college admissions Early Decision II Seniors

Is Early Decision II Right for You?

When we think of early applications, we tend to focus on schools that have application deadlines in late October and November. These types of applications—Early Decision, Early Action, Single Choice Early Action, Restricted Early Action, Rolling, Preferred, etc.—often get the lion’s share of our attention, especially as we’re putting together applications during the fall semester.

There is, however, one other type of early application that is sometimes overlooked: Early Decision II. ED II applications, which are generally due in the early part of January, offer students a second chance to submit a binding Early Decision application. Not every school offers this option, and not every student will want to take advantage of it. For some students, however, ED II represents a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the many benefits of Early Decision, including increased odds of admission and a quicker turnaround on application results.

To help you think through this option, we’ve listed below some scenarios in which Early Decision II might be a good choice.

college application early decision II option


  • You missed the boat on ED I.

    Maybe you didn’t have your college list set or your applications weren’t quite finished. Maybe you had a number of strong choices and couldn’t yet commit to a single one. Whatever the reason, if you didn’t submit an ED I application during the fall, ED II offers you another opportunity to take advantage of the Early Decision round. If you’re confident now that you know which school is right for you, submit an ED II application (just one!) along with your regular applications. Your odds won’t go up as much as the ED 1 option simply because 40-50% of the seats are already taken, but it will keep you out of the dreaded, swamped pool of the regular round.


  • You didn’t get into your ED I school, and you have a clear second choice.

    If you’ve been rejected or deferred from your first-choice institution, now could be a great time to regroup and try again at another school that you’d also love to attend. The only catch: make sure to learn from your ED I results when selecting an ED II institution. Getting rejected from your ED I school may be an indication that you aimed too high with your applications. If that’s the case, you’ll want to lower your sights a little and apply to a school that’s more easily in-range for you in the ED II round. As a general rule, you never want to follow up on an ED I rejection by applying to a morecompetitive ED II school. If you were deferred from your ED1 school, it can often be because something wasn’t submitted on time or scores never arrived – a logistical reason. Check this first. If everything arrived and you were still deferred, don’t get your hopes too high simply because it may just be a polite rejection.  There are things you can do if deferred, but strongly consider EDII.


  • You want to boost your odds of admission.

    If you love a school beyond measure, but worry you won’t stand out in the regular round, ED II can offer a slight boost to your prospects. College rankings consider each school’s “yield” of admitted students, so admissions officers are always eager to fill the incoming class with students who are committed to attend. For that reason, while ED II doesn’t offer quite the same increased odds as ED I, you’ll generally have better luck applying ED II than you will in the regular round. That said, applying ED II won’t make up for a subpar GPA or test scores below the school’s average. To make the most of this competitive advantage, you’ll want to apply in the ED II round at a school where you are in-range, albeit perhaps not a likely admit.

If, after weighing your options, you feel that ED II may be the right choice for you, consider applying to one of the schools that offer this option. We’ve listed some schools that offer ED II below:


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