What Does Early Decision II Mean?

By this time of year, many kids are anxiously awaiting to hear back from their top Early Decision school. Inevitably, there’s another group of students who either waited, or had some doubts, and decide that they wished they had applied Early Decision. Enter, ED II. 

Preparing to Make the Commitment

Early Decision is, undoubtedly, a commitment. You’re entering into an agreement with a school, the terms of which are non-negotiable if you’re accepted. If you’re a sophomore or junior who is reading this post, we urge you to consider the Early Decision trajectory. A lot of kids balk at the idea because they’re just not ready to make a deal. However, if you don’t apply early, you ultimately forego your change of increasing your odds of getting in. Most of our kids apply Early Decision, because we’ve helped them do the groundwork necessary to determine where they’d like to go. We have our kids start touring colleges their freshman/sophomore year to get a sense for what size, location, and culture is right for them. We also help them delve into an area of interest that will inform what major or area of study they would like to pursue, further helping them narrow down their options. The thing is, you’re going to have to make a definitive choice at some point, so why not increase your odds and do it a bit earlier?

For Those Who Waited 

If you’re a senior reading this, then you’ve probably already passed the point of no return for ED 1. But there’s still an opportunity to give yourself the Early Decision advantage. Many schools offer a second Early Decision option for students who are ready to commit. It’s pretty much the same thing as Early Decision. It’s a binding contract conditional upon your entry into the school. If you get in, you have to go. The key difference is that it occurs in January. Before we get into the logistics of ED II, there are a few other things to keep in mind.

Should I apply ED II?  

As we’ve mentioned, we think Early Decision is a great option for students who have done the groundwork necessary to decide where they’d like to go. If you haven’t made some tough choices about the size and location of your desired school, you’re behind the curve and you need to figure it out now. A lot of students are also hesitant to tell a school in their essay what major they would like to pursue. Tough. Applying to university is all about specificity and the key to specificity is making decisions. Small school or large school? English or engineering? Commitment is everything in the short term, and remember, you can always change your mind about your major. In order for Early Decision to work most effectively for you, you need to package yourself as a student who knows exactly what they want.

We help our students craft resumes that support their images as an expert in one specific area. So, if you’re someone who is ready to make some choices about life (you’re going to have to do it eventually), then ED II is right for you.

ED II is also right for you if you’re someone with an impressive resume, excellent essays, and a GPA or test scores that fall just below your desired school’s range. Schools are accepting more and more ED applicants. That means that regular decision-applicants are going to have a harder time getting in. So, if you’re really passionate about a school, but it’s a bit of a reach for you, definitely get your application in early to increase your odds.  

What to know once you’re ready

As we mentioned, the deadline for Early Decision II is in January. Unlike Early Decision I, that means you will likely have sent out regular decision applications by the time you get around to applying for ED II. All that means is that, if you are accepted into your ED II school of choice, you will have to pull your regular decision applications before you hear back from those schools.


Need help deciding which school is a good fit for you? Call us. We are experts at helping students match with universities that will help them achieve their goals.