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How Does 'Rolling Admission' Work?

Roger_DooleyRoger_Dooley Founder Posts: 106,392 Senior Member
edited May 2008 in Ask The Dean Topics
Question: Can you please explain what Rolling Admissions means and how colleges determine when to send out your decision?“Rolling Admission” colleges and universities evaluate applications as they arrive, and decisions are mailed shortly thereafter—usually within two months. Places are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Thus, when considering Rolling Admission schools, it usually makes sense [...]

Post edited by Roger_Dooley on

Replies to: How Does 'Rolling Admission' Work?

  • Roger_DooleyRoger_Dooley Founder Posts: 106,392 Senior Member
    I'd add to The Dean's answer on this that rolling admissions schools are PERFECT safety schools! You can have an acceptance in the bag before you even finish your other apps.

    This takes a lot of the pressure off (if you'd be happy at your safety school, which is an essential characteristic of a good safety). And, the fact that you have your acceptance in hand ensures no nasty surprises like a rejection or waitlist at a school that you were certain was a safety.
  • ibtellingibtelling Registered User Posts: 263 Junior Member
    Which colleges still have rolling admissions as of now?
  • aj16aj16 Registered User Posts: 614 Member
    Aren't "rolling admissions" against the very spirit of having a 'holistic' admissions process.
    Why should a weak, uncompetitve student be given so much of an advantage if he applies earlier than a stronger, more competitive student.
  • Roger_DooleyRoger_Dooley Founder Posts: 106,392 Senior Member
    Usually, rolling admissions are used at large public universities that tend to be more numbers-based. No essays, little or no EC analysis - not exactly holistic :). There's not necessarily a huge advantage to applying early in a normal year - a student with competitive stats (for that school) will likely be admitted at any time during the application season.

    The advantages (in addition to having the security of having at least one acceptance in the bank) tend to be more financial aid-related. Sometimes housing options may be better earlier in the process, but schools handle that aspect in different ways.
  • apumicapumic Registered User Posts: 1,529 Senior Member
    At the same time, though, a student who is capable of getting everything done and in early but has a slightly weaker GPA, ECs, etc. may have a stronger work ethic and be more likely to succeed in the real world.
    AJ, that comment sounds pretty snobby. The best students have a good work ethic. Superior IQs (and their related test scores) and dazzling GPAs and ECs may hide deeper problems (e.g., the person wrapper him or herself up in school and ECs to avoid home/family life or even close friendships, which both correlate with lower collegiate success). Someone taking extra long to get an application in may be a warning sign. I would argue that a good student ought to be able to work within the boundaries of the process and get rolling admissions applications in first!
  • excelblueexcelblue Registered User Posts: 1,840 Senior Member
    Rolling admissions is truly a very nice thing. I remembered when I originally spent a lot of time trying to pick out schools that are safeties, etc., when one of my top choices popped out with rolling admissions and a free application that didn't require essays or recs.

    Needless to say, I filled it out semi-seriously and finished the app in about 9min. This was in early October. Before my EAs were due, I already had my first admit, and I didn't have to apply to any other safeties! I was originally going to apply to about 10 colleges, but my list went down to 5 colleges: all of which were in the top 30. The stress it saved me was invaluable.

    Now, their rolling is still open. So, if you got a bit overconfident and applied only to HYPSM, you still have a chance. =)
  • digmediadigmedia Registered User Posts: 3,309 Senior Member
    roger wrote:
    There's not necessarily a huge advantage to applying early in a normal year - a student with competitive stats (for that school) will likely be admitted at any time during the application season.
    Keep in mind that certain majors may be quite competitive, even in schools with rolling admissions. For example, the Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University (which has rolling admissions) is one of the top journalism programs in the country. There are a limited number of spots, and they may fill earlier in the year. So an early app is an advantage.
  • believersmombelieversmom Registered User Posts: 1,109 Senior Member
    I have also heard it said that an early app is like adding 10% to your test scores. Don't know if that is true but rolling admissions were VERY good to our D.
    One word of caution, sometimes on the rolling admissions that accept apps really early (June of Junior year as soon as junior grades are final) sometimes meet with resistance from GC who are ready at that time to "take a break" before starting on the next round of seniors. D applied to two rolling admits(OOS) in June and had to push the GC office to send her transcripts because they said "no one is accepting apps yet." It was worth the effort when in August she had two acceptances under her belt.
  • zebeszebes Registered User Posts: 1,326 Senior Member
    My S chose a school with rolling admissions as his university. Applying early, not only afforded him the security of know he was "in," but it increased his chance at a merit scholarship (not a national merit kid). Later in the year kids with similar stats from his h.s. were not being offered the same merit money, as it had been "given out."

  • dsultemeierdsultemeier Registered User Posts: 713 Member
    believersmom: would you mind sharing names for some of the June deadline schools. I've been trying to look up application information for schools but haven't seen any with deadlines that early. My D's school year ends May 23 so I'm not sure if June would work as the school will be closed but maybe we could give it a try. D would love to have an early acceptance in hand. Thanks.
  • believersmombelieversmom Registered User Posts: 1,109 Senior Member
    June wasn't the deadline, that was when they started accepting invitations.
    The two schools D was able to apply as early as the end of her Junior year were: Northern Michigan U in Marquette, MI (outstanding school and LOTS of merit aid, beautiful setting right up on Lake Superior - students become addicted to the town and location, many stay there after graduation, lots of personal attention at every step of the process - it was very hard for D to turn down their offers) and Northern Colorado U in Greely, CO (D decided too small, and not enough of the ECs she was looking for, plus their art program didn't excite her enough - but we have several friends' who's kids go there and love it). D had both of her admissions to these schools by August(before MOST of her friends had even started one application) and NMU sent first of numerous $$$ offers with acceptance letter. Both apps were also online and fairly simple.

    This also kind of made her (DD) think that the clock was ticking on her other apps (they almost felt late when they weren't) so she hurried up and got the rest done in August/September.

    One drawback - her ONE non-rolling admissions school, which going into the process was her far and away favorite, did not notify her until February. This gave her the impression that they weren't that into her because by then she had been actively pursued by the others. So by the time they accepted her she had cooled on them. They were also the most expensive school (by a LOT - 10K more a year than next costly and 20K more a year than where she ended up) and they offered nothing to her in the way of money or honors designation. I am relieved(although sad too as the school is my alma mater) at how it worked out because the money thing would have been a hardship for our family.

    Another thing is that not all rolling admits are created equal in the waiting department. Four weeks was the shortest wait until decision and 10 weeks was the longest(but still rolling admissions).

    Finally, SCAD, Savannah College of Art and Design (if art school is your interest) accepts the beginning of applications in FALL of Junior year and you can add the admissions info as it becomes available and they are rolling admissions too. D went to an info session in Fall of junior year, they gave 50% off the application fee if you started your app at that session. D did that but never completed the process as she decided art school for undergrad was not what she wanted.

    Oh, one more type of app, the Early ACTION/Non-binding is kind of cool but in D's case was not rolling at the school she did it at, U of GA (another GREAT school). Their early action is just test scores and transcripts. The deadline was something like October 1st and from that students were either deferred or admitted. If you were deferred (like my D was) you have the option to complete & submit more info (letters of rec, ECs, and short answer/essays) for regular decision. D did not go on beyond her deferment as she already was essayed out. :)
    But the school makes it very clear that they REALLY want you to submit and complete the rest, deferment is for the few REALLY well transcripted/testing students. UGA even sent her a request to still complete the app after the reg decision deadline had passed but she was burnt on the app process by then.
  • dsultemeierdsultemeier Registered User Posts: 713 Member
    believersmom: Thanks for all the great information. It sounds like you did a very thorough search of schools. Unfortunately my D isn't interested in art but I will tell her about Northern Colorado and Northern Michigan. My D's plan is to work on essays this summer while she is at math camp. The senior camp counselors are all in college so she is hoping they will have lots of good advice. Her GC is stressing to get all applications in by October no matter the deadline which sounds good to me. D has a few schools on her list (like Olin) that only have one deadline so she can't do too much on those but get the app in early and then wait. She has a few others that start accepting apps in September so she might know something in November. D watched some of her senior friends this year wait until the last minute to write essays so she doesn't want that stress. I'm really glad she is trying to get things done ahead of time. Thanks again for the information.
  • believersmombelieversmom Registered User Posts: 1,109 Senior Member
    ^LOL they all talk big about not procrastinating in Spring but come summer and they are out of school...different story. My biggest advice is don't be afraid to be a task master about essays & at least a resume so they can visualize their HS career and decide what to emphasize/what their strengths are.
    Good luck, don't hesitate to PM me if you want to know something about any of the schools I mentioned (no reason all this research should go to waste now) :)
  • mom0809mom0809 Registered User Posts: 416 Member
    Believersmom. My D had a similar experience to yours. The school with the traditional deadline was her first choice. Her safety, with rolling admission, had a LOT of time to court her with phone calls, cards, very early and nice financial aid package. By the time she was accepted at her first choice school, she had cooled towards it. She will be going to her 'safety.'
    Rolling Admissions is the best stress reliever for students and parents. I am all for every student having one or two rolling admissions schools on their list.
  • dsultemeierdsultemeier Registered User Posts: 713 Member
    My D's school gets out relatively early (May 23). My D said the other day that her GC wants the forms and school lists when school gets out so the GC can work on her letters over the summer. My D's teacher said the same thing for recommendations. Everybody seems to be in anti-procrastination mode right now!

    The only problem is that I looked on the school websites and the Common App forms for next year aren't up yet and some of the colleges haven't updated their forms yet. My D was also still tweaking her college list based on visits we are doing in May and June. We can of course contact the schools and talk to the counselor about the forms but do you have any other ideas on how to get started right now on this. As a side note I just printed off the school report from U of Chicago and it is 4 pages long. No wonder she wants to get started now.
This discussion has been closed.