What are Rolling Admissions?

While you’re applying to college, you may have come across some schools on your list that use a rolling admission process. Here’s a rundown of what you can expect when applying to one of these colleges:

Hay bales on a field.

What is it?

Rolling admissions is a policy often used for freshman, undergraduates, and law schools. Instead of a set deadline for application submissions, the school allows students to submit their applications within a large window of time. Usually, colleges accept applications between the summer of a high school student’s senior year until they fill all the available spots for admissions. This tends to be a six-month window.

Some schools that use rolling admissions are Michigan State, Penn State, Rutgers, and the University of Pittsburgh.

Advantages of Rolling Admissions

There are definitely some advantages to rolling admissions. The most obvious one being the lack of stress on the applying student. If you’re stressed by deadlines, you now have the chance to make sure all your paperwork, documents, essay, and grades are in order before submitting them to the school.

On the other hand, if you’d like to hear about acceptance to your dream school as soon as possible, you now have the chance to hear back even faster than early decision / early action allows for. Many schools get back to prospective students with admission letters about 4-6 weeks after students submit their application. This results in some seniors actually having acceptance letters before their senior year even begins.

A rolling admission also provides a few benefits to the college. Instead of all the applications being reviewed at once, there is less stress on the admissions department. They have the time they need to provide attention to each application.

Disadvantages of Rolling Admissions

You can definitely benefit from the lack of stress that rolling admissions provide. However, there are some downsides to the process. It is possible to miss the admissions window by delaying too long. Once the spots are filled, they are gone. So this may provide some advantages to students who apply sooner rather than later.

This results in less competition in the early months of rolling admissions and more competition towards the end of the window. Students interested in schools that use this process shouldn’t wait until the last minute to submit their application.

If you do receive your application letter, however, take your time. It’s easy to rush into a decision that you may not have made otherwise. Wait to hear back from your other choices before deciding on what school you will attend the following fall.

Rolling admissions could be a huge boost to students interested in applying as soon as possible to their dream schools or even second or third choices. If you find yourself stressed by all the deadlines, they may also give you a bit more time to turn in your paperwork while you apply to other colleges on your list. However, every school is different. Always remember to double-check for any potential deadlines and information that may arise for particular parts of the application.

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