Coalition Application Guide

By IvyWise on Saturday, August 1, 2020

coalition application guideWhat Students and Parents Need to Know About the Coalition College Admission Application

College-bound students have an additional college application option when applying to college this fall: the Coalition application. There have been a lot of questions about the competitor to the Common App, and we’re here to help with a comprehensive guide to the Coalition college application including what it is, what it includes, and whether or not to use it to apply to college this fall.

What is the Coalition Application?

In September of 2015 it was announced that over 80 colleges, including all the Ivy Leagues and Stanford, would be forming the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success (CAAS) in an effort to “increase college access and revamp the way that students apply to college.” Rumors that elite colleges were searching for a Common App alternative had been swirling for a while, and the announcement of the CAAS was the culmination of many months of speculation.

In reality, the Coalition application is much like the Common App in that it’s a central college application where students can submit one main application to a number of different colleges that utilize the platform. Colleges can also create school-specific supplements, that ask for materials, essays, and more outside of the main Coalition app.

The Coalition application platform also has a number of tools, including the locker, where students can store essays, projects, and other materials for review by counselors and admissions officers, the application itself, and resources for students who may have limited access to college prep materials and guidance.

Coalition Application Essay Prompts

Similar to the Common Application, the Coalition app will have a main essay and member colleges will have the option to add additional, school-specific essay prompts.

Here are the current Coalition application essay prompts:

  • 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.

Here are the current Common Application essay prompts for comparison.

Colleges Using Coalition Application

While the Common Application has over 900 member colleges, the Coalition app has a smaller member number – a little less than 200 – and each member college must meet criteria like affordable tuition, need-based aid, and a six-year graduation rate of 70% or higher.

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.

Coalition Exclusive Colleges

While most Coalition member colleges still utilize the Common Application or their own application platform in addition to the Coalition application, a few colleges initially stated they will be “Coalition-exclusive,” meaning they will only utilize the Coalition application for admissions. That list has since dwindled down to one: University of Washington-Seattle.

Coalition Application Release

The Coalition app was released for the 2016-17 application cycle, and has gone through several adjustments since then.

Common App vs. Coalition App: Which Should You Use?

Since many of the colleges using the Coalition application are also still using the Common Application, students might be confused as to which application colleges will “prefer.” Just like with the SAT and ACT, there’s no one platform that colleges will prefer over the other. Don’t think that using the Coalition application and not the Common Application will give you an admissions advantage and vice versa. At IvyWise, we recommend that students utilize the Common App as it’s the platform accepted by over 900 colleges and universities.

Staying informed on the latest college admissions news and trends is important when applying to college, and it’s even more important than ever with a new college application option entering the market. Do your research before deciding on which college admissions application to use!

Related Topics
Coalition Application, College Application Tips
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