The Coalition Application

The Coalition Application is the newest option in the college application process, having been created in 2016, as their site states, 'by a group of dedicated college leaders aiming to improve the college application process, particularly for those students from historically under-represented groups.' It stresses diversity, equality and is attempting to level the playing field.

Its members are a diverse group of 140 colleges that share the same criteria of affordable tuition, need-based aid, and a 6 yr graduation rate of 70% or higher. The Coalition Application members pride themselves in providing generous financial aid and cost-effective in-state tuition which allows students to graduate with minimal debt. 

So how does the Coalition App differ from the Common App?

The primary difference is that the Coalition Application is geared towards helping first-generation, lower-resourced and under represented students that tend to come predominately from low-income minority households, realize their dreams of going to college by proving substantial support in the form of financial aid, scholarships, etc. Students are encouraged to begin thinking about college as early as freshman year in high school, storing writing samples and other items that illustrate their passions in a digital 'locker.'

Here are some other differences ...

• The Coalition App, while still relatively new, has 140 member colleges vs the over 800 of the Common App with all Ivy League colleges accepting both of these application platforms. Each platforms has new members join every year. 

• The Coalition Application is a simpler application to complete compared to the Common App. in our opinion. Much of the same information is required, but the Coalition App asks students to self-report their classes and grades for 9th - 12th grades. That is optional on the Common App that was, at its inception, created to simplify the application process by having students fill out only one application.

• Essay prompts - The Coalition App has five essay prompts with a 500-550 word count limit compared to the Common App's seven prompts with a 650 word count limit. Some students will relish the lower word count - don't let it fool you into thinking that's easier - while others will have trouble telling their story well in so few words. Supplemental essays and additional information are college specific.

• Both platforms are free to use, do not offer an advantage over the other, require application fees for submitting, but accept fee waivers from eligible students. Not to be overlooked, the Common App having been in use for almost 20 yrs, has had chance work out the technical bugs that the Coalition App has fallen prey to due to its short existence. 

So which is best?

It really depends on the colleges that make the cut to the final college list. At the moment only three schools accept only the Coalition App: the University of Maryland, University of Florida and University of Washington. Some large state schools that used to accept only their own online application, like Rutgers University, have begun accepting the Coalition App.  Other colleges still accept only their own application and one of these two platforms, others do exactly the reverse. One thing is for sure, College Apps Made Easy does not recommend students filling out both. Students should do their due diligence before staring to fill out anything.