Preparing for College

ED I, ED II ... Skidoo

Question: Some of my son's friends are plotting an Early Decision strategy that entails applying to a first-choice college in the Early Decision I round. Then if they are deferred (not even denied outright) they plan to apply to a second-choice college in the ED II round without ever knowing if they might have gotten into their first choice. Is this legal? Ethical? What do you think about it?

This ED I/ED II gambit has been around for a while, and I've seen it in action many times. Frankly, I'm a fan ... at least in some cases. Although conventional wisdom suggests that a student should only apply via a binding Early Decision program when he or she has a clear-cut top-choice college, I actually find that many seniors have several colleges where they're convinced they will be happy and engaged. So ... I don't think it's unreasonable to select one of these schools as the top-choice candidate for the first round of Early Decision but, then, if the news isn't good, to give the second choice a shot in the ED II round, rather than waiting for a final verdict from the #1 school in April.

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