The 2023 Complete List of Early Decision 2 Schools

Johns Hopkins University offers two rounds of Early Decision.

While most of America’s universities only offer one round of Early Decision / Early Action, there are some schools, including some of the nation’s highly selective schools, that offer two rounds of Early Decision. For those schools that do offer the second round of Early Decision, the deadline for most of these schools to submit Early Decision 2 applications is typically around the same time that Regular Decision applications are due to the institution — often in early January. So which universities in America offer Early Decision 2? What are the benefits and drawbacks of applying Early Decision 2? Wonder no more!

Which colleges offer Early Decision 2 and when are the deadlines?

First, which colleges even offer an Early Decision 2 option? Among the colleges and universities in America with Early Decision 2 policies, many are liberal arts colleges.

Schools like Bates College, Bowdoin College, Colby College, Hamilton College, Haverford College, Middlebury College, Pomona College, Smith College, and Swarthmore College, among others are staples of the list of liberal arts colleges ranked in the top 25 “Best Liberal Arts Colleges” by US News & World Report for 2023 offering applicants two opportunities to make binding commitments to attend.

But there are also universities that are staples of the list of best national universities ranked in the top 50 “Best National Universities” by US News & World Report for 2023 offering the option. Such schools include American University, Carnegie Mellon University, George Washington University, Johns Hopkins University, New York University, Tufts University, Tulane University, University of Chicago, Vanderbilt University, Wake Forest University, and Washington University in St. Louis, among others.

The full list of colleges offering Early Decision 2 during the 2022-2023 admissions cycle, a list that includes the respective application deadlines, is below. Schools with an asterisk are ranked by US News & World Report in the top 50 “Best National Universities” for 2023 while schools with a hashtag are ranked by US News & World Report in the top 25 “Best Liberal Arts Colleges” for 2023.

College / UniversityEarly Decision 2 Deadline
American UniversityJanuary 15
Antioch CollegeJanuary 2
Babson College #January 4
Bates Colleges #January 11
Baylor UniversityFebruary 1
Bennington CollegeJanuary 15
Bentley UniversityJanuary 7
Boston College *January 10
Boston University *January 4
Bowdoin College #January 5
Brandeis University *January 1
Bryant UniversityJanuary 15
Bryn Mawr CollegeJanuary 1
Bucknell UniversityJanuary 15
Carleton College #January 15
Carnegie Mellon University *January 3
Case Western Reserve University *January 15
Catholic University of AmericaJanuary 15
Claremont McKenna College #January 11
Clark UniversityJanuary 15
Colby College #January 1
Colgate University #January 15
College of the AtlanticJanuary 15
College of the Holy CrossJanuary 15
College of William and Mary *January 2
College of WoosterJanuary 15
Colorado CollegeJanuary 15
Connecticut CollegeJanuary 15
Davidson College #January 2
Denison CollegeJanuary 15
Dickinson CollegeJanuary 15
DePauw UniversityJanuary 15
Drew UniversityJanuary 15
Emerson CollegeJanuary 3
Emory University *January 1
Fairfield UniversityJanuary 15
Franklin & Marshall CollegeJanuary 15
Furman UniversityJanuary 15
George Washington UniversityJanuary 5
Gettysburg CollegeJanuary 15
Grinnell CollegeJanuary 1
Grove City CollegeDecember 1
Hamilton College #January 4
Hampshire CollegeJanuary 4
Harvey Mudd CollegeJanuary 5
Haverford College #January 6
High Point UniversityFebruary 1
Hobart and William Smith CollegesJanuary 15
Illinois Institute of TechnologyJanuary 1
Jewish Theological SeminaryJanuary 1
Johns Hopkins University *January 4
Kenyon CollegeJanuary 15
Lafayette CollegeJanuary 15
Lake Forest CollegeJanuary 15
Lehigh UniversityJanuary 1
Loyola Marymount UniversityJanuary 8
Macalester CollegeJanuary 1
Marist CollegeFebruary 15
Middlebury College #January 3
Mount Holyoke CollegeJanuary 4
Muhlenberg CollegeFebruary 1
New York University *January 1
Northeastern University *January 1
Oberlin CollegeJanuary 2
Occidental CollegeFebruary 1
Pitzer CollegeJanuary 8
Pomona College #January 8
Providence CollegeJanuary 15
Reed CollegeDecember 20
Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteDecember 15
Rhodes CollegeJanuary 15
Rochester Institute of TechnologyJanuary 1
Rollins CollegeJanuary 5
Santa Clara UniversityJanuary 7
Saint Joseph’s UniversityJanuary 15
Sarah Lawrence CollegeJanuary 15
Scripps CollegeJanuary 5
Sewanee: The University of the SouthJanuary 15
Skidmore CollegeJanuary 15
Smith College #January 1
Southern Methodist UniversityJanuary 15
Springfield CollegeJanuary 15
Stevens Institute of TechnologyJanuary 15
Stonehill CollegeFebruary 1
St. Olaf CollegeJanuary 15
Swarthmore College #January 4
Syracuse University January 1
Texas Christian UniversityFebruary 1
Trinity CollegeJanuary 15
Trinity UniversityJanuary 15
Tufts University *January 1
Tulane University *January 8
Union CollegeJanuary 15
University of Chicago *January 4
University of DenverJanuary 15
University of MiamiJanuary 1
University of North Carolina AshevilleJanuary 15
University of Richmond #January 1
University of Rochester *January 5
Ursinus CollegeFebruary 1
Vanderbilt University *January 1
Vassar College #January 1
Villanova UniversityJanuary 1
Wake Forest University *January 1
Washington and Lee University #January 1
Washington University in St. Louis *January 1
Wellesley College #January 1
Wesleyan University #January 1
Wheaton CollegeJanuary 1
Whitman CollegeJanuary 15
Worchester Polytechnic InstituteJanuary 15


* – Ranked in Top 50 of 2023 US News & World Report ranking of Best National Universities# – Ranked in Top 25 of 2023 US News & World Report ranking of Best Liberal Arts Colleges

What’s the difference between Early Decision 1 and Early Decision 2 for students?

Early Decision 1 deadlines are typically at the beginning of November. Students typically learn of their decisions — whether they’re accepted, deferred, or denied around mid-December. So they’ll know their decision before they submit their Regular Decision applications.

Early Decision 2 deadlines are typically at the beginning of January (though the deadlines can vary somewhat). So students submit their Early Decision 2 applications in conjunction with submitting their Regular Decision applications.

What’s the difference between Early Decision 1 and Early Decision 2 for admissions officers?

Admissions officers are more lenient with Early Decision 1 applicants

Overall, admissions officers at America’s highly selective colleges are more lenient with Early Decision 1 applicants. Why’s that? Because when admissions officers are evaluating the candidacies of Early Decision 1 applicants, they’re more insecure. Will the school get a large Early Decision 2 and Regular Decision applicant pool? Will the school get a strong Early Decision 2 and Regular Decision applicant pool?

The leniency of admissions officers with Early Decision 1 applicants is rooted in insecurity

The fact is they won’t know until after the Regular Decision submission deadline. As such, they’re more forgiving of Early Decision 1 applicants because they don’t know what’s around the bend whereas when they evaluate Early Decision 2 candidates, they already know the size and strength of their Early Decision 1, Early Decision 2, and Regular Decision applicant pools.

Applying Early Decision 2, while not as good as Early Decision 1, is still better than applying Regular Decision

So while admissions officers do appreciate when students make binding commitments to attend — be it during Early Decision 1 or Early Decision 2 — they appreciate the Early Decision 1 applicants more. This is also the case because they know their ED2 applicants may well have applied to another school ED1 and been deferred or denied admission. That said, if you’re wondering if there’s a baked in advantage to applying Early Decision 2 vs. Regular Decision, there sure is. Admissions officers still value that commitment to attending to bolster their yield. It’s just not as powerful as an ED1 commitment. Early Decision 1 and Early Decision 2 are not created equal.

Why should a student apply Early Decision 2?

If a student was deferred or denied admission in the Early Decision 1 round or they just couldn’t commit to a school by early November but are ready to commit to a school around early January, then applying to an Early Decision 2 school makes sense. That’s of course if the student knows they wish to attend this school to which they’re making a binding commitment above all other schools and/or they’ve strategized and realized their best chance of getting into the best school possible after the November Early deadlines have passed is by applying Early Decision 2.

Can a student get out of a binding Early Decision 2 commitment?

No, just like when a student applies Early Decision 1 and gets in, the student is bound to matriculate if they get in through Early Decision 2. Generally, the only exception is when a student’s family’s financial situation has changed dramatically and the financial aid offer does not meet the family’s need. But if you’re planning on applying Early Decision 1 or Early Decision 2 and trying to wiggle out of your commitment, think again. You could well jeopardize your admission not only to the school that offered you admission under the ED policy — but to your other schools as well. Your word is your bond.

What are the pros and cons of applying Early Decision 2?

The admissions statistics at schools that offer Early Decision 1 and Early Decision 2 rounds in addition to the Regular Decision round say it all. Let’s take Johns Hopkins University, as an example. For the Class of 2025, about 21% of Early Decision 1 applicants earned admission, while about 10.58% of Early Decision 2 applicants got in. The overall admission rate for the JHU Class of 2025 was approximately 4.97%.

This data is indeed emblematic of the Early Decision 1, Early Decision 2, and Regular Decision admission rates at many of the highly selective colleges that offer two rounds of Early admission in addition to Regular Decision. The Early Decision 1 admission rate tends to be significantly higher than the Early Decision 2 admission rate and both tend to be significantly higher than the Regular Decision admission rate.

It can, however, be sometimes difficult to discern the differences since some schools choose to lump their Early Decision 1 data with their Early Decision 2 data, simply reporting the two rounds as their Early Decision pool.

Is it easier to get into a top university in Early Decision 1 or Early Decision 2?

It’s easier to get in Early Decision 1 as the admissions statistics at just about every highly selective university lay bare. That being said, there is still an advantage to applying Early Decision 2. The advantage simply isn’t as strong as applying Early Decision 1. But it sure beats applying Regular Decision.

Other Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Early Decision 2

Can a student regret getting into their Early Decision 2 school?

Yes. When a student applies Early Decision 1 and earns admission, they never get to apply to schools in the Regular Decision round. They may apply to a couple of schools Early Action (e.g., a student can apply to Columbia University Early Decision and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Chicago, and the University of Michigan, among other public universities and private universities with non-restrictive Early Action policies). But if they get into their Early Decision school, they’re done with the college admissions process. So, often times, they’re simply left wondering if they could have gotten into a more selective school.

That said, when a student applies Early Decision 2, there’s no wondering. They might earn admission Early Decision 2 to Johns Hopkins University and get denied admission to each of the eight Ivy League schools. Or they could get into Johns Hopkins and also Harvard College.

A few years back, we had a student first come to us as a client after their Early Decision I denial. They told us their dream was Johns Hopkins and they wanted to apply ED2. We helped them with their JHU application in addition to several other applications, including Princeton University. The student got in ED2 to JHU. The student also got into Princeton.

Of course, she had to go to JHU as she made a binding commitment. And we didn’t apologize since that was the level of risk she wanted to take. JHU was her stated dream. We helped her achieve her dream. She just didn’t realize our help could also lead to her admission to Princeton. She kicked herself but got over it a few days later and ended up loving Johns Hopkins. A couple of years later, we had a similar story play out when a student got into Columbia ED1 and also MIT EA. She didn’t think she could get into MIT. She did.

Why do admissions officers so often say there’s no advantage in applying Early Decision 1 or 2?

Well, some admissions officers may say this but others are more forthright. The statistics are clear. There is a major advantage when a student makes a binding commitment to matriculate if offered admission as that applicant will have increased odds of admission. In short, if a student shows love to a college, they’re more likely to show that love back — in spades.

But for those admissions officers who don’t tell it like it is and insist there’s no advantage in applying ED1 or ED2, it’s often because they don’t want to make it seem like they offer preferential treatment to privileged applicants.

After all, many students from low-income backgrounds who often also happen to be underrepresented minorities don’t apply Early Decision since they prefer to weigh financial aid offers in Regular Decision (this, of course, isn’t necessary since students can simply plug their numbers into the Net Price Calculator online and know exactly what they’ll receive in aid before the Early round but many students and their parents don’t realize this reality).

So admissions officers will often understate the competitive Early Decision advantage — either through Early Decision 1 or Early Decision 2 — in the spirit of equity.

Is a binding Early Decision 2 commitment really binding?

Yes. Short of a major change to your family’s financial circumstance, Early Decision really is binding. We can’t stress this enough.

Have a question about applying Early Decision 2? Let us know your question by posting it below.

 
 

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