Many colleges offer rolling admission as their only method of offering admission to prospective students. This means that they accept applications on and on-going basis until there is no longer space available. As soon as an applicant has put together a complete application package (the college’s application and any supporting documents that the college requires – high school transcript, letters of recommendation, etc.) they can submit them to the college’s admission office and the student will receive a decision shortly thereafter. I have worked with colleges that send rolling admission decisions within two weeks, and with others that send rolling admission decisions within four to six weeks. These colleges often have a predetermined number of seats available in each major they offer. With that in mind, it’s beneficial for interested students to submit their applications as soon as possible – the more seats that are available, the better your chances of acceptance.
Is this like Early Decision, under which you are committed to a college if admitted? Not at all. Rolling admissions colleges and universities offer seats to qualified students shortly after they apply and typically allow students until May 1 to submit a deposit.
You might ask, “What’s the downside?” Other than trying to complete applications, send test scores, and request and compile letters of recommendation as soon as possible – do-able, but definitely requiring focus and a bit of ambition – there is none!