What is Early Decision II (ED II)?
Early Decision II, similar to Early Decision I, is a binding commitment -- if you are admitted, you promise that you will attend. Once admitted, you must withdraw all other applications. Typically, ED II deadlines are the same as a school's Regular Decision deadline (though in some cases, i.e. Grinnell College, it can be earlier).
What types of students should consider ED II?
Early Decision II can be a great option for several types of students:
-Students who were not admitted to their Early Decision I or first-choice Early Action school. You should hear from most Early Decision I and Early Action schools by mid-December, and most ED II applications are due in early January.
-Students who only recently decided that a particular school is their top choice. You may not have been ready to commit by the ED I deadline but are now sure this is the right school for you.
-Students who did not apply ED I because they were waiting for fall test scores or grades to bolster their applications. You are now a better candidate.
Does every school offer ED II?
Early Decision II is offered at many small liberal art schools that also offer ED I, and more schools are adding this option every year. Here is a good list of schools with ED II, but always check a school's website to confirm.
According to a 2015 New York Times article: “Of the more than 625 colleges that use the Common Application, about 30 percent offer E.D. I; 13 percent offer both E.D. I and II. Among the latter are selective liberal arts colleges (Colby, Pomona, Swarthmore) and small private universities (Brandeis, Emory, Vanderbilt). But hardly any publics offer E.D. II., and no Ivys.”
Does ED II carry as much weight as ED I?
Applying early and making a binding commitment to a school nearly always improves your chances of being admitted. Many schools report their Early Decision statistics without distinguishing between ED I and ED II. But anecdotally, it is typically (at least slightly) more advantageous to apply ED I. For example, for last year’s freshman class, Hamilton College accepted 42 percent of ED I applicants and 32 percent of ED II applicants. Hamilton’s regular decision acceptance rate was 23 percent.
What if I already submitted my application? Can I change it to ED II?
In many cases, a school will allow you to convert your regular application to ED II, if you submit the required forms. Contact the particular school for details on how to proceed. Some schools will even allow this after the deadline has passed, if they have not yet reviewed your application.
Can I apply ED II to the same school if I was not accepted in the ED I round?
No. Once a decision has been made on your application, you may not apply to the same school until the following application year.
When will I receive a decision?
This varies by school, but many ED II deadlines are in January and decisions are released in mid to late February.