Answer: Yes – Some online family nurse practitioner (FNP) degree programs do have rolling admission policies. Rolling admissions is when a program accepts applications over a large period of time (often six months or longer), and reviews them as they are received, instead of waiting for a particular deadline to review all applications at the same time. The school will then notify candidates once the decision has been made to accept or reject their application. For programs that use rolling admissions and only accept a limited number of students, it is possible for the program to fill up even before the application deadline.
While there are online FNP programs that adhere to this model, it is far more common for them to simply offer multiple start dates throughout the year (in the spring, summer, and fall, for example), each with its own application window. In fact, some programs may have as many as four to six different start dates in the same year, giving prospective students the option to apply and start their studies whenever is best for them. It is important to note, however, that the admissions process varies by school, so students should carefully review all requirements and deadlines before applying.
What is Rolling Admission?
Rolling admissions is an application process utilized by many postsecondary institutions, in which prospective students can apply for a particular program anytime within a considerable window. The school then evaluates candidates on a “rolling” basis, or as their applications arrive, as opposed to waiting until all applications have been submitted to begin the review process. Some programs may have a specified end date for this admissions window (a final deadline when all applications must be submitted), while others simply stop accepting applications once all the spots in the program have been filled.
There are both pros and cons to this type of admissions process. Reviewing applications over a larger timeframe puts considerably less stress on the school than processing all of them at once. It can also be less stressful for students, who are given more time to complete and submit the necessary documents. However, it may be the case that candidates are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, meaning those that apply early on in the application window have an advantage. This could put pressure on students to submit their materials as soon as possible, or even hurt the chances of those that wait too long.
Online FNP Programs with Multiple Start Dates
Many online FNP degree programs simply have no need for rolling admissions, as they offer multiple start dates with application deadlines staggered throughout the year. In fact, this is true for a high percentage of online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), and post-master’s certificate programs in the specialty. Many of these online programs use modified academic calendars, in some cases breaking the traditional 15 week semester into two shorter seven- or eight-week terms. Because of this, they are able give students more options as to when they begin their graduate studies. It is fairly typical for an online FNP program to offer at least two different start dates, if not three, in the spring, summer, and fall. As mentioned earlier, there are even some programs that allow students to start at four to six different points during the year.
When researching online FNP programs, prospective students should be sure they fully understand the admission requirements associated with each. The process can differ from school to school, and may even change from year to year at some institutions. There are still programs that only accept students once a year, with a standard application period and deadline for that start date. For the most up-to-date information regarding admissions criteria, start dates, and deadlines, it is best to contact a representative from your school(s) of interest.