For the student who waits until the last moment or who is unsure of where they would like to attend college, then a rolling admission program may be ideal. A lot of schools offer this as a way to entice more students to apply to their school without the stress of a deadline.

What is Rolling Admission?

Rolling admission is offered by some colleges as a way to open up the admission period for incoming students. Instead of a standard deadline for applications, they will accept applications over a longer time frame, usually 4-6 months, until the incoming class is filled. You will receive notice of a decision shortly after your application, no matter when you submit it. There are advantages and disadvantages of using rolling admission that should be considered ahead of time.

Benefits of using Rolling Admission

  • Since there is no standard deadline, you have a longer period of time to complete your application and submit it to your intended school. This is perfect for the student who is looking for backup schools in case they are not admitted to their first choice. It leaves them plenty of time to apply to another school before the end of their senior year of high school.

  • Less pressure. Since there is no standard deadline, students don't feel pressured to hurry and write that winning admission essay and it gives them extra time to try and boost their GPA before submitting transcripts to their intended college.

Rolling Admission Disadvantages

  • Since rolling admission has such a wide open admission period, students who wait until the very end may be denied as the school may have filled their limit of incoming spots.

  • Most colleges have an allotted amount of money for grants and scholarships for incoming students, however these funds are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis to eligible students. The student who waits until the last minute may miss out on money that would otherwise help pay for tuition.

  • On-campus housing assignments are awarded early, so if you wait until the last minute to apply to a school, you may not be eligible for housing or you may be put on a dorm waiting list. This could pose a problem for the student who applies to a out-of-state school and who would otherwise need on-campus living arrangements.

  • Just because a school offers rolling admission does not mean that they prefer students to wait until the last minute. If you apply during the normal deadline, you will stand out as a student who is more dedicated to the institution.

Applying as a rolling admission candidate can be beneficial to certain students. For example, if you are going to be a commuting student and you will most likely be funding your tuition with loans, then this type of admission program would be perfect. Otherwise, it is recommended that you apply to your intended school(s) early enough to be considered for grants, scholarships, and on-campus housing.