There are two distinctly different ways in which colleges process student applications. Some colleges may start assessing the applications as they come in, or only after the deadline. Regardless of when they do the assessments, they send out acceptance letters only after the submission deadline and after they have evaluated all applications. These are often referred to as non-rolling admissions.
In rolling admissions, the college authorities start assessing the applications as they come in and they do not wait until the submission deadline to send out the acceptance letters. Instead, they’ll send them out as soon as they make an admission decision on a case by case basis.
There are a lot of benefits to applying to a college that offers rolling admissions, but there are a few downsides too. Understanding the pros and cons of this process can help you make more informed decisions.
Pros of Rolling Admissions
You get to know the results early in the admission cycle:
The most notable benefit of rolling admissions is that these schools evaluate the applications as soon as they receive them. Students typically hear back from the admissions office within about 4 to 8 weeks after they submit their application. This is great because you know whether or not you have been accepted into the college early on in the admission process. If you are accepted, you can stop your search right away, if not, you still have time to submit a regular application to other colleges.
You have additional flexibility in choosing your school:
Unlike early decision applications, you are under no obligation to attend the school even if you are accepted. You can keep the acceptance on hold while you wait to hear back from the other schools you’ve applied to.
The chances of acceptance are higher:
Because your application is examined as soon as the college receives it, the admissions office will assess it on its own merit. They will not compare it with the other applications. This is unlike regular admissions where all applications are compared and only the top-most applicants go through to the next stage, which is the interview.
Cons of Rolling Admissions
You must apply early in the cycle to get the benefits:
Rolling admissions are only beneficial if you apply early. As time goes by, all available seats keep getting filled up as more and more students keep getting accepted. If you apply too late in the admission cycle, there may not be a seat available for you even if you meet all the criteria and have the most outstanding accomplishments.
Some rolling admissions schools make you choose early:
Before applying to any rolling admission school, you must read through their terms and conditions thoroughly to check all the details and restrictions if any. This is particularly important if the school is not your first choice as you may be forced to take a decision.
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