College Planning

Tips for Applying to Rolling Admission Colleges

When it comes to rolling admission, timing is everything. Colleges with rolling admission might offer you a wide application window, but your chances of getting accepted are far better when you apply early. Check out these tips.


1. Know the difference between rolling and regular admission.

What is rolling admission? Rolling admission means that your application gets reviewed as soon as it’s received. You’ll know within 4–6 weeks if you’ve been accepted. Colleges with regular admission wait until the deadline to review all the applications they’ve received.

You can find more information here about other admission types, such as early decision and early action. Take a look at our College Admission Glossary by downloading College Advising Essentials: Volume 3.


2. Consider getting your application in early.

The sooner you get your application in, the sooner you’ll know if you’ve been accepted, waitlisted, or rejected. Also, there’s more space earlier in the admission window. There’s less competition so it’s easier to get into the college. When you apply toward the end of the application window, you’ll find fewer available spaces.

If you’re able to apply early, keep in mind that you’ll need to ask for your recommendation letters early and work on any personal essays in advance. It’s up to you to stay on top of these applications.


3. Plan how you apply to colleges.

Get organized as early as possible by tracking all your deadlines for schools you’re applying to. Think about how the rolling admission colleges fit into the mix.

If a college with rolling admission is a top pick for you, then applying early is the way to go. If it’s not high on your list, prioritize your applications for the regular admission schools. Apply to the rolling admission school a bit later.


4. Take time to strengthen your application.

One of the advantages of applying to a rolling admission college is that you get some extra time. If you aren’t satisfied with your SAT score, you can wait to apply until after you retake the test. Or you can spend more time revising your personal essay. Just be careful about taking too much time or procrastinating.

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