Early Decision II: What’s the Scoop?

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So, it’s November, and perhaps after researching which colleges are a good match for you and visiting some schools on your list, you identified your first choice and decided you were willing to submit a binding Early Decision (ED I) application. Great! Now you’re waiting for a response, which will come by mid-December.

If that’s the case, consider this Plan A and, if your application is successful — meaning you are accepted! — you can send your deposit to your ED I college choice and enjoy the early close to your college search.

For many students, however, the college process requires a more multi-faceted application strategy. Some students are not ready to commit to one Early Decision binding application in the fall and will continue to research what various schools have to offer them.

For some, an Early Decision II application makes sense. There are a couple of reasons why a student might apply ED II to a particular college.

1. Plan A and Plan B: Early Decision II can be a second chance at early decision. If Plan A — your ED I application earlier this fall — led to a deferral or perhaps a rejection. In that case, you can demonstrate your strong interest to another college by submitting an ED II application, amidst the mix of any other nonbinding Early Action or Regular Decision applications you complete.

2. Strong senior grades: Perhaps your high school transcript got off to a rocky start, or perhaps COVID threw a wrench in your grades. Maybe you’re a student whose first quarter senior grades will show strength and illustrate the upward trajectory of a rising star.

Early Decision II deadlines generally fall in January (often on January 1 or January 15), with colleges responding to you in mid-February. Like ED I, this is a binding admissions process. If you are accepted ED II, you have committed to attend and have agreed to withdraw all other applications to colleges. Remember: if you applied ED I and are not accepted in December, you are then released from your agreement and can continue with your applications with the option of applying to one ED II college along with your Regular Decision applications.

Still trying to figure out what’s the best option for you? Email our Education Planning team at edplanning@prepmatters.com, and we’ll help you organize your application plan.

Maureen Delaney

Educational Counselor

As a Counselor in Educational Planning, Maureen Delaney considers the strengths and interests of students and helps them to achieve their academic and personal goals. As the former Director of College Guidance at independent schools in both the Washington DC area and Manhattan, Maureen uses her deep experience to establish authentic connections both to students planning for college and those ad...

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