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ED2: Your Definitive Guide to Early Decision 2 Application

The Early Birds. Image courtesy of Angelo DeSantis from Berkeley, US, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
The Early Birds. Image courtesy of Angelo DeSantis from Berkeley, US, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Early Decision 2 (ED2) is a second round of Early Decision applications to a college. Many times, ED2 deadlines are concurrent with the regular decision deadlines, while in other cases, ED2 deadlines can be before the regular decision deadlines.

Not every college with an early decision application has a ED2 round. Let’s take a look and see why colleges offer ED2 and why do students apply for ED2.

What is Early Decision (ED and/or ED1)?

Early decision application round is where the student applies to a college within a deadline that is earlier than the regular application deadline (this is the early part) and the commitment to attending the college if offered admission, is binding (this is the decision part ... you have decided that this college is the “it” college for you). When colleges offer more than one early decision round, then the two rounds are called ED1 and ED2.

Early decision is different from an early action (EA) round which may have similar deadlines. Early action applications are non binding and if accepted, the student is not obligated to committed to attending the college. With an EA application, a student has flexibility of choosing any college that has accepted them.

Colleges that offer early decisions, often fill 30-60% of their freshman spots in the ED rounds. Since ED is a binding contract, colleges are assured that the admitted students will enroll and pay the cost of attending the college. It is a good deal for the colleges both in terms of managing their enrollment and finances and can be a win for the students as well.

Early decisions are generally binding once you accept them. However, if the student cannot afford the college at the offered Cost of Attendance, then they can withdraw. Further, there is not restriction on applying anywhere if you withdraw an Early Decision application due to financial reasons.

Why do some colleges offer ED2?

Offering an ED2 round can benefit the colleges by:

  1. Filling up the “early” spots that may not have been filled from the pool of applicants during the ED1 round.
  2. Getting exceptional applicants that did not apply during their ED1 round.
  3. Getting candidates who may have applied EA and are now ready to commit to the college by applying during the ED2 round.

Why do students apply to a ED2 round?

Students apply ED2 for a multiple of reasons. Despite the various reasons, one thing is very clear: ED2 is the most emotional application round. ED2 applications are often driven by emotions, which is why we advise students and their families to be mindful of their reasons for applying ED2.

Students apply ED2 because they were deferred or not offered admission by their first choice ED/ED1 college, EA college or a few colleges that have restricted (single choice) early action (REA/SCEA) applications and they feel a sense of loss, uncertainty or doubt and are concerned that applying regular decision may not have their desired outcome. Notice the emotions that accompany the ED2.

Many colleges with ED2 have coincidental or near coincidental ED2 and regular decision deadlines. So, when students choose ED2 over a regular decision they are indicating to the college that

  1. they are committed to the college, and
  2. they will not be shopping around for the best financial aid offer and will be “accepting” of the financial aid offer from the ED2 college.

How do Colleges regard an ED2 application?

Colleges understand the reasons behind an ED2 application. Here are our takeaways after analyzing the various kinds of early applications:

  1. Colleges that offer ED2 have a reasonable number of spots allocated to the ED2 round. While it is not as high as the ED1 round or the regular round, it is still a substantial number of spots.
  2. Many colleges will fill up to (if not a tad bit more) 50% of their freshman spots through a combination of ED1 and ED2 rounds.
  3. Colleges will look at students who applied EA to them, got deferred and then applied ED2 as a sign of “extra” commitment and a willingness to forgo financial aid comparisons.
  4. Merit aid may get a little trickier with ED2 applications and we think will be offered to more exceptional candidates as compared to the ED1 round or even the regular decision round.

How should students and their families approach ED2 applications?

  1. Students and their families should first analyze the reasons that they did not apply ED to the college in the first round. Usually the reasons are good reasons, so this is not the time for recriminations, or should have, could have. The reasons could range from wishing to have flexibility in choosing a college to attend, comparison of financial aid offers, doing a REA/SCEA application which forbid an early application to a private college, or not being completely set on any one college and doing a binding agreement.
  2. Do not apply ED2 as a knee jerk application. Once you have worked through your reasons for not applying ED in the first place, it is time to think what has changed in the application scenario to consider an ED2 application. Application season is very dynamic and can keep changing as decisions roll in through December and January. Make a list of the changes and zero in what is important criteria to the student and their family.
  3. Once the analysis is done, it is time to look at stats. ED2 has a higher rate of acceptance than a regular decision and is demonstrating a marked interest. Use that fact in the application and in the essays. Since most ED2 and regular decision deadlines are concurrent, having a the ED2 signaling and a focused application and essay of “why us”, “why me” is the key to a strong ED2 application. Students may have to submit their senior year first year grades.
  4. If a student needs/wishes to compare financial aid awards, then please do not apply ED2. There is regular decision where college will fill 50% (if not more) of their spots. There is absolutely no need to worry or panic. This is the time to turn in the best application in a concentrated and happy, positive frame of mind.


ED2 can work in your favor if you are interested in the 115 colleges that offer it. The most important thing to keep in mind is to apply ED2 once you understand your rationale for doing so and the reason you prefer an ED2 over a regular application. Then turn in a strong application if you are applying ED2 to a different college as compared to your EA application. If you are applying ED2 to the college where you applied EA, then it will be the same application with a possible submission of your first semester senior year grades. Good luck and best wishes on your ED2 application!

List of colleges which offer ED2

ED2 Deadlines before Jan 1, 2022

CollegeED2 DeadlineRegular DeadlineOverall Acceptance Rate
Bard CollegeNov 01, 2021Jan 01, 202264.8%
Emerson CollegeDec 01, 2021Jan 14, 202233.4%
SUNY College at GeneseoDec 01, 2021Feb 01, 202265.5%
Hult International Business SchoolDec 15, 2021Nov 01, 202143.4%
Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteDec 15, 2021Jan 15, 202247.4%
Reed CollegeDec 20, 2021Jan 15, 202239.5%

ED2 Deadlines on Jan 1, 2022

CollegeED2 DeadlineRegular DeadlineOverall Acceptance Rate
Vanderbilt UniversityJan 01, 2022Jan 01, 20229.1%
Colby CollegeJan 01, 2022Jan 01, 20229.7%
Bates CollegeJan 01, 2022Jan 01, 202212.1%
Pitzer CollegeJan 01, 2022Jan 01, 202213.7%
Emory UniversityJan 01, 2022Jan 01, 202215.6%
New York UniversityJan 01, 2022Jan 05, 202216.2%
Northeastern UniversityJan 01, 2022Jan 01, 202218.1%
Washington and Lee UniversityJan 01, 2022Jan 01, 202218.6%
Wellesley CollegeJan 01, 2022Jan 08, 202221.6%
Grinnell CollegeJan 01, 2022Jan 15, 202223.1%
Vassar CollegeJan 01, 2022Jan 01, 202223.7%
University of MiamiJan 01, 2022Jan 01, 202227.1%
Boston CollegeJan 01, 2022Jan 01, 202227.2%
University of RichmondJan 01, 2022Jan 01, 202228.3%
Wake Forest UniversityJan 01, 2022Jan 01, 202229.6%
Brandeis UniversityJan 01, 2022Jan 01, 202229.9%
Lehigh UniversityJan 01, 2022Jan 01, 202232.1%
Macalester CollegeJan 01, 2022Jan 15, 202232.3%
Smith CollegeJan 01, 2022Jan 15, 202232.5%
Bryn Mawr CollegeJan 01, 2022Jan 15, 202233.1%
College of William and MaryJan 01, 2022Jan 01, 202237.7%
The College of New JerseyJan 01, 2022Feb 01, 202249.3%
Hampshire CollegeJan 01, 2022Jan 15, 20222.%
Rochester Institute of TechnologyJan 01, 2022Jan 15, 202270.7%

ED2 Deadlines between Jan 2 and Jan 14, 2022

CollegeED2 DeadlineRegular DeadlineOverall Acceptance Rate
Oberlin CollegeJan 02, 2022Jan 15, 202236.4%
Antioch CollegeJan 02, 2022Rolling81.7%
Johns Hopkins UniversityJan 03, 2022Jan 03, 202211.2%
Middlebury CollegeJan 03, 2022Jan 03, 202215.4%
Carnegie Mellon UniversityJan 03, 2022Jan 03, 202215.4%
Babson CollegeJan 03, 2022Jan 03, 202226.4%
Sweet Briar CollegeJan 03, 2022Rolling79.4%
University of ChicagoJan 04, 2022Jan 04, 20226.2%
Swarthmore CollegeJan 04, 2022Jan 04, 20228.9%
Washington University in St LouisJan 04, 2022Jan 04, 202213.9%
Tufts UniversityJan 04, 2022Jan 04, 202215.%
Boston UniversityJan 04, 2022Jan 04, 202218.9%
Bowdoin CollegeJan 05, 2022Jan 05, 20229.1%
Claremont McKenna CollegeJan 05, 2022Jan 05, 202210.3%
Harvey Mudd CollegeJan 05, 2022Jan 05, 202213.7%
Haverford CollegeJan 05, 2022Jan 15, 202216.3%
Hamilton CollegeJan 05, 2022Jan 05, 202216.4%
University of RochesterJan 05, 2022Jan 05, 202229.7%
Scripps CollegeJan 05, 2022Jan 05, 202232.%
Mount Holyoke CollegeJan 05, 2022Jan 18, 202238.2%
George Washington UniversityJan 05, 2022Jan 05, 202240.8%
Rollins CollegeJan 05, 2022Feb 01, 202258.3%
Davidson CollegeJan 06, 2022Jan 11, 202218.1%
Santa Clara UniversityJan 07, 2022Jan 07, 202248.8%
Pomona CollegeJan 08, 2022Jan 08, 20227.4%
Occidental CollegeJan 10, 2022Jan 10, 202236.7%
Whitman CollegeJan 10, 2022Jan 15, 202255.9%
Trinity CollegeJan 14, 2022Jan 14, 202233.5%

ED2 Deadlines on Jan 15, 2022

CollegeED2 DeadlineRegular DeadlineOverall Acceptance Rate
Colorado CollegeJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202213.5%
Carleton CollegeJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202219.1%
Colgate UniversityJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202222.6%
Case Western Reserve UniversityJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202227.4%
Villanova UniversityJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202228.2%
Denison UniversityJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202229.4%
Skidmore CollegeJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202230.1%
Franklin and Marshall CollegeJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202230.4%
Kenyon CollegeJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202234.1%
College of the Holy CrossJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202234.2%
Bucknell UniversityJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202234.2%
American UniversityJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202236.1%
Connecticut CollegeJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202237.4%
Stevens Institute of TechnologyJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202240.%
Dickinson CollegeJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202240.1%
Union CollegeJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202242.9%
Loyola Marymount UniversityJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202243.8%
Rhodes CollegeJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202244.7%
Bentley UniversityJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202246.7%
Southern Methodist UniversityJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202247.3%
Providence CollegeJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202247.5%
St Olaf CollegeJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202247.5%
Gettysburg CollegeJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202248.%
Worcester Polytechnic InstituteJan 15, 2022Feb 15, 202249.4%
Clark UniversityJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202252.8%
Sarah Lawrence CollegeJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202253.1%
The College of WoosterJan 15, 2022Feb 15, 202254.7%
Union CollegeJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202254.7%
Lake Forest CollegeJan 15, 2022Feb 15, 202255.2%
Furman UniversityJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202256.8%
Fairfield UniversityJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202257.1%
University of DenverJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202258.7%
Bennington CollegeJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202260.8%
DePauw UniversityJan 15, 2022Feb 01, 202264.4%
Hobart William Smith CollegesJan 15, 2022Feb 01, 202266.1%
Sewanee-The University of the SouthJan 15, 2022Feb 01, 202266.7%
Springfield CollegeJan 15, 2022Rolling68.1%
Becker CollegeJan 15, 2022Rolling69.9%
Bryant UniversityJan 15, 2022Feb 01, 202271.%
Drew UniversityJan 15, 2022Feb 01, 202271.4%
College of the AtlanticJan 15, 2022Feb 01, 202272.1%
Wheaton CollegeJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202273.9%
Saint Joseph's UniversityJan 15, 2022Feb 01, 202275.%
University of North Carolina at AshevilleJan 15, 2022Feb 01, 202284.%
University of New Hampshire-Main CampusJan 15, 2022Feb 01, 202284.%
Catholic University of AmericaJan 15, 2022Jan 15, 202285.4%
McDaniel CollegeJan 15, 2022Jul 01, 202291.8%

ED2 Deadlines on Feb 1, 2022

CollegeED2 DeadlineRegular DeadlineOverall Acceptance Rate
Trinity UniversityFeb 01, 2022Feb 01, 202228.8%
Lafayette CollegeFeb 01, 2022Jan 15, 202231.5%
Texas Christian UniversityFeb 01, 2022Feb 01, 202247.1%
Marist CollegeFeb 01, 2022Mar 01, 202249.2%
Allegheny CollegeFeb 01, 2022Feb 15, 202262.2%
Muhlenberg CollegeFeb 01, 2022Feb 01, 202266.2%
Stonehill CollegeFeb 01, 2022Feb 15, 202267.7%
High Point UniversityFeb 01, 2022Mar 01, 202274.6%
Kalamazoo CollegeFeb 01, 2022Jan 15, 202276.%

ED2 Deadlines on Feb 15, 2022

CollegeED2 DeadlineRegular DeadlineOverall Acceptance Rate
Ursinus CollegeFeb 15, 2022Feb 15, 202279.1%