Exploring Early Decision 2: How It Works and Who Should Consider It

Applying Early Decision 2

Exploring Early Decision 2: How It Works and Who Should Consider It

Published July 20, 2023 | Last Updated April 28th, 2024 at 04:47 pm

Applying Early Decision 2

Are you a student looking for a second chance to secure admission to a college? Early Decision 2 (ED 2) might be the answer you’re looking for. Explore how ED 2 works, its pros and cons, questions to ask yourself, and application tips.

What Is Early Decision 2?

Early Decision 2 (ED 2) is an admissions process that allows students to apply to their preferred college or university in the regular decision round, typically around January, but with a binding commitment similar to Early Decision (ED). It gives students a second chance to demonstrate their commitment to a particular institution and show their continued interest.

How Does Early Decision 2 Work?

Early Decision 2 follows a similar process to Early Decision. Students submit their application, including all required documents, by a specified deadline. Once admitted, the student must withdraw all other college applications and commit to attending the ED 2 school.

Early Decision vs. Early Decision 2

The major difference between Early Decision and Early Decision 2 is the deadline. Early Decision deadlines fall around early November, so students will hear back from schools in mid-December. Early Decision 2 deadlines fall around early January, with students getting admissions notifications in February.

Considering that Early Decision 2 deadlines coincide with Regular Decision, students may choose their top school as their Early Decision 2 choice and apply to other schools through the regular admissions process.

However, if they are accepted to their Early Decision 2 school, students must accept that school and not any other schools they have applied to using Regular Decision.

Who Should Apply for Early Decision 2?

Early Decision 2 offers a good opportunity for students who weren’t accepted for Early Decision or missed the regular deadlines.

Some schools also offer the option for students who applied for Regular Decision to switch to Early Decision 2 if the deadline has not passed. Students can email the admissions counselors at the individual schools to clarify their change.

It is not possible for students who were rejected for Early Decision to apply to the same school during Early Decision 2. If their application to an Early Decision school was deferred, they can apply to other schools while they wait for results.

Advantages of Early Decision 2 

The same benefits of Early Decision are present in Early Decision 2: students can demonstrate their commitment to a school and get a quicker decision regarding their admission.

The extra advantage that ED2 offers is that it gives students an added month, potentially giving them time to improve their test scores, boost their grades, sharpen their resumes, or take a closer look at their financial aid situation.

Unlike Early Decision, which only considers grades through junior year, Early Decision 2 allows students to show improvements made during their senior year’s first semester.

Disadvantages of Early Decision 2

The competition for Early Decision 2 can be even fiercer than it is for Early Decision, because schools have already accepted applicants from the first round.

Considering that the Early Decision 2 deadlines coincide with those of Regular Decision, students who choose Early Decision 2 will also compete with the wider pool of applicants.

For those students who are also applying to Regular Decision at other schools, Early Decision 2 can complicate things.

If they receive an attractive financial aid offer or grow excited about one of the schools they applied to during Regular Decision, they would have to withdraw if they are accepted to their Early Decision 2 school.

Early Decision 2 also gives students a narrower turnaround time when changing their plans if they are not accepted.

If students are denied by their Early Decision school, they have time to proceed with Regular Decision applications, but students denied Early Decision 2 will not have the same chance to consider alternate courses of action.

10 Colleges With Early Decision 2

Like Early Decision, Early Decision 2 is only offered by select schools that each have their own deadlines. Here is a list of ten prominent schools that participate in ED 2.

For the complete list and the schools’ varying acceptance rates, click here.

  • American University
  • Boston University
  • Carleton College
  • Davidson College
  • Harvey Mudd College
  • Lehigh University
  • New York University
  • Oberlin University
  • Reed College
  • Santa Clara University

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Applying Early Decision 2

  • Are you sure that this is your top-choice school? Consider your reasons for choosing the college and evaluate if it aligns with your long-term goals and aspirations.
  • Can you afford to attend this school without financial aid? Understand the financial implications of attending the ED 2 college without being able to compare financial aid packages.
  • Are you prepared to withdraw all your other applications if accepted? Consider if you are ready to commit to the ED 2 college without exploring other options or waiting for regular decision notifications.

Tips for Applying Early Decision 2

  • Start early! To avoid any last-minute rush, Begin researching colleges and prepare your application materials before the ED 2 deadline.
  • Make sure your application is flawless. Review your application materials meticulously, ensuring they are error-free, well-written, and effectively highlight your strengths and achievements.
  • Write a strong personal statement. Craft a compelling personal statement that showcases your unique qualities, experiences, and aspirations. Use this opportunity to demonstrate why you are an excellent fit for the ED 2 college.
  • Get your letters of recommendation in early. Reach out to your recommenders well before the deadline to allow them enough time to write thoughtful and comprehensive letters on your behalf.


Use R2C Insights to help find merit aid and schools that fit the criteria most important to your student. You’ll not only save precious time, but your student will avoid the heartache of applying to schools they aren’t likely to get into or can’t afford to attend.  

👉 Looking for expert help on the road to college? See our Preferred Partner List!

Other Articles You Might Like:

Does Applying Early Decision to College Increase the Odds of Being Accepted?

What Is the Big Ten and What Does a Big Ten School Mean?

Who Benefits the Most from Early Decision and Why You Need to Know




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