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The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and CoalitionSuccess is a new collective of US colleges and universities that has formed to create a new college admissions application portal–similar to the Common Application–known as the Coalition Application.

In this three-part post about the Coalition and Coalition App, we will reveal:

What is the Coalition Application?

The Coalition Application was initially, yet partially, launched in April 2016 with periodic updates occurring throughout the summer. This online application portal functions similarly to the Common Application in that applicants can prepare multiple applications for different schools all at once. The application platform allows for the applicant to fill out general sections of the application (demographic information, essay, etc.) once but share them with all the schools to which the applicant has chosen to apply.

There are new, different, and additional features that the Coalition App will have for the college admissions search and application processes, but also resources that high school students can simply use in their day-to-day school lives. Below are some features of note plus a video overview of the Coalition platform:

♦ Coalition App Overview


♦ Coalition Locker

The Locker is a private online space with unlimited storage for students to save all sorts of electronic content they would like to keep. From papers to pictures, music to class projects, students have access to a locker as early as the start of freshman year of high school. Materials aren’t limited to college application materials and can represent coursework, scholarship materials, extracurricular achievements, research, or simply items the student is proud of.


♦ Coalition Collaboration Space

The Collaboration Space allows students to invite counselors, teachers, advisors, parents, siblings, mentors, or anyone, for that matter, to view content they have saved in their lockers. From there, these collaborators can provide feedback to the student about that content but cannot edit or alter it. (For example, a student could share his/her college essay with a college counselor or English teacher or an art portfolio with an art teacher or family friend.)


♦ Coalition Application Essay Prompts

Although these prompts are different from those of the Common Application or UC Application, one of the prompts is a topic of your choice. Applicants can still use an essay written for another application, but the Coalition strongly recommends that the essays are shorter in length (no more than 500-550 words) compared to the 650 word-limit of the Common Application essay maximum.


♦ Guidance Resources

At the bottom of each application webpage, students can click on a link to access pages and pages of content ranging from topics in Selective College Admissions, Financial Aid, Guidance by Year (for each year of high school), Athletics, etc.


♦ Coalition Application Demonstration

For a full demonstration, watch the Coalition Application platform demo.

How has news of this new application portal been received?

New technologies often breed new fears and anxieties. Many articles have been written questioning why these top tier colleges and universities need another “common” application for college admissions and how it is further complicating and stressing out everyone involved. The Coalition’s goal of supporting those who lack certain counseling and technological resources is noble but many feel the resources they have created may not even be available to the students they are trying to help! (Think of the many students who simply have no access to a computer in their daily lives.) Further, it has created a major anxiety of whether using the Coalition App is an advantage or disadvantage to an applicant. (“Should I apply with the Coalition App so I can submit a performance video that won’t be accepted via Common App?!”) The biggest concern stems from the fact that there are dozens of Coalition member schools who aren’t even accepting applications through the Coalition platform this year! (“If they won’t use it, why should I?!”)

Nevertheless, we should consider the Coalition and its application as a work in progress. Through correspondence and presentations at conferences, we are reminded that this new application is meant to provide an additional avenue for students to apply to college while also providing tools for those students to be more successful while in high school. Just like any other college application platform, colleges are most concerned with learning about the person represented in the application to determine if that student would be a good fit for their community; their goal is not to over-complicate the admission process by creating a market of applications from which to choose. The one definite truth to all of this is that we won’t know how helpful the Coalition’s tools are or how successful their application can be until we use it.

To understand if you need to use the new Coalition Application, continue on to Part III of this three-part post on the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success. . .


    1. No, because they wanted an additional avenue to apply to college. Most Coalition schools accept both the Coalition and Common Apps, so they are trying to provide additional resources for someone who can’t or may not want to use another application like the Common App.


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