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What is the Coalition Application?

Last fall the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success launched a new college application platform to rival the well-known Common Application. Schools involved with the Coalition must have at least a 60% graduation rate over the last six years, thus representing student success within their programs. Each school is committed to providing accessibility to lower-income students; public schools will show this by offering low-cost in-state tuition to residents of their state, while private universities will meet the full demonstrated need of students. The Coalition believes is giving students who do not attend well-funded high schools the opportunity to have additional guidance and encouragement. Starting in 9th grade, students can begin building a portfolio in the online “locker” provided by the Coalition platform. This unlimited space is meant to be used for anything the student wants: videos, essays, projects, awards, extracurricular activity highlights, artwork, etc. The idea is that students can have a space of personal accomplishments that could feasibly help guide them to a matching university or program. It also serves as a way for the student to look back and see what subjects they enjoyed and accomplishments they made throughout high school. The locker’s content will only be accessible to the student and whomever the student wishes to share it with.

Currently 113 member schools will accept the Coalition application.  You can view member schools at  If the colleges to which you intend to apply accept the Coalition application here is what you need to know:

  1. Using the Coalition Application involves first creating a free account. Once you’ve done         this, you can:


a.  Start using your locker. The Coalition’s locker is a place where you can upload digital             “things” (pictures, video, documents) that you may need for your college application.                The idea is to get students started as early as ninth grade on building their résumé for            college.

     b. Collaborate with mentors using your locker. The things you post in your locker can be             shared with coaches, counselors, and other mentors. These mentors can comment on            it (like on social media) and provide feedback.

      c. Fill out and submit your application. This is intended to be the final step of the process. If you’ve created a locker and put items in it, you can use those items in your           application. But you don’t necessarily have to create a locker, or use it if you’ve created it.

  2.  If a school accepts both the Common Application and Coalition Application, they will not         prefer on over the other.

   3. For now, the Coalition Application IS NOT integrated with the tools many school                      counselors use to send letters of recommendation and transcripts to colleges, like                   Naviance. That means counselors will have to use email and other tools to upload                 transcripts and letters of recommendation. Be certain that your high school counselor is         comfortable using the Coalition Application and understands what needs to be done.

   4. The Coalition has its own list of essay prompts that are different than the Common                   Application prompts. These are the same for the 2017-18 application year as they were for the previous year. If you’re a student using both applications this could mean more work. In theory, at least, the last prompt (“Submit an essay on a topic of your choice”) means you could use your Common Application essay for the Coalition Application. But the Common Application has a 650-word limit for an essay (and many counselors would tell you should get close to that number), whereas the Coalition suggests an essay of between 300 and 550 words. That means significant editing and revision.

Determining which application to use will rely in large part on the schools to which you are applying and what applications they accept. We advise our students to use the application that will best capture their accomplishments and streamline the application process.

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