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ED2: Is it right for you?

Early Action, Early Decision 1, Restrictive Early Action, Regular Decision, Early Decision 2, Rolling Admission.

There are so many choices it can feel dizzying.

Each one is slightly different, and each one carries with it its own set of pluses and minuses, dos and don’ts. How do you keep it all straight, not to mention strategize which deadlines are right for you

And I say strategize because, let’s face it, your choice does, in part, depend on strategy. For instance, applying Early Action would not allow a college to evaluate your fall semester senior year grades, a plus (or neutral) for some students and a negative for others.

EA and ED1 as well as REA are behind us, and many of those admission decisions were recently released. Enter the lesser known and understood sibling of ED1: ED2. Let's consider the pros and cons of ED2 so you can determine whether or not it’s a good strategy for you as we approach the next round of deadlines.

What is ED2?

Like ED1, ED2 is binding, which means that you must attend the college to which you are admitted through its ED2 plan. ED2 deadlines are often similar to, or the same as, regular decision deadlines. Because of its binding nature, like ED1, ED2 can give students a possible admission advantage. 

Who should consider ED2? 

ED2 might be a good option for a student who wants to benefit from that potential admission advantage and who has a first choice school, but who wasn’t ready to submit for the ED1 deadline or who wanted colleges to consider senior year’s fall term grades.  

Here’s where strategy might come into play in particular: ED2 also might be a good option for a student who was not admitted to his or her ED1 college, and therefore was subsequently released from that binding plan. That student would be free to apply to another school under a binding ED2 plan, potentially increasing chances of admission at this second school.

Who is it not good for? 

Among others, one scenario in which ED2 is not a good choice is when a student has a first-choice school and the student has applied to that school under a regular decision plan. If that student is accepted to an ED2 school, he or she would not be free to choose to attend the first-choice regular decision school (and perhaps would never even find out if he or she was admitted). 

Remember, too, that because the decision is binding, students who are accepted via ED2 will not be free to choose among a variety of aid packages, so for those students for whom the financial picture will be pivotal, applying ED2 might not be a good idea. 

The choices certainly are plentiful, and they definitely feel big. So as you navigate the rest of your admission process know this: Where you ultimately end up is exactly where you were meant to be.


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