What You Should Know About Applying to a College With Rolling Admission
Before applying to a college with rolling admission, check to see whether it uses a rolling deadline system or a rolling notification system. Rolling deadlines mean there is no specific deadline for student application. Rolling notifications mean the school notifies students of their application status on a rolling basis after a deadline. When looking to relieve the deadline pressure that comes with applying to college, make sure to look for schools utilizing a rolling deadline system.
Keep in mind that many rolling admission universities operate on a first-come, first-serve basis. The advantage of applying to a school with rolling admission is not worrying about meeting strict deadlines, but delaying your application could mean missing out on attending your dream school if all available spots have already filled up. Some colleges have priority deadlines, meaning that they accept applications on a rolling basis but prioritize applications submitted by a specific deadline.
Students that have done thorough research and decided which school they want to attend may prefer applying to a school with early decision plans. This gives students the option to apply early, and if they are accepted, they are obligated to attend the university. If considering several schools, this may not be ideal for you, as early decision plans are binding.
Applying to colleges with rolling admission can make the college application process significantly less stressful, but to maximize your chance of attending your preferred university, keep a couple of tips in mind.
- Apply to your top schools first. Before application windows open up, take the time to make a list of your preferred schools and apply to them first. By applying early in the admissions process when more spots are available, you can maximize your chances of being accepted to your top choices. By applying to your top schools early, you will hear back from these schools earlier in the admissions process, rather than having to wait until application deadlines pass.
- Pay attention to deadlines for financial aid. Schools with rolling admission may still have deadlines for applying for financial aid or student housing. Purdue University, for example, encourages students to submit their applications by November 1st to receive maximum consideration for scholarships. Purdue also has a priority filing date of March 1st for financial aid. If you will be relying on financial aid to fund your education, make sure to review your chosen schools’ priority dates for financial aid, scholarships, and student housing.
- Complete your FAFSA application early. Rolling admission gives you the flexibility to submit applications later in the application cycle. But to receive financial aid, it is important to complete your Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application as early as possible. Schools have limited amounts of student aid available, making it important to complete and submit your application to your chosen schools quickly. This will also help you receive financial aid award letters from universities more quickly, making it easier to compare your offers and choose the one that best suits your financial needs.
- Get your application materials ready. To streamline the application process and apply to your top schools as quickly as possible, it is important to prepare your application materials in advance. Request recommendation letters from your teachers before applications open, take or retake your SAT or ACT if necessary, and research essay prompts to begin planning your admission essays. Khan Academy provides a comprehensive college application checklist to help students prepare in advance.