(List of ED II colleges updated September 2020–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 2019-20 ED vs RD acceptance rates). Bates College, for example, admits 70% of their freshman class through the ED I & II cycles; Claremont McKenna and Middlebury bring in 60%+ 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 6th, 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 University85%33%January 15
Babson College35%26%January 2
Bates College42%9%January 1
Bennington College51%58%January 15
Bentley UniversityNot Reported43%January 7
Boston University30%18%January 1
Bowdoin College23%7%January 1
Brandeis University37%29%January 1
Bryant University78%58%January 15
Bryn Mawr College52%31%January 1
Bucknell University64%32%January 15
Carleton College26%18%January 15
Case Western Reserve University39%23%January 15
Claremont McKenna College28%8%January 5
Colby College38%11%January 1
Colgate University46%20%January 15
College of the Atlantic81%71%January 15
College of the Holy Cross83%31%January 15
College of William and Mary49%37%January 1
College of Wooster100%53%January 15
Colorado College27%5%January 15
Connecticut College58%36%January 1
Davidson College49%14%January 2
Denison College57%27%January 15
Dickinson College62%39%January 15
Emory University23%15%January 1
Franklin & Marshall College69%28%January 15
George Washington University71%39%January 5
Gettysburg College64%47%January 15
Grinnell College57%22%January 1
Hamilton College41%15%January 1
Harvey Mudd College19%14%January 5
Haverford College44%19%January 1
Hobart and William Smith Colleges86%66%January 15
Kenyon College62%32%January 15
Lafayette College51%30%January 15
Lehigh University66%29%January 1
Macalester College58%31%January 1
Middlebury College45%13%January 1
Mount Holyoke College57%36%January 1
New York University28%14%January 1
Northeastern University37%18%January 1
Oberlin College49%35%January 2
Occidental College49%36%February 1
Pitzer College34%11%January 1
Pomona College15%6%January 8
Reed College48%39%December 20
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute65%47%December 15
Rhodes College66%44%January 15
St. Olaf College76%45%January 8
Santa Clara University68%37%January 7
Sarah Lawrence College66%41%January 2
Scripps College47%31%January 5
Sewanee: The University of the South84%43%January 15
Skidmore College58%28%January 15
Smith College61%30%January 1
Swarthmore College24%8%January 1
Syracuse University58%50%January 1
Trinity College58%31%January 15
Trinity University63%28%January 15
Tufts UniversityNot Reported15%January 1
Tulane University33%1%January 6
Union College61%42%January 15
University of ChicagoDid not report6%January 4
University of Miami48%20%January 1
University of Richmond48%19%January 1
Vanderbilt University20%8%January 1
Vassar College40%22%January 1
Wake Forest University31%29%January 1
Washington and Lee University43%16%January 1
Washington University in St. Louis42%13%January 2
Wellesley College33%20%January 1
Wesleyan University37%15%January 1
Whitman College72%55%January 15
Johns Hopkins University31%10%January 3