What is the Coalition Application?

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.

History of 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. The Coalition Application was first released for the 2016-2017 application cycle and has gone through several adjustments since then. Since then the number of member colleges has expanded, however, most member institutions that use the Coalition application also use the Common Application.

Coalition Application Essay Prompts

Similar to the Common Application, the Coalition Application includes both the main essay as well as additional, school-specific writing prompts which institutions can choose to add.

·  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.


Colleges Using the 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.

Over recent years, the Coalition Application’s member schools have changed significantly. Back in 2019, several colleges that were previously affiliated with the Coalition App chose to drop it for the upcoming cycle, including Dartmouth College and the University of Virginia. While neither of these schools has renewed their affiliation with the application process, several new additions were added during the same year, including Barnard College and Lehigh University. More recently, the Coalition Application announced the addition of 18 new members for the 2020-2021 academic year, including Hobart and William Smith Colleges and Loyola University Chicago.

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.

Which Should You Use?

Whether you choose the Coalition Application or the Common Application, it’s important to start your applications early so that you can avoid the stress that comes with working down to the wire. At LF Educational Consulting, we recommend that students begin their applications during the summer before their senior year so that they can feel confident and prepared throughout. If you’re interested in getting a jump start on your applications, We can guide you through every step of the process.