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It’s easy to see why students and parents can become confused by the college admissions process: Some colleges use early decision or early action policies, others use regular decision or rolling admissions, and still others use some mixture of them. Rolling admissions gives students the opportunity to apply at any time after a college begins accepting applications, and colleges evaluate those applications as they are received. USA Universities With Rolling Admissions
Rolling college admissions appeals to many students because of the flexibility the policy offers. The closing date for application submissions can be as late as the start of the term for which students are applying, or when all the spots in the incoming freshman class are taken. Rolling admissions is nonbinding, unlike some early decision policies, so students are not restricted from applying to other schools and have the ability to consider alternatives.
But only a minority of National Universities – schools that offer bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and that typically produce influential academic research – offer rolling admissions. Among the 365 ranked National Universities that submitted data about their undergraduate programs to U.S. News in an annual survey, only about a third have rolling admissions policies.
Top USA Universities With Rolling Admissions
None of these schools break the top 50 U.S. News National Universities rankings. The highest-ranked National Universities that provide rolling admissions are Pennsylvania State University—University Park, the University of Pittsburgh and Purdue University—West Lafayette in Indiana, which all tie for No. 57.
All but three of the 12 highest-ranked National Universities with rolling admissions are ranked within the top 100: the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, Loyola University Chicago and the University of Tennessee, which all tie for No. 104.
This admissions policy can relieve high school seniors from the long wait that tends to come with colleges that have specific application deadlines and that don’t send admissions decisions until spring of senior year. Typically, students who apply to a school with rolling admissions can expect to receive an admissions offer, waitlist placement or rejection within about four to six weeks after submission, experts say.
That said, experts advise students to apply as early as possible to schools that offer rolling admissions.
“Do not take applications at rolling admission colleges for granted. Although these schools do not have application deadlines and admit students on a continuous basis, they may reach their maximum class size quickly,” the National Association for College Admission Counseling advises. “The earlier you apply, the more availability there may be.”
For students who do apply early in the cycle, a letter of acceptance could come as early as the fall semester of senior year.
However, another potential point of confusion for students is the priority application date set by most colleges that offer rolling admissions. While many undergraduate institutions recommend that prospective students submit their materials by the priority date to have the best chance of admission, unlike with a fixed deadline, applications will still be accepted after this time. Among the colleges on this list, priority dates range widely from Nov. 1 to Feb. 1, according to U.S. News data.
Below is a list of the 12 Top USA Universities With Rolling Admissions, including ties. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.
|School Name (State)||U.S. News National Universities Rank||Priority Application Date|
|Pennsylvania State University—University Park||57 (tie)||Nov. 30|
|University of Pittsburgh||57 (tie)||N/A|
|Purdue University—West Lafayette (IN)||57 (tie)||Feb. 1|
|Rutgers University—New Brunswick (NJ)||62 (tie)||Dec. 1|
|University of Minnesota—Twin Cities||70 (tie)||Nov. 1|
|Binghamton University—SUNY||79 (tie)||Jan. 15|
|Indiana University—Bloomington||79 (tie)||Feb. 1|
|University at Buffalo—SUNY||79 (tie)||Nov. 15|
|Michigan State University||84 (tie)||Nov. 1|
|Rochester Institute of Technology (NY)||104 (tie)||Jan. 15|
|Loyola University Chicago||104 (tie)||Dec. 1|
|University of Tennessee||104 (tie)||Dec. 15|
Don’t see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find priority application dates, complete rankings and much more. Sign up for the U.S. News Extra Help: College Admissions free email newsletter to receive expert advice twice a month.
U.S. News surveyed more than 1,900 colleges and universities for our 2019 survey of undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported myriad data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News’ data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Colleges rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data comes from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News’ rankings of Best Colleges, Best Graduate Schools or Best Online Programs. The rolling admissions data above is correct as of Oct. 29, 2019.