Early Decision Notification Dates: College Admissions Announcements

Understanding Early Decision:

Early Decision (ED) is a college application choice that allows students to apply to their preferred school early in their senior year, typically by November 1st. While this may sound like a no-brainer for eager applicants, there’s a catch: it’s binding. If accepted, students must commit to attending that particular college and withdraw any other college applications. This commitment is a significant decision that requires careful consideration, as it can influence the trajectory of one’s academic career.

Just Tell Me the College ED Notification Dates!

Ok, I get it — here are the top 20 schools’ Early Admissions (ED) notification dates — in other words, when you can expect to hear back from the schools if you applied by Nov 1.  These dates are never written in stone though, as college admissions is fluid and not an exact science.  You will hear something however, and USUALLY by these dates, but don’t assume if you heard nothing that you have been rejected — they will always tell you one way or the other if you have been rejected, deferred, or accepted!

  1. Harvard University: December 12
  2. Stanford University: December 15
  3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): December 17
  4. Yale University: December 18
  5. Princeton University: December 20
  6. Columbia University: December 22
  7. University of Chicago: December 15
  8. Brown University: December 15
  9. Dartmouth College: December 12
  10. University of Pennsylvania: December 15
  11. Duke University: December 15
  12. California Institute of Technology (Caltech): December 15
  13. Northwestern University: December 15
  14. Johns Hopkins University: December 11
  15. Cornell University: December 8
  16. Rice University: December 12
  17. Vanderbilt University: December 15
  18. University of Notre Dame: December 14
  19. Washington University in St. Louis: December 15
  20. Emory University: December 15

The Rollercoaster of Emotions:

And, yes, it’s stressful!  The anticipation leading up to early decision notifications can be an emotional rollercoaster for college applicants.

The Rest of Your College Admissions Applications:

One of the key advantages of the early decision notification list though is the ability to strategically plan the rest of your submissions. By knowing the notification dates for various colleges, you can create a timeline that aligns with your preferences and priorities. This strategic planning involves carefully selecting which institutions to apply to through early decision and ensuring that all materials are submitted well before the deadline.

Impact on Subsequent Applications:

For those who apply to colleges through the early decision process, it’s important to recognize the impact on subsequent applications. If accepted, students are committed to attending that institution and must withdraw any pending applications to other colleges. This decision significantly influences the overall college admissions strategy, as it limits future options. Therefore, applicants must weigh the pros and cons of early decision carefully.


In the whirlwind of college applications, understanding the early decision timeline is a crucial element for prospective students. Insights into early decision notification dates from the list above provides a valuable resource for navigating this process, shedding light on the broader landscape and helping applicants make informed decisions about where to go to school.

Need more help with your college applications? I’m a former Harvard interviewer and Harvard grad and have been running my award-winning college admissions consulting firm, Ivy League Essay for the last 15 years.

Contact me today for a free consultation and get into the school of your dreams!


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