Top 13 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 tends to be a deadline-driven process with prospective students checking off dates as they go. But application deadlines vary, with many landing in January for regular decision and even earlier for early action and early decision.

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 the ranked National Universities that submitted application deadline data to U.S. News in an annual survey, only 130 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.

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 13 colleges listed here, 11 have priority application dates. Four colleges have priority application deadlines in November and four have them in December, the two most common months among these 13 schools.

But priority application dates can differ, with other schools reporting preferences for January and February.

[Read: When to Apply to College.]

Of the top-ranked 13 colleges with rolling admissions, including ties, nine are located in the Midwest. Six of the 13 schools are members of the Big Ten athletic conference, and only one cracked the top 50 in the National Universities rankings.

Purdue University–West Lafayette, tied at No. 49, is the highest-ranked college that reported using rolling admissions. Nine of the 13 colleges listed here are ranked in the top 100. These colleges are mostly public, and many have high enrollment numbers.

Of these 13 colleges, Saint Louis University, Creighton University in Nebraska and Loyola University Chicago are the only private institutions.

Below is a list of the 13 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.

Purdue University–West Lafayette (IN) 49 (tie) February 1
University of Pittsburgh–Pittsburgh Campus 59 (tie) N/A
Pennsylvania State University–University Park 63 (tie) November 30
Rutgers University–New Brunswick (NJ) 63 (tie) December 1
Indiana University–Bloomington 68 (tie) February 1
University of Minnesota–Twin Cities 68 (tie) November 1
Binghamton University–SUNY 83 (tie) January 15
Michigan State University 83 (tie) November 1
University at Buffalo–SUNY 93 (tie) November 15
Creighton University (NE) 103 (tie) December 1
Loyola University Chicago 103 (tie) December 1
Saint Louis University 103 (tie) N/A
University of Tennessee 103 (tie) December 15

Don’t see your school in the top 13? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find admissions data, 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 1,850 colleges and universities for our 2021 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 admissions data above is correct as of Nov. 16, 2021.

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Top 13 National Universities With Rolling Admissions originally appeared on

Update 11/16/21: This article has been updated with new information.

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