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Early Decision II: A Second Chance at Your Dream School

early decision ii: A Second Chance at Your Dream School

For high school seniors, the college application process can be a daunting and stressful experience. The pressure to choose the right school, write compelling essays, and secure strong letters of recommendation can feel overwhelming. However, for those who have their hearts set on a particular institution, there is a second chance to make their dreams come true: Early Decision II (ED II).

What is Early Decision II?

Early Decision II is an application option offered by many colleges and universities in the United States. It allows students to apply early, typically in January, and receive an admission decision by mid-February. Similar to Early Decision I (ED I), ED II is a binding agreement, meaning that if a student is accepted, they are obligated to attend the school and withdraw all other applications.

ED II was introduced as a response to the growing demand for early application options. It provides students with an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to a particular institution while still having more time to explore other options. This second chance can be especially beneficial for students who were not admitted during the regular decision round or who were unable to apply early due to various reasons.

The Benefits of Early Decision II

1. Increased admission chances:

One of the primary advantages of applying through ED II is the increased likelihood of admission. Colleges often fill a significant portion of their incoming class through the early decision process, and ED II applicants are typically competing against a smaller pool of candidates compared to regular decision applicants. This smaller pool allows admissions officers to give each application more attention and consideration, increasing the chances of acceptance.

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2. demonstrated interest:

By applying through ED II, students are signaling their strong interest in the institution. Admissions officers value this commitment and are more likely to view the applicant favorably. Demonstrating interest can be particularly advantageous for students who may not have had the opportunity to visit the campus or engage with the school in other ways.

3. More Time for College Visits:

For students who were unable to visit their dream school before the ED I deadline, ED II provides an extended period to explore the campus and get a better sense of the college environment. This additional time can be crucial in making an informed decision about whether the school is the right fit.

4. Financial Aid Consideration:

While financial aid packages are typically not released until later in the application process, applying through ED II allows students to receive their admission decision earlier. This early notification can provide more time to evaluate financial aid options and make informed decisions about college affordability.

Factors to Consider Before Applying Early Decision II

1. Commitment:

Before applying through ED II, students must carefully consider their commitment to the institution. As ED II is a binding agreement, applicants must be certain that the school is their top choice and that they are willing to withdraw all other applications if accepted. It is essential to thoroughly research the college, visit the campus if possible, and evaluate whether it aligns with their academic and personal goals.

2. Financial Considerations:

While ED II can be advantageous for students seeking financial aid, it is crucial to understand the school’s financial aid policies and affordability before committing. Some institutions may not offer as generous financial aid packages to ED II applicants compared to regular decision applicants. Students should carefully review the school’s financial aid information and consider discussing their options with a financial aid advisor.

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3. Application Strength:

Applying through ED II does not guarantee admission. Students must still submit a strong application that showcases their academic achievements, extracurricular involvement, and personal qualities. It is essential to review and revise application materials thoroughly, seeking feedback from teachers, counselors, or mentors to ensure the strongest possible presentation.

Examples of Colleges Offering Early Decision II

1. Columbia University:

Columbia University offers an Early Decision II option for students who have a clear first-choice school and are unable to commit to the Early Decision I deadline. The ED II deadline is typically in early January, and applicants receive their admission decision by mid-February.

2. Dartmouth College:

Dartmouth College also provides an Early Decision II option for students who have a strong interest in the institution but were unable to apply through Early Decision I. The ED II deadline is in early January, and applicants receive their decision by mid-February.

3. University of Pennsylvania:

The University of Pennsylvania offers an Early Decision II option for students who have a genuine commitment to the school but were unable to apply through Early Decision I. The ED II deadline is typically in early January, and applicants receive their decision by mid-February.

Success Stories of Early Decision II Applicants

1. Sarah’s Story:

Sarah had always dreamed of attending Columbia University. However, due to personal circumstances, she was unable to apply through Early Decision I. Determined not to give up on her dream, Sarah applied through Early Decision II. She spent the extra time researching the university, connecting with current students, and crafting a compelling application. Sarah was thrilled to receive her acceptance letter in February, knowing that she would be attending her dream school in the fall.

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2. John’s Story:

John had a strong interest in Dartmouth College but was unsure if he wanted to commit to the Early Decision I deadline. After visiting the campus and attending an information session, John realized that Dartmouth was the perfect fit for him. He applied through Early Decision II and was overjoyed to receive his acceptance letter in February. John is now eagerly preparing to join the Dartmouth community.


Early Decision II offers high school seniors a second chance to secure a spot at their dream school. With increased admission chances, the opportunity to demonstrate interest, and more time for college visits, ED II can be a valuable option for students who are committed to a particular institution. However, it is crucial to carefully consider the commitment, financial implications, and application strength before applying. By weighing these factors and learning from success stories, students can make an informed decision about whether Early Decision II is the right path for them. Ultimately, ED II provides a valuable opportunity for students to pursue their dreams and embark on an exciting academic journey.

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