How Does Rolling Admissions For College Work

Posted by IPFW Admissions Team on 7/14/16 7:30 AM

Admissions tableApplying to college brings a lot of questions—especially when the deadline’s already gone by.

What happens if you haven’t been accepted into any of the colleges you applied to? What about if you did get accepted, but the financial aid package you received wasn’t what you were hoping for? And what if all your applications have been sent in, but now you’re thinking that sending in a few more wouldn’t be a bad idea?

If any of these questions or something similar have gone through your mind recently, there’s still hope. Many colleges and universities don’t have a hard application deadline—instead, they have something called “rolling admissions.” Schools with rolling admissions keep their application windows open until every available position is filled, giving you the chance to get in when other schools’ deadlines have passed.

You probably have even more questions now. The good news: we have answers.

What is rolling admissions?

Rolling admissions simply means applications are processed in the order that they are received. This means the application window is usually quite large—sometimes six months or more. The window doesn’t close until a school fills every available opening.

What are the advantages of rolling admissions?

Normally there is a quick response because admissions officers consider applications as they come and aren’t waiting for a deadline to pass. At IPFW, for example, you can expect an admissions decision within two to three weeks of completing your application.

You can also get an early decision. Having a “yes” or “no” from one school (especially your first-choice school) will help you plan a strategy for applying to other schools. Many admissions experts say this is the main advantage of rolling admissions.

Rolling admissions gives you additional options if you’ve not been accepted into other schools (or if you received unfavorable financial aid offers). If you can find rolling admissions schools that haven’t filled their capacity, you can squeeze in a few more applications as late as (in theory) the start of classes.


What are the disadvantages?

Priority is usually given to students who apply earlier. While—in theory—you can apply any time, your chances of acceptance will usually be higher the earlier you apply. You may miss out on financial aid (scholarships, grants, etc.) for the same reason—students who applied earlier may have the advantage.

Rolling admissions schools are not necessarily any less competitive either. Some of the most competitive schools offer rolling admissions—which means they may have filled their capacity long before the summer.


How do I find a school with rolling admissions?

If you’re looking to apply to a few more colleges this summer, the first step is to find schools with rolling admissions. Here are a few useful lists: 

Next step: Visit a school’s website or call the school to find out if they’re still accepting applications.

Whenever you plan on applying, keep organized and on track with “The Ultimate College Decision Timeline.”

Download the checklist - The Ultimate College Decision Timeline

Topics: Applying to College, Application Timeline





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