Should You Apply Early Decision II? Complete List of Schools

There are a lot of choices to make when you’re applying to college. What type of school appeals to you? Which locations are you considering? And, should you apply Early Decision?

 

While Early Decision has been around for a long time, Early Decision II is a newer plan, offering similar advantages as the original plan without making students get their applications together before they’re ready. Should you apply under the plan?

 

What is Early Decision II? ED I vs. ED II

 

Early decision II (ED II) is a binding plan in which students commit to matriculating at a college if they are accepted. It’s similar to Early Decision I in many respects, including the competitive advantage you gain by applying under the plan (the boost varies from school to school). 

 

However, there is one key difference: ED II deadlines are typically later than ED I deadlines, often around the school’s Regular Decision (RD) deadline. The acceptance rate boost from ED II also tends to be smaller than that of ED I.

 

Pros and Cons of Applying Early Decision II

 

Pros

 

You’ll have more time to complete applications (compared with ED I).

 

ED I deadlines are usually in November, while ED II deadlines are generally around the school’s RD deadlines, in December or January. That means you’ll have plenty of time to prepare your application.

 

The acceptance rate for students who apply ED in general is higher than for those who apply RD.

 

Acceptance rates for students who apply early decision under either plan is generally higher — sometimes significantly so — than for those who apply RD. For example, the acceptance rate for Cornell University’s Class of 2023 was 22.7 percent for ED, compared with 9.2 percent RD. Meanwhile, Middlebury College had a 44.8 percent acceptance rate for ED students and 12.6 percent for RD students.

 

Bear in mind that higher acceptance rates don’t necessarily indicate that it’s “easier” to get in if you apply ED. There are several other factors at play, such as the fact that students who apply ED are less likely to need financial aid (not all schools are need-blind). Moreover, since students are applying ED to their top-choice school, the pool is more self-selecting and therefore more likely to be a good fit for the school.

 

That said, our data indicates that while controlling for profile strength, applying early decision does give students a boost in their chances of acceptance.

 

You’ll be able to gain a competitive advantage even if you don’t get in under ED I.

 

ED II is also beneficial to students who don’t get into the schools they apply to under ED I. They can still regroup and apply to their second-choice college, gaining the competitive advantage again. (However, you should remember that if you get into your ED II school, the decision is binding, so you won’t be able to matriculate at your first-choice school if you were deferred and are admitted RD.)

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Cons

 

You won’t be able to compare financial aid offers.

 

This is probably the biggest deterrent for applying under an ED plan. Because you’ll need to withdraw your applications from other schools if you’re accepted to your ED II (or I) college, you won’t be able to compare or leverage financial aid offers. 

 

Many schools will be willing to work with you and negotiate if the financial aid package doesn’t meet your needs. If you really can’t afford to matriculate at the school, they may allow you to withdraw from the agreement and go to a school that provides a better offer. However, this should be a last resort, and the first step is ensuring that the school is affordable. Use the college’s net price calculator to get an estimate before applying.

 

Also, keep in mind that unusual hardship, such as a parent losing their job or an illness in the family, is grounds for withdrawal from the ED agreement.

 

You’ll still need to prepare RD applications (and pay the application fees).

 

ED II and RD applications are usually due at or around the same time, in contrast to ED I applications, which are due months earlier. This means you’ll still need to prepare your RD applications and pay the application fee, unless you have a fee waiver.

 

There is less of an acceptance rate boost you’d have under ED I.

 

While both ED I and ED II plans will give you an acceptance rate boost, usually, this edge is somewhat smaller for ED II applicants. (Most colleges don’t provide data comparing the two plans, however.)

 

Complete List of Schools with Early Decision II

 

Ready to apply ED II? Here are the colleges with this admissions plan, separated by national universities and liberal arts colleges. Please double-check these deadlines, as they can change annually.

 

National Universities

 

School

ED II Deadline

American University

January 15

Babson College

January 4

Bentley University

January 7

Boston University

January 4

Brandeis University

January 1

Bryant University

January 15

Bucknell University

January 15

Case Western Reserve University

January 15

College of William and Mary

January 1

Emory University

January 1

George Washington University

January 5

Johns Hopkins University

January 4

Lehigh University

January 1

New York University

January 1

Northeastern University

January 1

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

December 15

Santa Clara University

January 7

Sewanee: The University of the South

January 15

Syracuse University

January 1

Trinity University

January 15

Tufts University

January 1

Tulane University

January 8

University of Chicago

January 4

University of Miami

January 1

Vanderbilt University

January 1

Wake Forest University

January 1

 

Liberal Arts Colleges

 

School

ED II Deadline

Bates College

January 11

Bennington College

January 15

Bowdoin College

January 5

Bryn Mawr College

January 1

Carleton College

January 15

Claremont McKenna College

January 11

Colby College

January 1

Colgate University

January 15

College of the Atlantic

January 15

College of the Holy Cross

January 15

College of Wooster

January 15

Colorado College

January 15

Connecticut College

January 15

Davidson College

January 2

Denison College

January 15

Dickinson College

January 15

Franklin & Marshall College

January 15

Gettysburg College

January 15

Grinnell College

January 1

Hamilton College

January 5

Harvey Mudd College

January 5

Haverford College

January 6

Hobart and William Smith Colleges

January 15

Kenyon College

January 15

Lafayette College

January 15

Macalester College

January 1

Middlebury College

January 4

Mount Holyoke College

January 4

Oberlin College

January 2

Occidental College

February 1

Pitzer College

January 8

Pomona College

January 8

Reed College

December 20

Rhodes College

January 15

Sarah Lawrence College

January 15

Scripps College

January 5

Skidmore College

January 15

Smith College

January 1

St. Olaf College

January 15

Swarthmore College

January 4

Trinity College

January 15

Union College

January 15

University of Richmond

January 1

Vassar College

January 1

Washington and Lee University

January 1

Wellesley College

January 1

Wesleyan University

January 1

Whitman College

January 15

See a missing school? Email us and let us know!

 

Want to gain an edge by applying ED II? Not sure whether you need that boost? With CollegeVine’s free Chancing Engine, you can find out. We’ll take your profile into account, including your grades, test scores, and extracurriculars, to predict your real chances of admission to more than 500 colleges. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account to get started!

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Short Bio
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where she majored in Creative Writing and minored in History. She lives in Brooklyn, New York and works as a freelance writer specializing in education. She dreams of having a dog.

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