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Early Decision Deadlines for Every College With ED

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jan 1, 2019 6:00:00 PM

College Admissions, College Info

 

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If you're applying early decision, then you've already accomplished something pretty rare in the college application process—you know exactly where you want to go to college!

This guide goes over your timeline for applying early decision and provides a comprehensive list of deadlines for all early decision schools. Read on to learn everything you will need to know about applying early decision to your dream school.

 

What You Need to Know About Early Decision

Early decision is a unique option when it comes to applying to college because it's binding. That's why you should only apply this way if you're 100% sure you want to go to the school and will be able to enroll regardless of the financial aid offer you receive.

If you apply early decision, you'll sign a statement of binding agreement to enroll. Since this is a big commitment, most colleges with early decision also require your parents and school counselor to sign this form, which can usually be found online through the Common Application or a school's individual application form.

Early decision might or might not actually have an early deadline. The traditional deadlines are in November, usually the 1st or the 15th, and you're typically notified of the admissions decision in December.

Some schools now also offer Early Decision II. Early Decision II is still binding, but the deadline is pushed forward, usually to sometime in January. This option is for applicants who are decided on a specific college but could benefit from a few more months to prepare their applications. Applicants who apply ED II will get their admissions decision earlier than usual, typically in February.

Regardless of whether you apply Early Decision I or II, all early decision applicants have to accept their offers and send in their deposits quickly after notification, rather than waiting until the national response date of May 1.

If you're applying Early Decision I, your challenge is to prepare the strongest application you can by the November deadline. Let's look at a possible timeline for gathering your application materials.

 

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Timeline for Applying Early Decision 

If you're applying early decision, it's probably safe to say that you're excited about attending your school of choice. To make this happen, though, you want to submit the strongest application you can.

For the SAT/ACT, you'll want to start prepping months in advance, even a year or more.

If your early decision deadline is in November, your last opportunity to take the ACT or SAT will be in September or October, respectively. At this point, you probably won't be able to view your scores before deciding whether to send them off to colleges. To put less pressure on yourself, you could test earlier and have your scores all set by the end of your junior year.

You might also ask your junior-year teachers for recommendations at the end of junior year, when your work will be fresh in their minds. At the absolute latest, you want to ask your counselor and teachers for recommendations a month before your deadline. In most cases, you should ask by October 1.

You also want to give your high school at least three weeks' to a month's notice for sending off your transcript and any other official documents that need to be sent to colleges. You might have to fill out a form and pay a small fee.

Finally, you should work on your personal essay and any other supplemental application essays over the summer before senior year. Writing the personal essay is a process, and you want to give yourself time to brainstorm, draft, get feedback, and revise.

You can spend September and October filling out your college applications, writing about your extracurricular activities, and proofreading what you've written for any errors or typos. As long as you start planning and preparing your application months in advance, you should be good to go for your early decision deadline.

To recap, here's what your schedule might look like if you're applying Early Decision I:

Step 1: Take the SAT or ACT early so you have enough available test dates to retake it, if desired. You might take the test first in the spring of sophomore year, again in the fall of junior year, and a third time in the spring of junior year. If you move this schedule forward, just remember that the fall of senior year will be your last opportunity to take the test.

Step 2: Ask for teacher recommendations at the end of junior year, or ask for teacher and counselor recommendations by October 1 at the latest.

Step 3: Make your request for your high school transcript to be sent by October 1. Depending on your school, you might have to fill out a form and pay a small fee.

Step 4: Work on your personal essay and any other essays over the summer and fall.

Step 5: Fill out your application in September and October, making sure to edit for clarity and proofread for errors.

If you're applying Early Decision II, you'll have more available test dates to take the SAT/ACT. You might also send your mid-year senior grades on your transcript. Waiting for this later deadline, if available, can be a good option if you're not totally satisfied with your academic record and test scores and feel you could present a stronger candidacy in January.

Now that you have a sense of the early decision application process, let's look at the deadlines of some popular schools. Some offer Early Decision II, while others don't have that second deadline (these ones say "N/A").

 

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Early Decision Deadlines of Popular Schools

School

Deadline for ED I

Deadline for ED II

American University November 15 January 15
Boston University November 1  January 2
Bowdoin College November 15 January 1
Brandeis University November 1 January 1
Brown University November 1 N/A
Colby College November 15 January 1
Columbia University November 1 N/A
Cornell University November 1 N/A
Dartmouth College November 1 N/A
Duke University November 1 N/A
Emory University November 1 January 1
Johns Hopkins University November 1 N/A
New York University November 1 January 1
Northwestern University November 1 N/A
Pomona College November 1 January 1
Smith College November 15 January 1
Tufts University November 1 January 1
University of Pennsylvania November 1 N/A
Vanderbilt University November 1 January 1
Wesleyan University November 15 January 1

 

It tends to be smaller schools that offer Early Decision II, perhaps so they can have greater control over their enrollment numbers. The next chart is a comprehensive list of all the schools with early decision and their respective deadlines.

 

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Early Decision Deadlines of All Schools

The following schools are listed in alphabetical order, so you can either scroll through the chart or use ctrl + F to jump straight to your school of interest.

School State Early Decision Deadline Early Decision II Deadline Early Decision Notification
Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences NY November 1 N/A December 15
Alfred University NY December 1 N/A December 15
Allegheny College PA November 15 February 1 Not reported
American University DC November 15 January 15 December 31, February 15
Amherst College MA November 1 N/A  December 15
Babson College MA November 1  January 2 December 15, February 15
Barnard College NY November 1 N/A  December 15
Bates College ME November 15 January 1 December 20, February 15
Beloit College WI November 1 N/A  December 1
Bennington College VT November 15 January 15 December 14, February 8
Bentley University MA November 15  N/A December 31
Boston University MA November 1 January 2 December 15, February 15
Bowdoin College ME November 15 January 1 December 15, February 15
Brandeis University MA November 1 January 1 December 15, February 1
Brown University RI November 1 N/A  December 15
Bryant University RI November 1 January 15 December 1, February 15
Bryn Mawr College PA November 15 January 1 Not reported
Bucknell University PA November 15 January 15 December 15, February 15
Carleton College MN November 15 January 15 December 15, February 15
Carnegie Mellon University PA November 1 N/A  December 15
Case Western Reserve University OH November 1 January 15 December 17, February 1
Centre College KY November 15 N/A January 1
Champlain College VT November 15 N/A Not reported
Christopher Newport University VA November 15 N/A  December 15
Claremont McKenna College CA November 1 January 5 December 15, February 15
Clarkson University NY December 1 N/A  January 1
Colby College ME November 15 January 1 December 15, February 15
Colgate University NY November 15 January 15 December 15, Rolling
College of New Rochelle NY November 1 N/A  December 15
College of the Atlantic ME December 1 January 15 December 15, January 30
College of the Holy Cross MA December 15 N/A  Rolling
College of William and Mary VA November 1 January 1  Early December, early February
College of Wooster OH November 1 January 15 November 15, February 1
Colorado College CO November 10 January 15 December 13, February 15
Columbia University NY November 1 N/A  December 15
Connecticut College CT November 15 January 1 December 15, February 15
Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art NY November 1 (architecture), December 3 (engineering) N/A  Not reported
Cornell University NY November 1  N/A December 15
Cox College (Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program) MO June 1  N/A Not reported
Dartmouth College NH November 1 N/A  December 15
Davidson College NC November 15 January 2 December 15, February 1
Denison University OH November 15 January 15 December 15, February 15
DePauw University IN November 15 January 15 December 1, February 1
Dickinson College PA November 15 January 15 December 15, February 15
Drew University NJ November 15 January 15 December 15, February 15
Duke University NC November 1 N/A December 15
Duquesne University PA November 1 N/A Not reported
Earlham College IN November 1 N/A  December 15
Elon University NC November 1 N/A December 1
Emory University GA November 1 January 1 December 15, February 15
Fairfield University CT November 15 January 15 December 15, February 15
Five Towns College NY January 4 N/A  Not reported
Flagler College FL November 1 N/A  December 15
Florida Southern College FL November 1 N/A December 15
Franklin & Marshall College PA November 15 January 15 December 15, February 15
Furman University SC November 1  N/A November 15
George Washington University DC November 1 January 5 December 31, February 28
Gettysburg College PA November 15 January 15 December 15, February 15
Goucher College MD November 15  N/A December 15
Grinnell College IA November 15 January 1 December 15, Early February
Grove City College PA November 1 December 1 December 15, January 15
Hamilton College NY November 15 January 1 December 15, February 15
Hamline University MN November 1 N/A  Not reported
Hampden-Sydney College VA November 15 N/A  Early December
Hampshire College MA November 15 January 1 December 15, February 1
Hartwick College NY November 1 N/A  Not reported
Harvey Mudd College CA November 15 January 5 December 15, February 15
Haverford College PA November 15 January 1  December 15, February 15
High Point University NC November 1 February 1 November 28, Rolling
Hillsdale College MI November 1 N/A Early December
Hobart and William Smith Colleges NY November 15 January 15 December 15, February 15
Hollins University VA November 1 N/A Not reported
Ithaca College NY November 1 N/A  December 15
Johns Hopkins University MD November 1 N/A  December 15
Juniata College PA November 15 N/A December 15
Kalamazoo College MI November 1 February 1 December 1, March 1
Kenyon College OH November 15 January 15 December 15, February 7
Lafayette College PA November 15 January 15 December 15, February 15
Lake Forest College IL November 1 January 15 Beginning December 15
Lawrence University WI October 31 N/A December 1
Lehigh University PA November 1 January 1 December 15, February 15
Lewis & Clark College OR November 1  N/A December 15
Lynchburg College VA November 15  N/A December 15
Macalester College MN November 15 January 1 December 15, February 1
Manhattan College NY November 15  N/A January 1
Marist College NY November 15  February 1 December 15, February 15
Marlboro College VT November 15  N/A December 1
Maryland Institute College of Art MD November 1 N/A December 1
Meredith College NC October 30  N/A November 15
Merrimack College MA November 15 N/A  December 31
Miami University OH November 1  N/A December 1
Middlebury College VT November 1 January 1 December 15, February 15
Moody Bible Institute IL December 1 N/A  January 15
Mount Holyoke College MA November 15 January 1 January 1, February 1
Muhlenberg College PA November 15 February 1 December 15, February 15-28
Nazareth College NY November 15 January 10 December 15, January 25
New York University NY November 1 January 1 December 15, February 15
Northeastern University MA November 1  N/A December 15
Northwestern University IL November 1  N/A December 15
Oberlin College OH November 15 January 2 December 15, February 1
Occidental College CA November 15 January 1 December 15, Early February
Ohio Wesleyan University OH November 15 January 15 November 30, January 30
Pitzer College CA November 15 January 1 December 18, February 15
Pomona College CA November 1 January 1 December 15, February 15
Providence College RI November 15 January 15 January 1, February 15
Quinnipiac University CT November 1  N/A December 15
Ramapo College of New Jersey NJ November 1 N/A  December 5
Reed College OR November 15 December 20 December 15, February 1
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute NY November 1 December 15 December 15, January 15
Rhode Island School of Design RI November 1  N/A December 8-14
Rhodes College TN November 1 January 1 Rolling (within two weeks of submission)
Rice University TX November 1 N/A  December 15
Roanoke College VA November 15  N/A December 15
Rochester Institute of Technology NY November 1 January 1  December 15, January 15
Rollins College FL November 1 January 5 December 14, February 1
Sacred Heart University CT December 1 N/A  December 15
Saint Mary's College IN November 15 N/A  December 15
Salisbury University MD November 15  N/A December 15
Santa Clara University CA November 1  January 7 December 31, February 15
Sarah Lawrence College NY November 1 January 2 December 31, Early February
Scripps College CA November 15 January 4 December 15, February 15
Sewanee: University of the South TN November 15 January 15 December 15, February 15
Siena College NY December 1  N/A Not reported
Skidmore College NY November 15 January 15 December 15, February 15
Smith College MA November 15 January 1 December 15, January 31
Southern Methodist University TX November 1 January 15 December 15, March 1
Spelman College GA November 1 N/A  December 15
Springfield College MA December 1 January 15 Not reported
St. John Fisher College NY December 1 N/A  Rolling
St. Lawrence University NY November 1 February 1 Rolling
St. Mary's College of Maryland MD November 1 N/A December 1
St. Olaf College MN November 15 January 8 December 15, February 1
State University of New York College at Geneseo NY November 15 N/A  December 15
State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry NY December 1 N/A  Rolling
State University of New York Maritime College NY November 1  N/A Not reported
Sterling College VT November 15 N/A  December 1
Stevens Institute of Technology NJ November 15 January 15 December 15, February 15
Stonehill College MA December 1 N/A  December 31
Susquehanna University PA November 15 N/A December 1
Swarthmore College PA November 15 January 1 December 15, February 15
Syracuse University NY November 15  January 1 Beginning December 15, Beginning January 15
Texas Christian University TX November 1  N/A January 1
The College of New Jersey NJ November 1 January 1 December 1, February 1
The Jewish Theological Seminary (List College) NY November 15 January 15 December 15, February 15
Trinity College CT November 15 January 1 December 15, February 15
Trinity University TX November 1 January 1 December 1, February 1
Tufts University MA November 1 January 1 December 15, February 15
Union College NY November 15 January 15 December 15, February 15
University of Miami FL November 1 January 1  December 31, February 15-28
University of Pennsylvania PA November 1  N/A December 15
University of Puget Sound WA November 15 N/A December 15
University of Richmond VA November 1 January 15 December 15, February 15
University of Rochester NY November 1  N/A December 15
University of San Francisco CA November 1 N/A  Beginning December 15
Ursinus College PA December 1 February 1 December 15, February 15
Vanderbilt University TN November 1 January 1 December 15, February 15
Vassar College NY November 15 January 1 Not reported
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University VA November 1  N/A December 15
Wabash College IN November 1 N/A December 5
Wake Forest University NC November 15  January 1 Rolling, February 15
Warren Wilson College NC November 1 N/A  Not reported
Washington & Jefferson College PA January 4 N/A January 15
Washington and Lee University VA November 1 January 1 "Within a few weeks"
Washington College MD November 15 N/A December 15
Washington University in St. Louis MO November 1  January 2 December 15, February 15
Webb Institute NY October 15  N/A December 15
Wellesley College MA November 1 January 1  December 15, February 15
Wells College NY December 15  N/A Not reported
Wesleyan College GA November 15 N/A  Not reported
Wesleyan University CT November 15 January 1 December 15, February 15
Wheaton College IL November 20 January 15 December 3, February 1
Whitman College WA November 15 January 1 December 15, January 31
Willamette University OR November 15  N/A  December 30
Williams College MA November 15 N/A  December 15
Wittenberg University OH November 1 N/A  December 1
Wofford College SC November 1  N/A December 1

 

Early decision can be a great option as it communicates to your school of choice how enthusiastic and committed you are to attending.

If your school offers Early Decision II and you feel you could benefit from a few more months to work on your application, it makes sense to wait for this later deadline. Either way, you'll find out earlier than regular notification if you got into your first-choice school!

 

What's Next?

Want to apply early but aren't sure about signing a binding agreement? This guide has the comprehensive list of all the colleges that offer early action.

Not sure applying early to college is right for you? Then take a look at the the most common college application deadlines to get an idea of what your application timeline could look like.

As you fill out your college applications, you want to think about how to present your high school resume in the best possible light. Read our expert guide for tips on how to write about your extracurricular activities on your college application.

 

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points? We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

Get eBook: 5 Tips for 160+ Points

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Rebecca Safier
About the Author

Rebecca graduated with her Master's in Adolescent Counseling from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has years of teaching and college counseling experience and is passionate about helping students achieve their goals and improve their well-being. She graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University and scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT.



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