Top 11 National Universities With Rolling Admissions

The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College, The Short List: Grad School and The Short List: Online Programs to find data that matters to you in your college or grad school search.

Applying to college is a process with many nuances, including when to do so. For many colleges, the traditional regular decision deadline is Jan. 1, though students applying through early action or early decision must meet earlier dates.

Then there’s rolling admissions, a process in which colleges evaluate applications as they are received. Once the admissions cycle opens, such colleges typically continue to evaluate applications until the incoming class is filled. That offers more flexibility for students, meaning colleges with rolling admissions can be great last-minute options.

[Read: A Complete Guide to the College Application Process.]

Rolling admissions, however, is far from universal. Of 389 ranked National Universities that submitted application deadline data to U.S. News in an annual survey, only 129 offered rolling admissions. National Universities are schools that tend to be research-oriented and offer a full range of undergraduate majors as well as master’s and doctoral programs.

Of the top-ranked 11 colleges with rolling admissions, including ties, five are located in the Midwest. Six of the 11 colleges are members of the Big Ten athletic conference, and none crack the top 50 in the National Universities rankings.

Purdue University–West Lafayette, at No. 53, is the highest-ranked college that reported using rolling admissions. Of the other 10, all but two are ranked in the top 100. These colleges are mostly public, and many have high enrollment numbers.

Of these 11 colleges, Saint Louis University is the only private institution.

While rolling admissions means that colleges will review applications as received, there may still be priority deadlines for when a school prefers to have information submitted. Of the 11 colleges listed here, nine have priority application dates. Four colleges have priority application deadlines in November, the most common month among these schools. But priority application dates can differ, with other schools reporting preferences for December, January and February.

[Read: When to Apply to College.]

Below is a list of the 11 highest-ranked National 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
Purdue University–West Lafayette (IN) 53 (tie) Feb. 1
University of Pittsburgh 58 (tie) N/A
Pennsylvania State University–University Park 63 (tie) Nov. 30
Rutgers University–New Brunswick (NJ) 63 (tie) Dec. 1
University of Minnesota–Twin Cities 66 (tie) Nov. 1
Indiana University–Bloomington 76 (tie) Feb. 1
Michigan State University 80 (tie) Nov. 1
Binghamton University–SUNY 88 (tie) Jan. 15
University at Buffalo–SUNY 88 (tie) Nov. 15
Arizona State University–Tempe 103 (tie) Jan. 15
Saint Louis University 103 (tie) N/A

Don’t see your school in the top 11? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find rolling admissions information, 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 1,800 colleges and universities for our 2020 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 Nov. 17, 2020.

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