(List of ED II colleges updated October 2021–see below)

Early Decision is quickly becoming a misnomer.  An increasing number of highly selective institutions have initiated a second round of binding admission programs, giving students another chance to commit to a college before acceptance and possibly reap admissions-related benefits in the process. Unlike traditional Early Decision (ED I) programs with deadlines in October or November, Early Decision II allows students to wait until later in the admissions cycle to claim their allegiance to a particular school. Most of these deadlines typically fall in early or mid-January and admissions decisions are typically rendered in early-to-mid February.

Why do colleges offer Early Decision II?

Colleges offer an ED II option primarily as means to improve their yield rates (i.e. the percentage of admitted students who attend)—an important indicator of desirability and one that can have significant influence on a college’s ranking. Effectively, ED II offers institutions a second chance to grab guaranteed enrollees.    

Why would a student apply Early Decision II?

Two reasons, in particular. First, a student may be denied at her first choice college—to which she applied Early Decision—but has a clear second favorite and wants to improve her odds of admission at that institution (see our Dataverse to compare the 2020-21 ED vs RD acceptance rates). Bates College, for example, admits 81% of their freshman class through the ED I & II cycles;  Grinnell, Pitzer, and Middlebury bring in 65%+ of their first-years this way. They all, like thousands of other schools, show extra love to applicants who pledge attendance.

Second, a student may apply ED to take advantage of the flexibility that a later deadline offers. For example, ED II applicants have more time to improve their standardized test scores, solidify their college preferences and assess their financial need. Students applying ED II also have an opportunity to submit strong grades earned during their senior year, whereas ED I applicants are usually evaluated on the basis of their academic performance through junior year only. Connecticut College explicitly states on their website that standardized tests taken in December of a student’s senior year will be considered in the ED II process.

When exactly is Early Decision II?

Most application deadlines for ED II fall on January 1, at or around the same time as Regular Decision deadlines. ED II applicants usually receive a decision in mid-February. Of course, exact deadlines and policies vary by school. For example, Tulane University ED II apps are due by January 12th, NYU’s are due on New Year’s Day, while Lafayette College offers a deadline of January 15th. Lafayette outwardly tells students on their website that those who choose the ED II option will be given special consideration for admission.

Aside from timing, what other differences exist between Early Decision I and Early Decision II?

None, really. Both offer potential advantages in the admissions process. However, both plans are also binding, meaning that you must attend if admitted.

So which institutions offer Early Decision II?

Plenty. Below, please find a list of selective colleges and universities offering an ED 2 option:

 

InstitutionED Admission RateRD Admission RateED 2 Deadline
American University83%36%January 15
Babson College35%28%January 3
Bates College46%10%January 1
Bennington College41%55%January 15
Bentley UniversityNot Reported56%January 15
Boston University33%19%January 4
Bowdoin College22%7%January 5
Brandeis University46%33%January 1
Bryant University86%57%January 15
Bryn Mawr College48%37%January 1
Bucknell University55%36%January 15
Carleton College28%20%January 15
Case Western Reserve University38%Not ReportedJanuary 15
Claremont McKenna College35%10%January 5
Colby College10%January 1
Colgate University45%25%January 15
College of the Holy Cross76%35%January 15
College of William and Mary51%41%January 1
College of WoosterJanuary 15
Colorado College24%10%January 15
Connecticut College49%37%January 1
Davidson College47%16%January 6
Denison College45%27%January 15
Dickinson College71%50%January 15
Emory University27%18%January 1
Franklin & Marshall College56%35%January 15
George Washington University65%42%January 5
Gettysburg College62%January 15
Grinnell College65%17%January 1
Hamilton College46%16%January 5
Harvey Mudd College23%17%January 5
Haverford College46%15%January 5
Hobart and William Smith Colleges82%61%January 15
Kenyon College62%35%January 15
Lafayette College51%34%January 15
Lehigh University73%47%January 1
Macalester College60%38%January 1
Middlebury College47%20%January 3
Mount Holyoke College67%51%January 5
New York UniversityNot ReportedNot ReportedJanuary 1
Northeastern University38%Not ReportedJanuary 1
Oberlin College44%35%January 2
Occidental College52%40%January 10
Pitzer College37%14%January 8
Pomona CollegeJanuary 8
Reed CollegeDecember 20
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute70%55%December 15
Rhodes College65%51%January 15
St. Olaf College48%51%January 15
Santa Clara University69%37%January 7
Sarah Lawrence College79%46%January 15
Scripps College50%34%January 5
Sewanee: The University of the SouthJanuary 15
Skidmore College60%30%January 15
Smith College65%34%January 1
Swarthmore College24%8%January 4
Syracuse University56%70%January 1
Trinity College60%34%January 14
Trinity University66%16%February 1
Tufts UniversityNot ReportedJanuary 4
Tulane University23%1%January 8
Union College64%29%January 15
University of ChicagoDid not reportJanuary 4
University of Miami52%22%January 1
University of Richmond58%23%January 1
Vanderbilt University21%10%January 1
Vassar College47%24%January 1
Wake Forest University32%January 1
Washington and Lee University53%21%January 1
Washington University in St. Louis35%14%January 4
Wellesley College39%18%January 1
Wesleyan University41%19%January 1
Whitman College59%54%January 15
Johns Hopkins University29%8%January 3