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What to Know about Rolling Admissions

When it comes to rolling admissions, the general advice is: the earlier you apply, the better.

But what else should college applicants know about the rolling admissions process and when exactly is the best time to apply? US News recently broke down the entire rolling admissions process offering insight into what applicants can expect.


Most colleges that offer rolling admissions don’t have strict deadlines for submitting applications. What applicants should be aware of, however, are priority dates.

“Priority dates can give a student an advantage in consideration for certain programs, financial aid or scholarships, and housing,” Katie Burns, premiere college admissions counselor at admissions consulting company IvyWise, tells US News. “Some programs within a school with rolling (admissions) may have a priority deadline.”

The priority dates vary too, ranging from early November to the late spring as the school year comes to a close. Applicants should be aware of specific dates relating to resources, such as financial aid or housing.

“Rolling admissions gives them options, but they really should look at what those priority deadlines are and what they mean,” Beth Fitzpatrick, director of admissions at Michigan Technological University, says. “For us, it doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of housing options or anything like that, but it might mean they missed a scholarship deadline.”


Timing is of the essence when it comes to rolling admissions. Experts often say the sooner you apply, the higher your chances of getting in.

“The highest your chances are going to get is if you apply right at the beginning,” Matt Woodworth, founder of college admissions consulting company Woodworth Prep, says. “Then the spaces are given out on an availability basis, so the longer you wait the more your chances are going to decrease.”

“Remember that every college out there is someone’s dream school,” Adrian Russian, of CollegeVine, says. “Even if submitting your application to a school with rolling admissions isn’t a high priority for you, it will be for lots of other applicants. And no matter how qualified you are, there needs to be a spot for you. So, make sure your rolling admissions schools don’t fall to the back burner.”


The biggest benefit of rolling admissions is getting the college applications process out of the way early on.

“Applying early gives you the opportunity to plan for your studies as soon as possible and get everything in order so when it comes round to studying, you can focus on that,” Josh Pinder, Admissions Manager at UA92, says. “It also gives you plenty of time to sort out your finances, whether you’re using Student Finance or self-funding or any other form of funding.”

Still, there are drawbacks to the rolling admissions process. For one: qualified applicants can still get rejected if their application is received too late.

“At the same time, however, schools will continue to accept applications until all seats are filled,” Angela Warfield, principal consultant and founder of admissions consulting firm Compass Academics, says. “This means that students who receive rejections from all of their first choice schools will still have options in the spring to apply to rolling admission schools.”

Sources: US News, LinkedIn, CollegeVine

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