2020-21 Coalition App Guide

By IvyWise on Thursday, July 23, 2020

Learn About the Coalition App for the 2020-2021 Admissions Cycle

While the Common App is certainly the most popular college application process, some students may also wish to keep the Coalition application on their radar. More than 150 colleges and universities use this Common App alternative, which launched five years ago with the mission to help make college a reality for all high school students. 

Although there is a lot of overlap between the Coalition app and the Common App, there are also some distinct differences. Keep reading for a comprehensive breakdown of this application process as well as tips for students who are considering applying via the Coalition app. 

Coalition App Essay

Much like the Common App, the Coalition app includes a main essay which is a required application component at many colleges. Students can choose between 5 different essay prompts, which have not changed since the previous year. The essay questions are as follows:

  • Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.
  • Describe a time when you made a meaningful contribution to others in which the greater good was your focus. Discuss the challenges and rewards of making your contribution.
  • Has there been a time when you’ve had a long-cherished or accepted belief challenged? How did you respond? How did the challenge affect your beliefs?
  • What is the hardest part of being a student now? What’s the best part? What advice would you give a younger sibling or friend (assuming they would listen to you)?
  • Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.

Member Colleges

Last year, several colleges that were previously affiliated with Coalition app chose to drop it for the 2019-2020 application cycle, including Dartmouth College and the University of Virginia. While neither of these schools renewed their affiliation with the application process, several new additions have been added over the past year, including Barnard College and Lehigh University. 

For a full list of Coalition member colleges, click here.

Which Should You Choose?

Given the similarities between the Common App and the Coalition app, many students may wonder which they should utilize when applying to college. While colleges don’t “prefer” one over the other, students don’t want to be doing double work if they don’t have to. At IvyWise, we recommend that students utilize the Common App as it’s the platform accepted by over 900 colleges and universities. 

Since more colleges and universities utilize the Common App, it’s more likely that you’ll need to use that application to apply to at least some of the schools on your best-fit list. In contrast, there are only a handful of institutions that only accept the Coalition app. However, if one of the schools on your list falls into this small group of colleges, you will need to fill out the Coalition app as well in order to apply. 

Some students may choose to apply to colleges through both the Common App and the Coalition app, depending on the schools on their best-fit list. While there’s nothing wrong with this, you don’t want to spend too much time splitting your efforts between the two platforms. At the end of the day, we recommend that students use the Common App, switching over to the Coalition app only when absolutely necessary.

Although college applications may initially seem like a daunting process, the best way to overcome admissions-related anxiety is by learning as much as possible and preparing in advance. If you are currently getting ready to apply to colleges and universities and searching for personalized guidance, our team of admissions experts can help you feel confident throughout the process.

Related Topics
11th Grade, 12th Grade, Coalition Application