What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

What is Rolling Admission? Tips + Top Schools

What’s Covered:


Rolling admissions allows students to apply to college on almost a first-come, first-served basis. The earlier you apply, the earlier you hear back, and the more likely you are to get in. 


A number of schools use rolling admissions, including some of the US’s top colleges and universities. So, exactly what is rolling admission? And when should you apply to ensure the best results? Keep reading to find out whether this application option is right for you.


What is Rolling Admissions?


Most schools accept applications during a limited period of time (usually a few months in the fall) and wait until their application deadlines have passed before they begin making admissions decisions. Commonly known as regular decision, this practice requires all students to submit their applications by a particular date (usually around the beginning of January). Once all applications have been received, the college or university makes its admission decisions based on the full pool of applicants and notifies students by a particular date (typically in March), allowing students a few weeks to weigh their options and make a decision about whether or not they plan to attend. 


Other institutions accept applications on a continuing basis throughout the year. This practice is known as rolling admissions. Schools that use rolling admissions respond to applications as they come in, often informing students of whether they’ve been accepted or rejected within four to six weeks. In most cases, schools with rolling admissions don’t have official deadlines, but timing still matters when applying.


When Is the Best Time to Apply in Rolling Admissions?


One of the benefits of rolling admissions is that students have the opportunity to apply to schools later, maybe even after receiving rejections from other institutions. Still, it’s a mistake to assume that schools with rolling admissions have less rigorous admissions requirements or lower standards. In fact, students applying to these institutions should strive to get their applications in as early as possible. Since rolling admissions colleges evaluate applications as they receive them, they may have a limited number of spots available for those who apply later. Admissions standards may also be higher the longer you wait, as colleges will need to be more selective in allocating limited spots. 


Additionally, applying early can help you receive an admissions decision more quickly. Some rolling admissions schools, including Pennsylvania State, have priority application deadlines. Students who apply by this date will receive an answer sooner than those who miss the deadline. These priority deadlines are often hard deadlines for students planning to apply for financial aid and scholarships as well as honors and accelerated programs. Even if a school with rolling admissions doesn’t have a strict deadline for students applying for financial aid, institutions often have a limited pool of funding to allocate to students and can even run out. Consequently, applying early can hep secure a better shot at receiving institutional funding. If you wait until spring to apply to a rolling admissions school, there may not be as much (or any) financial aid available as if you had applied in the fall or winter.


The Pros of Rolling Admissions


Hear Back Quickly


While much of the narrative around college admissions focuses on the schools making decisions about you, you’re also making a big decision about them–four years of your life is a long time! Since schools with rolling admissions usually return decisions to you within a couple of weeks, instead of a few months, you’ll have more time to evaluate your choices, or adjust your plan if you weren’t accepted at a particular school.


Note that some colleges with rolling admissions, such as Rutgers, also require you to let them know if you plan to attend within a couple of weeks, so make sure you’re aware if you’re applying to a school with that policy.


Higher Acceptance Rates


Schools with rolling admissions aren’t always easier to get into–Northeastern, for example, is one of the most competitive schools in the country. However, in general these schools do have higher acceptance rates, so you can feel confident in your chances of acceptance.


That being said, you should of course still dedicate the necessary time to polishing your application. A higher acceptance rate doesn’t mean you should take your acceptance for granted!


Bigger Window to Apply


One of the most stressful parts of college admissions is the crunch periods around common deadlines, such as November 1st or the early January regular decision deadlines. With rolling admissions, you don’t have to worry about that! You can work on and submit your application at the time that is most convenient for you, which could even be over the summer, before you’re busy with school, so long as your application is ready.


The Cons of Rolling Admissions


Spots Can Fill Up Quickly


Remember that every college out there is someone’s dream school. 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.


First Come, First Serve


While getting accepted is obviously the most important step in the college process, once you’re in there are a lot of other things you need to take care of, like figuring out your financial aid options and applying for housing. 


At schools with rolling admissions, those processes often start when the first students are accepted, which is likely in the fall. You do have the flexibility to submit your application in the winter or sometimes even spring. But just be aware that, if you are accepted, your options may be somewhat limited.


Priority Deadlines


As you can see in the table below, rolling admissions does come with a caveat, which is that many colleges have a priority deadline. Typically, you must submit your application by that date to be considered for scholarships, and sometimes certain programs within the school also require you to apply by that date. 


In practice, priority deadlines make the rolling admissions application process essentially identical to that at a school with regular deadlines. So, if there is a rolling admissions school you are especially interested in, make sure you are aware of its deadlines, and that all your materials are in on time.


20 Top Schools With Rolling Admissions


Students often make the mistake of assuming that the best schools don’t offer rolling admissions. While none of America’s eight Ivy League colleges currently offer rolling admissions, plenty of great schools provide this perk. Below are the top national schools offering rolling admissions at this time:


School Name


CollegeVine Ranking

Acceptance Rate

Priority Deadline

Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA



Nov. 1

University of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, PA



Dec. 1

Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN



Nov. 1

Rutgers University

New Brunswick, NJ



Oct. 1

University of Minnesota

Twin Cities, MN



Nov. 1

Binghamton University—SUNY

Binghamton, NY



Nov. 1

Indiana University

Bloomington, IN



Nov. 1

University at Buffalo

Buffalo, NY



Nov. 15

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI



Nov. 1

Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester, NY



Jan. 15

Ohio State University

Columbus, OH



Nov. 1

Northeastern University

Boston, MA



Nov. 1

University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa, AL



Jan. 15

Arizona State University

Tempe, AZ



Nov. 1

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA



March 1

Iowa State University

Ames, IA




University of Mississippi

Oxford, MS



Jan. 10

Wheaton College

Wheaton, IL



Oct. 15

University of St. Thomas (Minnesota)

St. Paul, MN



Nov. 1

Michigan Technological University

Houghton, MI



Jan. 15

Saint Louis University

St. Louis, MO



Dec. 1

University of South Florida

Tampa, FL



Nov. 1

University of Colorado Denver

Denver, CO



March 1


How to Increase Your Chances When Applying Rolling Admission


Apply As Soon As Possible


As emphasized a couple of places above, a school using rolling admissions doesn’t mean it has unlimited spots. To give yourself the best chance of acceptance, you want to apply when there are as many spots open as possible, which means the sooner you submit your application, the better.


Pay Attention to Priority Deadlines


Remember, while a priority deadline is not the same thing as a hard deadline, it’s there for a reason. Particularly since many of these deadlines are at crunch times in the application cycle, make sure you’re giving enough attention to (for example) your Purdue application in the weeks leading up to the deadline.


Plan Ahead With Standardized Testing


If you are planning to submit the SAT or ACT, you want to make sure that you’re happy with your score by the time your first priority deadline rolls around. And, again, the sooner the better, as while you’re waiting around for your scores to come back, spots will be starting to fill up.


Whether or not your target colleges offer rolling admissions, it pays to know your odds of being accepted. At CollegeVine, we created our free chancing engine to provide that insight, using real data from thousands of students at schools around the country. Our mission is to help you determine your personal chances of being accepted at a particular school. so you can set realistic goals and turn them into reality. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started finding your dream school.

Short Bio
Adrian is a current senior at Dartmouth College, originally from Seattle, WA. At Dartmouth, she studies philosophy and neuroscience, and has been involved with research in the philosophy department, sexual assault prevention on campus, and mentorship programs for first year students. She spent her junior fall studying abroad at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.