new coalition application

The New Coalition Application – What You Need to Know

Mari DeCristo College Application

The new Coalition Application is the latest addition to the college application club. It lets you complete one application, but send it to multiple colleges. It joins the Common App and the lesser known Universal College Application.

In this post

In this post I’ll answer common questions about the Coalition Application:

• What is the Coalition?
• What is the new Coalition Application?
• Which colleges use it?
• How can you use the Coalition Application to your advantage?
• Coalition Application vs. Common Application – Which is better?

What is the Coalition?

The Coalition is really the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success. It was formed when a group of colleges came together with a common goal to help students with the college application process.

The formation of the group was motivated a few years ago when a technical glitch with a new version of the Common App caused all kinds of grief for both admissions offices and students. Those problems caused colleges to rethink their role—or, rather, their lack of a role—in the application process.

They realized they didn’t own the process. That meant they couldn’t prevent or handle any problems, and they couldn’t make any changes or improvements.

They solved those problems by creating their own online application, the Coalition Application, and an electronic platform with tools to help students with their applications. There are two online tools for students: the Locker and the Collaboration Space.

What is the New Coalition Application?

The Coalition Application is very similar to the Common App in format, requirements, and submission process. You can use the Coalition Application if you’re applying to a college that’s a member of the Coalition. The format and process are very similar to those of the Common App.

To complete the application, you create an account on the Coalition website, enter your information, answer essay prompts, and submit it. Individual colleges may also have their own supplemental questions for you to answer.

Which Colleges Use the Coalition Application?

So far, more than 90 schools have joined the Coalition. About two-thirds of them will use the Coalition’s new application this year, while the remaining member colleges will begin using it next year.

Coalition Application Colleges


American University
Amherst College
Bates College
Bowdoin College
Brown University
Bryn Mawr College
California Institute of Technology
Carleton College
Claremont McKenna College
Clemson University
Colby College
Colgate University
College of the Holy Cross
The College of New Jersey
College of William & Mary
Colorado College
Columbia University
Connecticut College
Cornell University
Dartmouth College
Davidson College
Denison University
Duke University
Emory University
Florida State University
Franklin and Marshall College
Franklin W. Olin
College of Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology
Grinnell College
Hamilton College
Harvard University
Haverford College
Illinois State University
Indiana University-Bloomington
James Madison University
Johns Hopkins University
Miami University-Ohio
Michigan State University
Middlebury College
Mount Holyoke College
North Carolina State
University at Raleigh
Northeastern University
Northwestern University
Oberlin College
Ohio State University
Pennsylvania State University
Pomona College
Princeton University
Purdue University
Ramapo College
Reed College
Rice University
Rutgers University-New Brunswick
Skidmore College
Smith College
St. Olaf College
Stanford University
State University of New York-College at Geneseo
State University of New York-University of Binghamton
State University of New York-University at Buffalo
Swarthmore College
Texas A&M University
The College of New Jersey
Tufts University
Union College
University of Chicago
University of Connecticut
University of Florida
University of Georgia-Athens
University of Illinois-Urbana
University of Iowa
University of Maryland-College Park
University of Mary Washington
University of Michigan
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
University of Missouri
University of New Hampshire
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Notre Dame
University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pittsburgh
University of Richmond
The University of Rochester
University of South Carolina
University of Vermont
University of Virginia
University of Washington
Vanderbilt University
Vassar College
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Wake Forest University
Washington University in St. Louis
Wellesley College
Wesleyan University
Williams College
Yale University

If I’m applying to a Coalition School, do I have to use the Coalition App?

No. Most Coalition colleges also use the Common App, and will accept either application. Coalition schools that use the Universal College Application will accept that also.

Is there an advantage to using the new Coalition Application?

No and yes.

There’s no direct advantage to using the Coalition Application over the Common App if you’re applying to a Coalition school. However, the two applications have different essay prompts, so you now have twice the number of essay prompts from which to choose.

It’s more likely you’ll find a prompt that is better for you to answer, and that can be an advantage. You can select your application based on the essay prompt that’s best for you.

Don’t underestimate the importance of your essay. Colleges use essays to get to know you on a personal level, and any admissions officer can tell you how important they are to the admissions process.

An advantage the Coalition platform has over the Common App is that it offers two tools to help with your application: the Coalition Locker and Collaboration Space.

The Coalition Locker and Collaboration Space

The Coalition Locker and Collaboration Space help you organize and manage materials for your application.

The Coalition Locker is a private, secure online space where you can upload items important to your application, including documents, letters, videos, audio files, and images. Colleges DO NOT have access to your Locker. In fact, no one can see what’s in your Locker unless you give him or her permission.

And there are times when you may want to do that. For example, let’s say you want a teacher to read your essay and give you feedback. If your essay is in your Locker, you can easily share it with your teacher by selecting it and emailing it to them.

The email gives your teacher permission to connect to the essay in your Collaboration Space, where they can make comments and give you feedback. They can’t, however, make any changes.

Another advantage to using the Coalition platform is that you can attach items in your Locker directly to your Coalition Application. Some Coalition colleges let you attach videos, artwork, and other “unconventional” (their words) items as part of your application.

coalition application vs common app

New Coalition Application vs. Common Application – Which is better?

If you download and print both the Coalition Application and the Common App, the only real difference you’ll see is in the essay prompts. The completion and submission process are basically the same. The better application is the one with the essay prompt that, by answering it, will help colleges get to know the real you.

Two things the Coalition platform has that the Common App doesn’t are the Locker and Collaboration Space. Having those tools on the same website where you complete and submit your application is a plus.

If I’m applying to a Coalition School, do I have to use the Coalition App?

No. You can use any application accepted by the college. You can find out which applications a college accepts on its website.

As a side note, most Coalition colleges also accept the Common App.

Is there an advantage to using the Coalition Application if I’m applying to a Coalition school?

No. In fact, the Coalition makes that point right on its website. Remember, the purpose of an application is for colleges to get to know you, and they’re happy with whatever application does that the best.

The Future

Considering that this is only the first year of the Coalition and the Coalition Application, the fact that more than 90 colleges signed up is impressive. It would not surprise me to see more colleges join in the future.

The key here is that colleges are now in control and can grow and expand the platform to serve their needs and purposes.

You can find more information about the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success on its website at


The new Coalition Application is another application available to you if you’re applying to one of the more than 90 Coalition colleges.

In addition to all the benefits of applying online, you get a platform with two tools, the Coalition Locker and Collaboration Space, to help organize and manage your college materials.

If you have the option of using the Coalition Application or the Common App, take a close look at the essay questions and choose the one in which your response will best communicate the real you to a college admissions officer.