ic S/general/checkmark circled Thanks for subscribing! Be on the lookout for our next newsletter.
ic S/general/checkmark circled Saved to Favorites.
Articles / Applying to College / Can I Apply Early Twice?

Can I Apply Early Twice?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Oct. 12, 2021

Question: I am planning on applying early decision to my first-choice college. I will be notified of my status by December 31st. My second-choice college has an early decision deadline of January 1st. If I do not get accepted by my first-choice college, would it be appropriate for me to apply early decision to my second-choice college?


Yes, this is a "strategy" that students use successfully all the time. The only thing that may be tough for you is this: if you are deferred by your first-choice school and not denied outright in December, you may always wonder if you should have waited for the regular-decision round.

However, if your #2 choice is a close second and you want to get the admission process out of the way as soon as possible (can't blame you there!), you will certainly boost your chances of acceptance to College #2 by applying ED, and thus this seems like a reasonable plan.

By the way, there are some colleges that share lists of admitted early applicants, but if you don't get into your first-choice college, then your second-choice school should have no way of knowing that you applied elsewhere already.

A previous version of this article first appeared in March 2004

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

More on Applying to College

See all
Can I Reapply After Early Decision or Early Action Rejection?

Can I Reapply After Early Decision or Early Action Rejection?

Question: If I apply to a college through Early Decision or Early Action, but I am not accepted, can I apply again through Regula…

UofMaryland_McKeldinMall

Will It Be Another Record-Setting Year For College Applications?

During the 2020-2021 admissions cycle, the rise of test-optional policies in response to the global pandemic resulted in a surge …

emma-dau-n_4iTY1KmDE-unsplash (1)

What is Parents' Role in the College Process?

We took a trip to Boston last week. As educational consultants, part of our job is to travel the country to visit college and boa…

eliott-reyna-iO2d-KYp5JU-unsplash.jpg

Coalition for College: More Than Just Another College Application

You may have heard about the Coalition application when learning about different types of applications that can be used to apply …

Interview-unsplash.jpg

Questions to Ask Your College Interviewer (It Works Both Ways!)

As a college applicant, you may already know the feeling of relief when you hit submit. But wait, you're not done yet! Some …

C1E9D4E7-C4C9-4B28-8946-8F441A6D62B3
Find Your Best Fit

Find your best fit college and track your favorite colleges.

Search Colleges