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The Ivy Coach Daily

January 4, 2021

Early Decision I and Early Decision II Are Not Created Equal

Early Decision II does not offer the same advantage as Early Decision I (photo credit: Diego Delso).

Early Decision I and Early Decision II are basically the same thing, right? Wrong. First, let’s start with the most obvious difference. For those schools that offer both Early Decision I and Early Decision II policies (and there aren’t tons of these universities among the highly selective institutions), the Early Decision I deadline is typically November 1st whereas the Early Decision II deadline is typically around January 1st. But you already knew that. Come on, Ivy Coach. Tell us something we don’t know. Alright, alright…we will! So what’s the real difference between Early Decision I and Early Decision II?

Colleges Are More Lenient When They’re More Insecure

There’s not as big of an advantage in applying Early Decision II as compared to Early Decision I. And why not? Because when students apply in the Early Decision I round, colleges are most insecure. They don’t know if they’ll have a strong Early Decision II pool. They don’t know if they’ll have a strong Regular Decision pool. They don’t know if it’ll be a record year or if it’ll be a forgettable year. It’s all possible. And applicants should always wish to apply when colleges are most insecure. Why? Because colleges are more lenient when they’re more insecure. They’re more likely to offer students admission.

Colleges Are More Insecure During Early Decision I Than During Early Decision II

In Early Decision II, admissions officers at these schools aren’t all that insecure anymore. They can see who applied Early Decision I. They can see who applied Early Decision II. Heck, they can see the entire Regular Decision pool, too. There’s nothing that’s unknown. So, of course, they’re going to feel more confident. And are college admissions officers lenient when they’re confident? No! They’re lenient when they’re insecure. Early Decision I and Early Decision II are thus not created equal. Is applying Early Decision II better than applying Regular Decision? Of course. A student is still committing to attend if admitted. But it’s just not the same as applying Early Decision I.

While you’re here, read more about the Early Decision advantage.

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