What Is Rolling Admission? When Should You Apply?

What is rolling admission? Learn everything on rolling admission, benefits, drawbacks, when to apply, guidelines for college application, and top colleges with the rolling applications.

TCM Staff

16th October 2020

Are you a student who is curious to know regarding the rolling admission? As the name itself indicates, it is a system or method in which, when the application rolls in, it will be evaluated then and there.  

'Rolling' is nothing but an idea of an institution that responds to the applicants on a regular basis unlike early action and early decision which wait for the deadline to arrive. 

If you are a person who feels it as too much pressure while applying for the university before deadlines, we are sure you would want to read this article which comprises everything about rolling admission. The advantage of it is you do not have to wait for months in order to get a call back from colleges you have applied to since it is evaluated immediately. 

What is a rolling admission?

Rolling admission is a method used in many schools to allow freshmen for undergraduate programs. Many law schools in the United States have this kind of arrangement. Students will be invited to submit their applications to the university anytime before the curriculum starts under this method of admission. 

Yes, schools with rolling admissions do not have a set deadline, but it doesn't mean you should keep on delaying to submit your application. It is better to apply as early as possible. Also, a few colleges set a priority deadline, declaring that students who apply by that date will have greater possibilities of getting in. 

Colleges with this kind of admission are considered to be a benefit for you as it reviews your application then and there instead of collecting all the applications and then bifurcating. It makes it easier for the college administration as well. Thus according to this, the sooner you apply for the colleges, the sooner you will be able to hear back from the colleges you have applied for. 

These admissions are helpful for you if you are a student who doesn’t want to be pushed against a tough deadline. The practice is considered to be useful if you didn’t get an opportunity to land in the college you dreamt of or didn’t receive enough financial aid at a college where you were accepted.

Benefits of rolling admission

  • You usually hear back from the institution a few weeks after submitting your application.

  • You can prioritize your college choices

  • It offers an option of last-minute college selection.

  • Applications are evaluated when they are received, which means there will be less competition if you apply early.

  • Your senior year can be free of stress.

Drawbacks of Rolling Admission

  • If you apply late, you will get a call late.

  • As applications are processed as they come in, available spots can fill up quickly.

  • It can still have important deadlines to meet, so you still have to be on time.

  • It gets harder to get into a rolling admissions school the longer you delay your application.

  • Some schools may require early responses with early acceptance.

When should you apply for a rolling admission college or school?

Considering your applications are analyzed and examined as soon as it is submitted, there are more chances and options for you. Thus, you will have to be ready with your application and all the related documents early. If your school has a priority deadline, then it is obvious that you definitely have to meet them. 

It is definitely a better idea to set a deadline for yourself to submit the application so that you will keep a record of your actions and be conscious about the last dates. You can apply in November, December, or before January. 

It will not only give you relief from competition but will also help you keep a track of your application requirements or guidelines which are discussed further. It may take months or even years to be prepared with your application needs. By fixing a deadline for yourself, you can schedule everything.

Guidelines for college application

The three main aspects of your application are discussed below in brief which is considered to be very important and useful whether you are joining a rolling college or any other college for that matter.

  • Plan when to take up your ACT or SAT examinations or any other entrance test for that case and try to take at least 2 tests. These tests are very important to get into a good college. The majority of you take tests more than two or three times to achieve their goal with respect to score and college. Accomplishing your goal of SAT or ACT scores is a means that can take months of strategizing and hard work. Thus make sure to plan well even if you are not applying for a rolling admission policy college.

  • Your teachers and counselor will be as busy as you are because even they will have to give a letter of recommendation to your friends as well. So it is better to ask for L.O.R as early as possible to save your time and theirs as well. Meeting your teachers and sharing your thoughts, intentions and why it is important for you to join that specific college, and making your recommendation appeals are more ideas to set a particular application deadline for yourself.  

Read more about how to ask for a letter of recommendation.

  • Start thinking and preparing for the personal essay in advance. Most colleges prefer an essay writing from you about any topic you choose. There are chances where you get confused regarding the topic. So stay calm and give yourself some time to plan and decide on it. All that matters in this are your creativity and presence of mind. You can also make some research and read a few sample essays and then start writing one.

Top 15 Institutions with Rolling Admission System 

Here is a list of the top 15 colleges and schools that follows a rolling admission system.

  • University of Pennsylvania

  • University of Michigan

  • Northeastern University

  • Pennsylvania State University

  • University of Pittsburgh

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst

  • Clemson University

  • Texas A&M University

  • University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

  • Michigan State University

  • University of Iowa

  • University of California Riverside

  • New Jersey Institute of Technology

  • Saint Lewis University

  • University of San Francisco


You can consider the colleges with rolling admission as it results in less competition and there will be the availability of various options to choose the college of your wish. Instead of regretting your decisions later, plan and make a move accordingly.

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