What is Rolling Admissions?

For anyone navigating the college application process for the first time, students and parents, the new vocabulary you are presented with is daunting enough, let alone tackling the applications themselves. You must learn and understand the nuances of the Early Decision binding agreement and how that differs from Restrictive Early Action, which should not be confused with Early Action. Then you have Priority and Regular Decision deadlines. Your head is spinning after hearing the options while trying to remember which college offers which option. Regardless, each of these deadlines is hard and fast – you must submit your completed application by 11:59 pm on said date, otherwise, better luck next year. For high school seniors who are not great with meeting deadlines, the college admission process is an excellent time to start setting reminders in your iPhone calendar.

What is Rolling Admissions? | Image

This deadline-driven process tends to work better for students who are seemingly more sure about their college list, but it’s less exciting for the student who is still working to decide their plan. There’s no question that college applications can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety, and hard deadlines just add to the pressure, especially for the indecisive infamous procrastinator.

Rolling Admissions – What is it?

Rolling Admissions, a non-binding and flexible application option offered by a number of US colleges, is a fantastic choice for any student, regardless of where they are in their journey.

Unlike other deadline policies, colleges that offer rolling admissions will evaluate applications as they are submitted, granted that all required supportive documents (recommendation letters, test scores, transcripts, etc.) have also been received. As the applications roll in, decisions are rolled out, often sent quickly after a decision has been made.

The flexibility offered through rolling admissions benefits many students, especially those who are looking for a non-binding opportunity. Rolling admission serves students who want to receive an admission decision before the holidays, and those who need a little more time deciding their college list.

In many cases, like other applications, rolling admission applications will open on August 1 (or by September 1) and students can apply any time prior to December 1, February 1, and sometimes March 1. There are also colleges that will accept applications throughout the summer for students looking to enroll in the fall. Keep in mind, this can vary from college to college.

It’s True – The Early Bird Gets the Worm

Even still, don’t wait too long to apply. Like all colleges, colleges that offer rolling admissions will have a cap for their acceptance numbers. If a higher volume of qualified applicants submit their applications early, they will secure their admission to the college, especially for the more popular and sought-after majors. The later applicant may experience much steeper competition given that there are now fewer spots available in the class.

Plan ahead and put together a quality application – ‘rolling’ should not mean ‘quick and careless’. Remember that your application is still being evaluated by an admission professional, and they want to know that you are college ready. Lean into those who can support you through this process for guidance.

How Do I Find The Colleges That Offer Rolling Admissions?

There are over 120 US colleges and universities, private and public, that offer rolling admissions. This policy can change from year-to-year, so it’s important that you do your research. There are many online resources that share this list of colleges, but the most accurate information can be found on the individual college websites, through Common Application and Coalition Application.

The most important thing to remember as you tackle college applications is – ALWAYS read the fine print. It is the student’s responsibility to know their colleges, deadlines, and requirements. Create a plan that works best for you to stay organized, set reminders, and jump in. Happy applying!


  • October 15
  • November 1
  • November 15
  • Jan 1 – 5 (respectively)

All of our blog posts are written by Former College Admission Officers who serve as members of our admission consultant team.

Recent Posts: