Colleges That Offer Early Decision 2 (ED2)
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 1) programs with deadlines in October or November, Early Decision 2 (ED2) 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.
(List of ED2 colleges updated September 2022–see below)
Why do colleges offer ED2?
Colleges offer an ED2 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, ED2 offers institutions a second chance to grab guaranteed enrollees.
Why would a student apply Early Decision 2?
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. Bates College, for example, admits 81% of their freshman class through the ED 1 & 2 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. Visit our Dataverse to see more Early Decision Enrollment figures at leading institutions.
Second, a student may apply ED to take advantage of the flexibility that a later deadline offers. For example, ED2 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 1 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 ED2 process.
When exactly is ED2?
Most application deadlines for ED2 fall on January 1, at or around the same time as Regular Decision deadlines. ED 2 applicants usually receive a decision in mid-February. Of course, exact deadlines and policies vary by school. For example, Tulane University’s ED2 apps are due by January 13th, 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 ED2 option will be given special consideration for admission.
Aside from timing, what other differences exist between Early Decision 1 and Early Decision 2?
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 2?
Plenty. Below, please find a list of selective colleges and universities offering an ED2 option (Updated September 2022):
|Institution||ED Admission Rate||RD Admission Rate||ED 2 Deadline|
|American University||87%||63%||January 15|
|Babson College||39%||24%||January 2|
|Bates College||60%||14%||January 10|
|Bennington College||50%||64%||January 15|
|Bentley University||70%||61%||January 15|
|Boston University||32%||18%||January 4|
|Bowdoin College||27%||7%||January 5|
|Brandeis University||Not Reported||39%||January 3|
|Bryn Mawr College||57%||38%||January 1|
|Bucknell University||55%||33%||January 15|
|Carleton College||22%||17%||January 15|
|Case Western Reserve University||Not Reported||30%||January 15|
|Claremont McKenna College||Not Reported||11%||January 10|
|Colby College||Not Reported||9%||January 1|
|Colgate University||44%||15%||January 15|
|College of the Holy Cross||82%||41%||January 15|
|College of William and Mary||51%||41%||January 2|
|College of Wooster||70%||40%||January 15|
|Colorado College||29%||9%||January 15|
|Connecticut College||52%||40%||January 15|
|Davidson College||Not Reported||18%||January 8|
|Denison College||43%||27%||January 15|
|Dickinson College||69%||47%||January 15|
|Emory University||26%||12%||January 1|
|Franklin & Marshall College||57%||36%||January 15|
|George Washington University||66%||49%||January 5|
|Gettysburg College||64%||56%||January 15|
|Grinnell College||58%||8%||January 1|
|Hamilton College||41%||12%||January 4|
|Harvey Mudd College||21%||9%||January 5|
|Haverford College||43%||15%||January 5|
|Hobart and William Smith Colleges||83%||66%||January 15|
|Johns Hopkins University||15%||6%||January 3|
|Kenyon College||Not Reported||37%||January 15|
|Lafayette College||53%||40%||January 15|
|Lehigh University||70%||44%||January 1|
|Macalester College||49%||17%||January 1|
|Middlebury College||45%||11%||January 3|
|Mount Holyoke College||54%||52%||January 4|
|New York University||Not Reported||13%||January 15|
|Northeastern University||Not Reported||18%||January 1|
|Oberlin College||44%||34%||January 2|
|Occidental College||59%||37%||January 10|
|Pitzer College||47%||15%||January 6|
|Pomona College||Not Reported||7%||January 8|
|Reed College||Not Reported||Not Reported||December 20|
|Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute||Not Reported||42%||December 15|
|Rhodes College||84%||42%||January 15|
|Santa Clara University||84%||32%||January 7|
|Sarah Lawrence College||65%||49%||January 15|
|Scripps College||51%||28%||January 5|
|Sewanee: The University of the South||72%||40%||January 15|
|Skidmore College||53%||29%||January 15|
|Smith College||58%||27%||January 1|
|St. Olaf College||48%||32%||January 15|
|Swarthmore College||Not Reported||8%||January 4|
|Trinity College||Not Reported||38%||January 14|
|Trinity University||66%||17%||February 1|
|Tufts University||Not Reported||11||January 4|
|Tulane University||31%||Not Reported||January 13|
|Union College||61%||37%||January 15|
|University of Chicago||Did not report||6%||January 4|
|University of Miami||65%||16%||January 1|
|University of Richmond||55%||21%||January 1|
|Vanderbilt University||18%||6%||January 1|
|Vassar College||Not Reported||20%||January 1|
|Wake Forest University||Not Reported||25%||January 1|
|Washington and Lee University||48%||16%||January 1|
|Washington University in St. Louis||29%||11%||January 4|
|Wellesley College||40%||13%||January 1|
|Wesleyan University||55%||17%||January 1|
|Whitman College||57%||59%||January 10|
A licensed counselor and published researcher, Andrew’s experience in the field of college admissions and transition spans more than one decade. He has previously served as a high school counselor, consultant and author for Kaplan Test Prep, and advisor to U.S. Congress, reporting on issues related to college admissions and financial aid.