• Tatum Hutton

Early Decision and Early Action 2

Updated: Mar 14, 2019


The process of applying to college has become increasingly strategic for both students and colleges.  Gone are the days of mailing a paper application to one or two schools and waiting for a “big envelope” to come back in return.  Students are now applying to many more colleges. According to the Higher Education Research Institute’s The American Freshmen report series, 35 percent of first-time freshmen applied to seven or more colleges during the Fall 2016 admission cycle.  

So, what’s up with Early Decision or Early Action 2? Early Decision 2 (ED2) and Early Action 2 (EA2) are just another set of deadlines. Because of the increased application volume, colleges have creating a variety of strategies to manage all those applications.  One of those strategies is to create a number of different deadlines to encourage students to apply in waves.  Just like the first-round version of those same application plans – you may only apply to one school as an Early Decision applicant, but you can apply to multiple schools as an Early Action applicant. 

Should I apply with Early Decision 2 or Early Action 2?     ED2 and EA2 may give you a slight admission advantage just like you get with ED1 or EA1.  Schools tend to admit a higher percentage of students from their early pools as compared to the percent they admit from the regular decision pool.  If there is a school that is top on your list but you still haven’t applied, it may help to apply in the ED2 or EA2 round. But, remember!! If you apply as an Early Decision 2 applicant – you are committing yourself to attend that school if they admit you.  Meaning ED2 should be reserved ONLY if you are willing to enroll! 

But my Early Decision 1 application was accepted… Congratulations!  You are done with the admission process!  Your early decision admission is a binding offer meaning you committed to enroll at that school when you applied ED1.  

What about my Early Action 1 applications…? You have likely received decisions from schools that you applied to in the first round of Early Action.  Admitted or denied, you can still submit applications to other schools if you like (Early Action is non-binding). 

What if I was denied as an ED1 or EA1 applicant – can I apply again in ED2 or EA2?  You can’t apply to the same school again – just one application per school.  Although, it doesn’t feel good to get a “no” decision from a college, ED2 and EA2 gives you an opportunity to set your sights on a new first choice school.  

Take Action If all these deadlines have your head spinning, be sure to talk to your advisor about your application strategy.  Don’t forget – 

Enter any admission decisions you’ve received in GuidedPath. 

Update application details in GuidedPath if you have changed plans to apply ED2 or EA2.

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