What Students and Parents Need to Know About the New Coalition College Admission Application
As the class of 2021 prepares for the college admissions season this fall they’ll have an extra college application option to choose from: the Coalition application. There have been a lot of questions about the new competitor to the Common App since its announcement, 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.
While the Common Application has over 600 member colleges, the CAAS has a smaller member number – a little over 90 – and each member college must meet criteria like affordable tuition, need-based aid, and a six-year graduation rate of 70% or higher.
The CAAS application platform 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 Release
The locker portion of the Coalition application launched in May, allowing students to begin navigating the platform and starting uploading materials.
The application itself isn’t expected to launch until later this summer. It remains to be seen if there will be technical set backs, similar to the Common Application problems students experienced when their new application launched in 2013. While the application itself isn’t available yet, students can get a head start on the Coalition-specific essay.
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.
- 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 teenager 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.
Most notably the Coalition essay offers a “topic of choice” prompt, which the Common Application eliminated in 2013.
Colleges Using the 2016-17 Coalition Application
Because of the uncertainly surrounding the new application platform since it won’t be released until the start of the next admissions cycle, there has been a lot of speculation over whether or not all member colleges would use the application this fall. It has been confirmed that not all member colleges will use the application when it opens this fall.
Here’s a list of the colleges that will use the Coalition application for the 2016-17 admissions season:
- American University
- Amherst College
- Bowdoin College
- Bryn Mawr College
- Carleton College
- Claremont McKenna College
- Clemson University
- Colby College
- Colgate University
- College of the Holy Cross
- College of William & Mary
- Columbia University
- Connecticut College
- Davidson College
- Denison University
- Duke University
- Emory University
- Hamilton College
- Harvard University
- Indiana University – Bloomington
- Johns Hopkins University
- North Carolina State University at Raleigh
- Northeastern University
- Northwestern University
- Ohio State University
- Pennsylvania State University
- Pomona College
- Purdue University
- Reed College
- Rice University
- Rutgers University – New Brunswick
- St Olaf College
- Stanford University
- State University of New York – Binghamton University
- State University of New York – University at Buffalo
- State University of New York – College at Geneseo
- Swarthmore College
- Texas A&M University
- Tufts University
- Union College
- University of Chicago
- University of Connecticut
- University of Florida
- University of Iowa
- University of Maryland – College Park
- University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
- University of Notre Dame
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of Pittsburgh
- University of Rochester
- University of South Carolina
- University of Virginia
- University of Washington
- Vanderbilt University
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
- Wake Forest University
- Washington University in St. Louis
- Williams College
- Yale University
Most notably the Ivy League institutions not using the Coalition application this fall are Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, and Princeton.
Coalition Exclusive Colleges
While most Coalition member colleges will still utilize the Common Application or their own application platform in addition to the Coalition application, a few colleges have stated they will be “Coalition-exclusive,” meaning they will only utilize the Coalition application for admissions.
Colleges accepting only the Coalition application are:
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 applying to the class of 2021 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.
We’re advising students to stick with the Common Application, as there are too many unknowns with the Coalition application. Students utilizing the Common Application can make accounts now that will roll over when the new application officially launches Aug. 1, allowing students plenty of time to become familiar with the platform and how it works, and even get a head start on filling out their applications. Since the Coalition application has yet to launch and students and counselors haven’t even seen any of the functionality, students won’t have time to properly educate themselves on the platform before the start of the college admissions season.
We also want students to avoid any technical difficulties that may be associated with a new platform launch. Since this is the first year it’s being used, and it has yet to launch or be tested by students and counselors, there’s a very high chance that some bugs will need to be worked out. We want students to avoid problems like lost materials, incomplete applications, and other technical glitches that they may encounter that might negatively affect the college application process.
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!