Early Decision II: What Is It & Should You Apply?

November 27, 2017

With Early Action and Early Decision behind us, students are now focused on Regular Decision applications. But, wait. What is Early Decision II?

What is Early Decision II?

Early Decision II follows the same set of rules as Early Decision, but with a later application deadline in mid-January. Just like regular ED, Early Decision II is a binding application, which means students who are accepted are obligated to enroll and withdraw their applications from any other universities they’ve applied to. Similarly, they are only allowed to apply Early Decision II to one school only.

If it’s exactly the same, why is there a second deadline? Well, it gives applicants a second chance to commit to an university they are really interested in enrolling. Additionally, it helps colleges attract committed students who may have needed more time with their application. In return, colleges can improve their yield rates—the percentage of admitted students who attend—since all admitted ED II students are committed to enrolling.

Should students apply Early Decision II?

There are two scenarios here. Since the Early Decision II deadline typically falls in mid-January, students would have already received their application results from the initial ED round. For applicants who were rejected, if they have a clear second favorite, Early Decision II might just be the choice for them.

Based on acceptance numbers and rates in the past, students who apply ED (I or II) do have a better odds of admissions. Again, this comes back to universities looking to improve their yield rates and filling their incoming class. This, however, doesn’t imply that everyone should apply Early Decision II. Just like with regular ED, all applicants should be 100% confident that the university they apply to is the best fit for them.

For those who didn’t apply Early Decision, this is their chance. If they do have a top choice in mind that offers Early Decision II, this is their opportunity to show their dream school their commitment to them. With a later application deadline, applicants have the opportunity to improve their standardized test scores, confirm their college preferences and assess their financial needs. Applicants applying to Early Decision II will also have to take into account their fall semester grades from senior year. So, if students have continued to show a consistent academic performance even in the middle of the application process, they’ll have a competitive advantage.

When is the Early Decision II Deadline & Notification Date?  

Most application deadlines for ED II fall on the same day as the Regular Decision deadline on January 1st. There are many Early Decision II deadlines that are as late as mid-January, so make sure you double check with the university you’re interested in applying to. You’ll be notified of your ED II application results in mid-February before the Regular Decision results come out in late March/early April. If you get accepted, you’ll have to withdraw all other applications.

Which Universities offer Early Decision II?

There are a lot of universities that offer Early Decision II, but here is a shortlist of universities that do:

  • American University

  • Bard College

  • Bates College

  • Boston University

  • Bowdoin College

  • Brandeis University

  • Bryant University

  • Bryn Mawr College

  • Bucknell University

  • Carleton College

  • Case Western Reserve University

  • Claremont McKenna Colleges

  • Colby College

  • Colgate University

  • Davidson College

  • Denison College

  • Dickinson College

  • Emory University

  • Franklin & Marshall College

  • George Washington University

  • Grinnell College

  • Hamilton College

  • Harvey Mudd College

  • Kenyon College

  • Lafayette College

  • Lehigh University

  • Macalester College

  • Middlebury College

  • Mount Holyoke College

  • New York University

  • Northeastern University

  • Oberlin College

  • Occidental College

  • Pomona College

  • Reed College

  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

  • Sarah Lawrence College

  • Scripps College

  • Skidmore College

  • Smith College

  • Swarthmore College

  • Trinity College

  • Trinity University

  • Tufts University

  • University of Chicago

  • University of Miami

  • University of Richmond

  • University of Rochester

  • Vanderbilt University

  • Vassar College

  • Wake Forest University

  • Washington and Lee University

  • Wellesley College

  • Wesleyan University

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About The Author

Frances Wong
Frances Wong

Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She loves super sad drama television, cooking, and reading. Her favorite person on Earth isn’t actually a member of the AdmitSee team - it’s her dog Cooper.


Browse Successful Application Files

Stanford ‘20

Accepted to Stanford, Wheaton, Pomona

I love languages, exercising, and eating!
UT Austin ‘19

Accepted to UC Berkeley, USC, UMich, Illinois, UT Austin, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCSD, UCSB, U of Minnesota, Arizona, WVU, Cal Poly, San Jose State

I'm from the SF Bay Area, but I'm betraying my roots by attending The University of Texas at Austin as a chemical engineering major. I like music, science and eating!
Harvard ‘20

Accepted to Harvard, Yale, MIT, Columbia, UVA

Lover of physics, math, and chess. Football player and bass player. California born and raised.
Stanford ‘20

Accepted to Middlebury, Duke, Claremont (CMC), Bates, Georgetown, UVM, Stanford, Bowdoin, Colgate, Tufts

I'm currently on a gap year before starting at Stanford in the fall. I would love to talk to anyone about taking a year off or the application process.

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