is a veteran of the college admissions process who has read thousands of applications and successfully counseled hundreds of students through the admissions process. Story2 teaches students applying to college how to write powerful personal statements, supplemental essays, and scholarship essays. Previously, Will was the Associate Director of College Counseling at an independent school in Connecticut and a Senior Assistant Director of Admissions at Kenyon College. Will is a graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of Pennsylvania.

Unlike other early application options like Early Decision, Restricted Early Action, Single Choice Early Action, rolling admissions does not have any restrictions or require students to attend the college if accepted. This makes rolling admissions a useful option for students who want to get accepted to college earlier, but not commit or restrict themselves in the process.
Keep on reading to learn more about why colleges offer rolling admissions and what this means for students.


The typical admissions processes include Regular Decision, Early Decision, and Early Action. Each of these processes operates on a fixed timeline as far as when applications are due, when students will be notified of decisions, and when students need to make their final decision.
For colleges, the advantage of rolling admissions is that it gives students a very attractive application option. This can incentivize students to apply as the students know that they will hear back sooner. Rolling admissions also allows them to accept and evaluate applications as they come in. This helps to spread out the workload for admissions officers who are reading and managing applications.
Another benefit is that rolling admissions gives the colleges important insights into the applicant pool as far as test scores, grades, demographics, locations, and potential majors.
Many colleges, universities, and other schools offer a rolling admissions application cycle. Be sure to check with your target schools early on to make sure you’re aligning all of your applications as best as possible.
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For students, rolling admissions represents a great deal: apply to college early, find out your decision early, and potentially get into college early! This can alleviate a lot of stress for students going through the admissions process.
If you are a student who is planning on applying to a college rolling admissions, you should generally try to apply as early as possible. The only exception to this is if you want to wait to send a new set of grades or new test scores. Students who had a rough junior year academically may want to consider this option so that they can submit grades from the first semester of senior year.
Remember, that when you are applying rolling admissions you will need to have all of your application materials in order. This includes your application, essays, recommendation letters, test scores, and transcripts. The good news is that once you have these materials ready, you will be able to have them to send to other colleges on your list.
If you are planning on applying rolling admissions you should identify a target date when you will submit your application and materials. For most students, this will mean working on your application and essays over the summer. It will also mean that you will need to ask your teachers for recommendations before the start of your senior year.
Rolling admissions can be a valuable tool for students who are applying to college. An early application deadline can force students to get organized and have their application materials ready. As discussed, this is not for everyone and some students could use the additional time to improve their grades, sit for a new testing, or otherwise improve their academic record. If you have any questions, you should talk to your school counselor about what makes the most sense for you!
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