Rolling admission is one of the options students can choose when applying to college. However, there is some confusion and misconceptions about rolling admission that needs to be cleared up.
The definition of rolling admission is clear. Colleges that offer rolling admission have a larger application window in which students can apply for admission. For undergraduate programs, the application usually opens at the beginning of fall for the next fall term and stays open throughout the spring. If students are still looking for colleges, institutions that offer rolling admission could be a great option!
While rolling admission is a great option for many students, there are many misconceptions students have about rolling admission. Therefore, let’s clear up five misconceptions that are out there about rolling admission.
1. “Good” colleges don’t offer rolling admission
First, the word “good” is relative and many colleges are great options for students. However, if students are defining colleges as “good” based on name recognition, there are well known colleges that offer rolling admission. Some of the colleges with big name recognition that offer rolling admission include Penn State, Michigan State, and Indiana University.
2. Only small colleges offer rolling admission
Many colleges in the United States are “small” (under 5,000 students). Therefore, many of the colleges that offer rolling admission will are also small. However, there are large colleges using rolling admission. The University of Alabama, University of Pittsburgh, and Purdue University all have over 10,000 students and operate on rolling admission.
3. It’s easier to be admitted to colleges using rolling admission
As with everything in college admissions, it depends based on the colleges you are considering. Some colleges that offer rolling admission have very high acceptance rates. However, there are colleges using rolling admission with lower acceptance rates. For example, Dallas Baptist University, Kentucky State, University of La Verne, and University of Tulsa had acceptance rates lower than 50% for Fall 2016.* This means less than half of students who applied to these institutions were admitted. In addition, the ease of admission can vary depending on the time of year students apply to rolling admission colleges. Some think it could be easier to be admitted if you apply early because there is less competition. However, again, it all depends on the colleges you are considering.
*Statistics gathered from the National Center for Education Statistics
4. There is no rush to apply if the college offers rolling admission
Rolling admission windows can technically close at any time. Colleges that operate on rolling admission will continue accepting applications as space permits. In the previous year a college could have kept the application window open throughout the summer. However, if the college was especially popular the following year, they may close the application at the beginning of spring. Every college has a certain amount of spaces available every year and if they meet or exceed the number of spaces they have early, they will have to close the application window. In addition, some popular majors may stop accepting applications earlier than less popular majors.
5. Rolling admission colleges do not have deadlines
While the college may not have an admission deadline, there may be other deadlines students should consider. Many financial aid and housing offices on college campuses have deadlines. For example, if a student is not admitted and has not submitted their financial aid documents by the financial aid deadline, their financial aid award could be less than what it would have been if everything was completed before the financial aid deadline.
There are many wonderful colleges that operate on rolling admission. Don’t let the common misconceptions stop you from considering institutions that offer rolling admission.