Should You Apply Under Early Decision II?

If you’re in the midst of applying for colleges, you may have come across a school on your list that offers Early Decision II. But what is it, how does it differ from regular Early Decision, and should you apply under it? We answer all three questions in this article.

High school student with books standing in front of a whiteboard filled with math formulas.

What is Early Decision?

Early Decision is an option to apply to a specific college earlier than Regular Decision. The applicant should be very sure they want to attend this college because this application is binding. If you’re accepted, you have to attend the following fall. You will be expected to submit a deposit if you receive an acceptance letter as soon as possible.

Colleges and universities only let students out of this “contract” in very specific circumstances, such as medical emergencies or the inability to afford tuition and costs. You need to contact the school if you discover you cannot attend for any reason to see if you can be released from the contract.

Early Decision shouldn’t be confused with Early Action, which allows students to receive a faster response to their applications.

These applications are generally due on November 1st or 15th and students can expect to hear back from the schools in December.

Early Decision vs Early Decision II

The major difference between Early Decision and Early Decision II is the due date for applications. Early Decision II is a second round of the binding application process, with most application deadlines on January 1st, though it can vary from school to school.

Not all colleges and universities offer Early Decision II. If you’re curious whether a college on your list does, you will have to visit their admissions website or reach out to the admissions department for more information.

Should You Apply Under Early Decision II?

You should only apply under Early Decision II if you are absolutely positive you want to attend that particular school. Submitting your application is agreeing that you will attend the following fall. As such, you cannot apply to any other schools under Early Decision II. Any acceptance letters could be revoked if you are caught. If you are declined for a particular school under the first Early Decision or waitlisted, you can apply to a school under II.

That doesn’t mean you should only apply to this particular college! It’s not a guarantee you’re going to get in. You should also be submitting applications to backup schools during this time, especially since they often share the same due date of January 1st. If you are accepted to your Early Decision II school, you will have to withdraw any other applications to colleges.

Don’t apply for Early Decision or Early Decision II on a whim. You need to be 100% sure this is the college or university you want to attend. If you do find it is not the college for you, you can transfer at a later date.

Curious about application due dates, fees, and more? Check out our search tool to find plenty of information about admissions for your dream school.