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Early Decision II Offers a Gift: Time

Posted by Lauren Boucher, Associate Director of College Counseling on Dec 3, 2018 10:24:46 AM

 Early Decision II. What makes it unique and sets it apart from other college application deadlines? First, there are just under 100 colleges that offer ED II as an option. Second, the ED II deadline for the majority of these colleges is in early to mid-January, giving students the gift of time -- time to visit colleges, to improve test scores, and to make decisions. In this scenario, a student will likely be applying to an ED II college, along with filing their regular decision applications. The difference is that students applying ED II will hear back from their ED II college in early to mid-February as opposed to March. Remember though, ED II is like its big sister ED I in that the language around commitment to the ED II school is the same -- ED II is binding and requires a non-refundable deposit in short order should a student be accepted. Besides students who simply need a couple of extra months to pull necessary application materials together, others may apply ED II if they have been deferred or denied admission to their top choice school and as a result are strongly committed to attending an ED II school as their next best option.

rhodes college

At the National Association for College Admission Counselors (NACAC) conference which took place in Salt Lake City in September, I attended a session called “A Closer Look at Early Decision II,” where I learned that ED II has been an option since 1983. During this session college admission reps noted that among its advantages, ED II allows low income and first generation students, among others, extra time to pull together the financial documents necessary to apply for financial aid.

Jennifer Sandoval-Dancs, assistant vice-president for admission at Claremont-McKenna College, said that their ED pool continues to increase and includes a lot of scholar-athletes. She said, “Over half the class has enrolled through ED I and ED II in the last few years; institutional priorities and the talent of the prospective pool contribute to the robust size of the cohort.”

Colorado College’s vice president for enrollment, Mark Hatch, said that at his school admit rates are higher for Early Decision than they are for Early Action. The January 15 ED II deadline gives students more time compared to the November ED I deadline. As a result, the school sees more applicants who are stretching themselves -- ED II candidates do not always have the same academic chops as those who apply ED I. At the University of Chicago, Grace Chapin, deputy director of admissions, said that ED II tends to be a good option for students who have been deferred elsewhere; ten percent of students that Chicago admitted ED II last year were deferred or denied by other schools. She also noted that at the University of Chicago there is no difference between academic levels of competitiveness from one round to another. ED I, ED II or Regular Decision -- these distinctions don’t matter because, according to Chapin, at the University of Chicago, admission is quite simply tough no matter when you apply.

Regardless of what a student chooses to do, it’s important to understand the conditions associated with applying Early Decision. The ED agreement states, “If you are accepted under an Early Decision plan, you must promptly withdraw the applications submitted to other colleges and universities and make no additional applications to any other university in any country.”

Maybe Early Decision II is right for you?

* Schools pictured ED II deadlines:
Rhodes College deadline is January 1
Colorado College deadline is January 15
Lafayette College deadline is February 1

Colorado College

Topics: Tabor Academy, College Counseling