Deferred ED1... should I join the ED2 decision pool?

Pretty much the title.

White kid, middle class, attends an “elite” private school in PA.

Double legacy, 1520 SAT (720 math 800 rw), very strong essays but likely mediocre (by UChicago standards) letters of recommendation. Did not submit a video profile yet, which I’ll do regardless of if I enter the RD or ED2 pool.

Extracurriculars: Intern at psychiatric hospital, student body president, barista @ Starbucks, NSLI-Y semifinalist, XC state champ, tutoring, a few other things. Completed a college introductory economics course with an “A” grade, currently taking college senior-level courses at a T50 university in history/international relations.

I’m interested in international relations, Middle Eastern studies, the causes of radicalization, non-state actors in politics, terrorism, the effects of civil conflict on world markets, etc. Basically, globalization and its consequences.

My main question is that if I was rejected ED1 (binding) how would applying ED2 show any more dedication to UChicago than I already have? Plus, I also like Vandy and I’m considering ED2ing there. ED2ing UChicago when they’ve passed once on me runs a big risk of “wasting” that ED2.

But despite all that, UChicago is my dream school. I love its prioritization of academia and the pursuit of knowledge over all. Their Middle Eastern Studies and IR (via Poly Sci) professors are world-class: Mearshimer, Pope, etc. I don’t love the idea of a Chicago winter, but I’d be willing to stick it out!

Thoughts? I think you all can tell I want to ED2 UChicago, but is it the right choice? Should I “burn the boats” or “hedge my bets?”

I’m not an expert but being deferred ED1 means they want to review your application with the rest of the RD applications, not the ED2 application. UChicago isn’t worried about how much interest you show because they know many of the people they admit no matter what deadline its from will choose UChicago in the end. It’s very likely that if you apply ED2 they will just toss your application out. If you apply ED2 to Vandy and you get in but are still in love with Chicago then you’ve essentially sent yourself to a school you don’t want to go to. Its a big decision but at the end of the day I would say do not switch your application to ED 2 at Chicago if you’ve been deffered ED 1. If you were flat out rejected then you will not get in again. They will toss your application as soon as they see it since the same person will be reviewing it again. In that case, then you could ED 2 to Vandy.

None of this is true. UChicago EDI deferrals are allowed to move their app into the ED2 pool. UChicago is not going to “just toss out” any applications, ever.

OP, it is a difficult decision. You are operating without perfect knowledge (why your app was deferred) so have to make the best choice with imperfect information. Normally I would tell you to have your HS GC reach out to admissions and get info about your app/deferral, but because Vandy’s ED2 deadline is Jan 1, that won’t work (another reason Jan 1 deadlines are ridiculous, but that’s a whole other thread).

Does your HS have a good track record of getting students into Chicago? Vandy? You also have missed Vandy’s deadline for merit scholarships (Dec 1)…is that an issue at all?

If you will always wonder ‘what if?’ with regard to rolling your Chicago app into ED2, then I encourage you to do that and not look back.

Good luck.


Thank you so much. I’ll answer a few of the questions you posed.

First, I might join the RD pool for both schools and call to switch into ED2 later (the deadline for that for both Vandy and UChicago is around February 1st).

My HS has gotten a couple students into UChicago every year for the past 5-10 years. This includes quite a few off deferral, according to Naviance. However, they probably were deferred EA and rejoined ED2. For Vandy, not many kids apply there from my school. Missing Vandy’s merit deadline is not a problem for me.

I completely agree with your last statement. I just wonder if it’s not a rational decision. I’m double legacy w/ good stats who applied ED1. If UChicago passed on me then (I know it’s not personal, but still) why would I be given admission now? I’ve told them there’s no place I’d rather go.

It will all come down the the strength of the ED2 pool. My impression is that they don’t defer many ED1’s - it’s usually a straight up or down vote - so they probably are still very interested in your app. Top first-term grades in those college-level courses might help move things your way. But if the ED2 pool is just as strong as ED1 then that could hurt your chances. It’s a quandary, especially as you mention potentially mediocre LOR’s which would be concerning for either institution.

Is Vandy a strong #2? Would you be thrilled to be admitted? If so, then do your ED2 there. If it’s a good choice that you’d be happy about in regular round, then do your ED2 at UChicago. BTW, Vandy does have a connection to UChicago via Dan Diermeier (who is also a political scientist but perhaps not in your potential area of interest).

My gut says “move on” unless something about your application has significantly changed. But good arguments can be made for either decision. A lot depends on how excited you are about Vandy. You might check out ED2 threads from prior years to get a sense of how many ED1-deferreds they actually admitted in ED2. I know there were several in the Class of '23 ED2 pool and IIRC it might have been the first year we heard that they allowed ED1’s to switch.

Vandy ED2 is just as difficult as Chicago and from what you list as your interests, I’m not sure Vandy would be a good fit. Make the video. Mention Mearshimer and Pope and your passion for the school. GL.

Haha, good catch. Vandy doesn’t have Middle Eastern studies, but I have a strong secondary interest in Asian financial markets.

Also considering ED2ing Claremont McKenna instead (already applied by Merit deadline) but California is a logistical nightmare, haha.

Good point in that first paragraph. I got an “A” in college economics first semester, but couldn’t submit the transcript in time. Additionally, I informed UChicago about NSLI-Y very late, so I’m not sure that made it into my application. I’m also not sure that my LORs are mediocre, per se - I can imagine my teachers saying “favorite student” or “best in his class/past few years,” but not necessarily “best I can remember.”

I would be excited to get into Vandy (or CMC, which I am also considering using my ED2 on). However, I think I can safely say getting into UChicago, as far as the best days of my life so far go, would rank above winning states and just behind being born.

I’m going to have my college counselor reach out to UChicago - I imagine it would be appropriate for him to ask if I was a courtesy deferral or if I should continue to be interested.

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I think this is a good plan. Then you buy yourself time to have your GC reach out to UChicago in the first week of January to ask about your app, what proportion of students were deferred from EDI, and other good stuff. I agree with the poster who surmised that Vandy ED2 probably isn’t any easier to get into than UChicago ED2.

Make sure you are applying to some a handful of target schools and also have at least one affordable safety.

Good luck.

Surprised to hear about this. With your profile as a 1500+ double legacy ED1, I would have predicted an acceptance. Over the last few years Chicago has been looking for legacy candidates. Not sure what went wrong here.

Best bet is to have your guidance counselor reach out and find out. It may have been a simple misunderstanding. I wouldn’t apply to Vandy unless you find out.

Last year we knew of a few legacies who were rejected in the ED rounds. Legacy does, indeed, have an advantage in that the applicant is pretty knowledgable about the history, traditions and culture of UChicago. They can make a nice addition to the community. My guess is that this shows up in their essays or some other part of the application other than checking the box for “legacy.”

As to OP’s excellent application complete with ED agreement and very likely sound knowledge of and familiarity with UChicago, I confess to being perplexed as well, but then I was fairly perplexed last year too. There is just a large random element to this process.

That’s the plan.

To answer JB: my essays, in my opinion, were very solid. My “Why UChicago?” was about how globalization’s effects in the Middle East require a complex education (the Core, life of the mind, etc.) and the importance of classic theory in explaining current events. My Uncommon Essay was honestly one of my stronger pieces of writing ever: it took the form of a play, parodying a Shakespeare play (not to be too specific). My school’s drama teacher recommended I submit it to Scholastic.

In the end, who knows. There’s a lot of really fantastic schools out there :slight_smile:

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To confirm, you were deferred (post title), not rejected (post body) from UChicago, right? If you were rejected, you aren’t eligible to apply again to UChicago this year.

As someone in a similar situation last year (deferred ED, considering applying ED2 to Vanderbilt), the one advantage about Vanderbilt’s ED program (1 and 2) is that, according to their Undergraduate Catalog, they defer few applicants and prefer making accept vs. rejection decisions rather than stringing students along.

UChicago doesn’t defer ED2 students, it only waitlists them.

Apply ED2 to Vanderbilt if you can afford it and wouldn’t regret not waiting for UChicago. If you still love UChicago more, IMO apply ED2 to UChicago, if nothing else but to give yourself the peace of mind that you tried everything you could (this is why I waited for RD results, instead of applying ED2.) Good luck!

Yup, deferred ED1. It’s not a common situation, so that’s why I asked here.

Thank you for the advice - your last point about “peace of mind” is something I’ve been thinking about a lot.

Update: with counselor’s encouragement, joined the ED2 decision pool and sent in an LOCI. Will be submitting video profile and writing sample soon.

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Good luck OP and keep us posted. Be sure to send your college transcript!