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Get to Know the Coalition Application

Want to apply to financially friendly colleges committed to student success? Consider using the Coalition App.

Like its competitors the Common Application and the Universal College Application, the Coalition Application, launched in 2016, lets you apply to multiple colleges through a centralized online hub. It has many of the same features you'll find on other application services: you can build your college list, coordinate recommendation letters and other requirements, and keep track of all the moving pieces of your college applications in one place.

What's Different About the Coalition App?

Colleges must meet specific criteria. The Coalition Application was created by a nonprofit organization, The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success. Member colleges must show they are committed to providing affordable tuition, need-based financial aid, and support for low-income and under-represented students. Some of the qualifications include:

  • Having a six-year graduation rate of 60 percent or higher
  • Graduating students with low-to-no debt and low loan default rates
  • Serving student populations containing more than 10 percent under-represented or low-income students
  • Showing a history of meeting students' full demonstrated financial need or offering low-cost, in-state tuition

The Coalition App helps you plan early for college. You can begin using the Coalition App as early as ninth grade. You'll get a private "locker" where you can collect and save your personal and academic achievements throughout high school—things like letters of commendation, graded assignments, artwork and videos—anything that will help tell your personal story and demonstrate your readiness for college.

The application also features a "collaboration space" where you can share college lists and essay topics with counselors, parents, or mentors.

Some of the essay prompts are unique. Here are the Coalition's essay prompts for the 2018–2019 academic year.

  • 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 is 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.

The application doesn't enforce a strict word limit, but the Coalition suggests that you keep your essays to around 550 words.

Who belongs to the Coalition?

The Coalition now has more than 140 members and includes a range of public and private colleges and universities. At this time, only a few colleges exclusively accept the Coalition App, and membership is limited to U.S. colleges.

For a complete list of members, see Colleges That Accept the Coalition Application.

What's Next?

To learn more about online applications, see Tips for Using One Application to Apply to Many Schools.

Learn the six secrets to a successful essay in How to Shine in Your College Application Essay.