Breaking Down the Coalition App

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    The Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success, more commonly referred to as the “Coalition App” was founded in 2016. According to the organization’s website, the Coalition App was created to help create “a future where all students have access to a successful, affordable, and transformative college experience.” 

    Similarly to the more recognized Common App, the Coalition App is an online college application platform where prospective college students can better organize and streamline the college application process by only needing to input key information once. While many schools will likely still require supplemental application materials, students will not need to worry about inputting their grades, test scores, extracurricular activities, and personal statement more than once. 

    In this article, we will review what schools use Coalition App, the Coalition App deadline, how to format the Coalition Application activities section, the differences between the Coalition App and Common App, and more. So if you’re wondering what college admissions officers look for in an applicant and how to assemble a compelling and competitive college application, read on for more information and further insights. 

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    What is the coalition app?

    At its core, the Coalition App is an online college application platform that streamlines the college application process. What sets the Coalition App apart, however, is its commitment to college affordability and diversity, as reflected in its mission statement:

    “The Coalition for College…

    Inspires students to see college in their future.

    Supports students through a search and enrollment process that best positions them for college success.

    Is strongly committed to working with students from communities that are marginalized and underrepresented in higher education.”

    Coalition App vs. Common App

    Chances are you’ve heard of the Common App, but what is Coalition App? The Coalition App shares many similarities. Both online application platforms allow students to save time while filling out their college applications by only requiring that they input key information once. This information includes SAT scores, extracurricular activities, volunteer hours, and more. Most colleges require similar information during the application process. This is why using an online college application platform, such as the Coalition App or the Common App, helps streamline the application process. 

    At this point, you may be wondering: Is Common App or Coalition better? And should I use Coalition or Common App? Like with everything, it depends. Your decision to use the Common App or Coalition App will mostly come down to the colleges you want to apply to. 

    While the Common App partners with about 800 colleges and universities, the Coalition App currently only partners with about 150 colleges and universities. Why is this? This is because schools that choose to partner with the Coalition App are making a financial commitment to students. According to the Coalition App’s website, participating schools must:

    • Be open to students of different cultural, socio-economic, and geographic backgrounds
    • Have low or no-debt financial aid, meet full demonstrated need, or offer in-state tuition
    • Have high graduation rates (for low-income and under-represented students as well as overall)

    In other words, schools partnering with the Coalition Application help students from diverse social and economic backgrounds achieve better access to higher education. The Coalition Application also offers a few additional resources, such as “the Locker.” 

    The Locker is a digital space where students can upload and store key documents and other media that they are proud of throughout their high school careers. High school students can make a Coalition App login as soon as their freshman year. Through this program, students are encouraged to start thinking about and researching colleges early. Creating a Coalition Application account early in their high school career also allows them to periodically update projects and papers to their Locker. Not only does the Locker feature help students stay organized, but it also enables them to track their progress and build a high school portfolio of their best work. 

    Coalition application deadline

    Be prepared to apply by November 1st of your senior year of high school. Deadlines for early decision, early action, and priority deadlines are usually on or around November 1st. Regular decision deadlines are usually on or around January 1st. However, the earlier you start your applications, the less stressful the experience will be. 

    If you are deciding which of the above options is right for you check out this article about Early Action and Early Decision.

    The specific dates when deadlines occur can be found on each school’s website. This is an important step because there is not one Coalition Application deadline, each school has its specific deadlines. The same is true for the Common App, deadlines are individually decided upon by the university. Applications will generally be due at 11:59 PM on the date of the deadline however, it is recommended that you not wait till the last minute as there may be unforeseen issues with submitting like internet connection or realizing you need last-minute edits. 

    Schools with rolling admissions review applications in the order in which they are received. It is highly recommended that you submit your application to schools with rolling admissions as soon as it is complete. If that college with rolling admissions has already received many qualified applicants then they will become more selective with applications submitted later.

    How to apply to the Coalition App

    In this section, we will review each component of the Coalition App and offer a brief explanation of what each component is and why it is important.

    Personal information/contact information

    This one is pretty self-explanatory. Schools just want to know that they have your most up-to-date contact information so that they can contact you with any questions or concerns during the college application process. Colleges will also need your personal and contact information to let you know their official admissions decision. 

    For this section, you will need to know your social security number. If you don’t know what your social security number is at the top of your head, your parents will likely know. It is also worth mentioning that many students make a separate email for their college applications. Use something professional, such as or 

    Demographic information

    In this section, you will be asked to share your ethnic background. It is worth noting that you can select multiple options during this section. You will also be asked which languages you speak and which you speak fluently. Do not exaggerate your proficiency in a language. It’s okay if you are still learning!

    Citizenship information

    Colleges want to know your citizen status. For example, are you an international applicant or do you hold dual citizenship? You might also be a permanent resident or a visa holder. You will also need your Social Security number for this step.

    If you are an undocumented immigrant you can still go to college! While some states do not allow undocumented immigrants to attend public universities, many do and even have generous financial aid packages to help such people attend college. FERPA prohibits colleges from disclosing immigration status without permission and no federal law requires proof of citizenship to go to college. Simply leave the Social Security Number response blank and never lie about your documentation status. Being untruthful in any part of your application can result in schools revoking your admission or even expulsion.  

    Family information

    Colleges are interested in knowing who you are as a person. A large part of that can relate to your family. For example, are you the first person in your family to attend college? Do you have any siblings? Did they attend college or are they currently enrolled? This information will also be used by the university to assess your need for financial aid. This step is independent of the FAFSA which must be completed as well. 

    High school information

    Not all high schools have access to the same resources or hold their students to the same standards. Colleges want to know where you attended high school so they can assess your application as fairly as possible. They will also need to know how to contact your high school if necessary. 

    9th-11th grade coursework

    One of the best ways to determine whether or not a student is ready for college classes is to look at their transcripts. College admissions officers want to see how willing you are as a student to challenge yourself. For instance, did you enroll in any Honors or AP classes if they were available to you? College Admissions Officers are also interested in learning more about your overall strengths and interests. For example, if you’re interested in writing and you worked for your school’s newspaper, did you challenge yourself by taking Honors or AP English? Similarly, if you are interested in science, did you take the most challenging science courses available to you?

    12th grade coursework

    While you might not have your final grades when you apply to colleges, colleges want to ensure that you are maintaining your academic trajectory. If for some reason your grades suffer during your senior year, colleges may need to reevaluate their admissions decision. This is why it is important to continue to do well your senior year and not succumb to “senioritis.”

    College coursework

    This section does not refer to AP, IB, and AICE classes. Rather, this section is meant to document any classes you took directly through a college, either during the summer or during the school year.  


    Despite the increasing test-optional admissions trend, providing your SAT and/or ACT scores can help you distinguish yourself from your peers, especially if you test well. Plan by familiarizing yourself with this year’s SAT and ACT test dates. Achieving your target SAT/ACT score takes dedication and preparation. Consider different SAT study plans and schedules to help you meet your goals.  

    English proficiency tests

    If English is your second language, or if you are an international student, you may be required to take an English proficiency test. These are easy tests, usually, either TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System), which are meant to ensure that if you are accepted to your English speaking program you will be able to keep up with coursework. Even though all the tests judge your ability to read, write, listen, and speak, colleges will usually require a specific test to be taken for your application to their program. 

    Fee waiver

    One of the major advantages of the Coalition Application is its easy-to-use fee waivers. Their mission is to make college possible for every student. One of the main ways in which they do this is the Coalition App fee waiver. If you are in the armed forces, qualify for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program, or already received an SAT, ACT, or College Board fee waiver you will qualify for the Coalition App fee waiver. Simply check off your eligibility criteria from a list on Scoir and you may have your fee waived. 

    Honors and distinctions

    This is a short section where you can list any honors, distinctions, or awards you received in high school. 


    The importance of volunteer hours and extracurricular activities can not be overstated. Colleges will weigh the Coalition App activities section nearly as much as grades and test scores. Start early and narrow in on the activities that fulfill you. Dedication, drive, and commitment are featured in this section so highlight them. If you are part of a club at school ask to be included in the leadership team. Being treasurer or secretary might not sound like fun roles but they are essential and are more noteworthy than members. 

    Coalition essay

    You will be given five Coalition App essay prompts. Of these Coalition App prompts, you are only required to choose one. So if you’re wondering how many essays for Coalition App? the answer is only one. Many schools, however, will require you to submit supplemental essays or essay questions. This is why it is important to make sure you stay organized and know exactly what is expected of you from each college. 

    The Coalition Essay is a key aspect of your college application. College personal statements help personalize the college application process. In other words, this is your opportunity to show that you are more than just your grades and test scores. While drafting your college essay you will want to familiarize yourself with the components of a strong personal statement. You will also want to avoid writing about overused college essay topics. Use your personal statement to convey who you are and what motivates or inspires you. Colleges want to admit vibrant, diverse student bodies, and one of the best ways that they can gauge this is through applicants’ personal statements. 

    List of Coalition App schools

    You may be asking yourself, what schools use Coalition Application? Well, there are more than 150 colleges currently using the Coalition App across 36 states and the District of Columbia. The list of Coalition App schools includes top public universities, niche liberal-arts programs, and 5 out of 8 Ivy League schools (Columbia University, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University). 

    However, this only represents a small fraction of the more than 5,000 universities and colleges in the United States. This is because each of the Coalition App colleges have pledged to increase accessibility and affordability at their institutions. 

    In order to decide whether it’s worth using Coalition App, you can make a list of schools you would like to apply to and cross off the ones that are on the list below. Then you can weigh the importance of affordability against the schools that remain. You may realize that your top choices may not be worth the price point if it means taking out more loans.

    Alabama Massachusetts Ohio
    Birmingham-Southern College Amherst College Case Western Reserve University
    Birmingham, AL Amherst, MA Cleveland, OH
    Arizona Babson College The College of Wooster
    Arizona State University Wellesley, MA Wooster, OH
    Tempe, AZ Boston University Denison University
    University of Arizona Boston, MA Granville, OH
    Tucson, AZ Clark University Kenyon College
    California Worcester, MA Gambier, OH
    Caltech College of the Holy Cross Miami University – Ohio
    Pasadena, CA Worcester, MA Oxford, OH
    Claremont McKenna College Harvard University Oberlin College
    Claremont, CA Cambridge, MA Oberlin, OH
    Harvey Mudd College Mount Holyoke College Ohio Wesleyan University
    Claremont, CA South Hadley, MA Delaware, OH
    Loyola Marymount University New England Conservatory of Music University of Dayton
    Los Angeles, CA Boston, MA Dayton, OH
    Occidental College Northeastern University Oklahoma
    Los Angeles, CA Boston, MA University of Oklahoma
    Pomona College Olin College of Engineering Norman, OK
    Claremont, CA Needham, MA Oregon
    Saint Mary’s College of California Smith College Portland State University
    Moraga, CA Northampton, MA Portland, OR
    Stanford University Tufts University Reed College
    Stanford, CA Medford, MA Portland, OR
    University of La Verne University of Massachusetts – Lowell University of Oregon
    La Verne, CA Lowell, MA Eugene, OR
    Colorado Wellesley College Pennsylvania
    Colorado College Wellesley, MA Allegheny College
    Colorado Springs, CO Wheaton College Meadville, PA
    Connecticut Norton, MA Arcadia University
    Eastern Connecticut State University Williams College Glenside, PA
    Willimantic, CT Williamstown, MA Bryn Mawr College
    University of Connecticut Michigan Bryn Mawr, PA
    Storrs, CT Hope College Bucknell University
    Wesleyan University Holland, MI Lewisburg, PA
    Middletown, CT Michigan State University Chatham University
    Yale University East Lansing, MI Pittsburgh, PA
    New Haven, CT University of Michigan Drexel University
    Delaware Ann Arbor, MI Philadelphia, PA
    University of Delaware Minnesota Duquesne University
    Newark, DE Carleton College Pittsburgh, PA
    District of Columbia Northfield, MN Franklin & Marshall College
    American University St. Olaf College Lancaster, PA
    Washington, D.C. Northfield, MN Haverford College
    Florida Missouri Haverford, PA
    Florida Southern College Maryville University La Salle University
    Lakeland, FL Saint Louis, MO Philadelphia, PA
    Palm Beach Atlantic University Washington University in St. Louis Lehigh University
    West Palm Beach, FL St. Louis, MO Bethlehem, PA
    Rollins College Webster University Lycoming College
    Winter Park, FL St. Louis, MO Williamsport, PA
    University of Florida Nebraska Marywood University
    Gainesville, FL University of Nebraska – Lincoln Scranton, PA
    The University of Tampa Lincoln, NE Mercyhurst University
    Tampa, FL New Jersey Erie, PA
    Georgia The College of New Jersey Penn State
    Emory University Ewing, NJ University Park, PA
    Atlanta, GA Drew University Robert Morris University
    Oglethorpe University Madison, NJ Pittsburgh, PA
    Atlanta, GA Princeton University Swarthmore College
    University of Georgia Princeton, NJ Swarthmore, PA
    Athens, GA Ramapo College of New Jersey University of Pennsylvania
    Hawaii Mahwah, NJ Philadelphia, PA
    Chaminade University of Honolulu Rutgers University – Camden University of Pittsburgh
    Honolulu, HI Camden, NJ Pittsburgh, PA
    University of Hawai’i at Mānoa Rutgers University – New Brunswick Washington and Jefferson College
    Honolulu, HI New Brunswick, NJ Washington, PA
    Illinois Rutgers University – Newark Westminster College
    Illinois College Newark, NJ New Wilmington, PA
    Jacksonville, IL New Mexico Wilkes University
    Illinois State University St. John’s College Wilkes Barre, PA
    Normal, IL Annapolis, MD & Santa Fe, NM York College of Pennsylvania
    Knox College New York York, PA
    Galesburg, IL Bard College South Carolina
    Lewis University Annandale-on-Hudson, NY Clemson University
    Romeoville, IL Barnard College Clemson, SC
    Loyola University Chicago New York City, NY Furman University
    Chicago, IL Binghamton University Greenville, SC
    Northwestern University Binghamton, NY University of South Carolina
    Evanston, IL Colgate University Columbia, SC
    University of Chicago Hamilton, NY Tennessee
    Chicago, IL Columbia University Vanderbilt University
    University of Illinois Springfield New York City, NY Nashville, TN
    Springfield, IL Hamilton College Texas
    Indiana Clinton, NY Austin College
    DePauw University Hobart and William Smith Colleges Sherman, TX
    Greencastle, IN Geneva, NY Rice University
    Indiana University Bloomington Le Moyne College Houston, TX
    Bloomington, IN Syracuse, NY Southern Methodist University
    Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Manhattan College Dallas, TX
    Terre Haute, IN Riverdale, NY Southwestern University
    University of Notre Dame Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Georgetown, TX
    Notre Dame, IN Troy, NY St. Edward’s University
    Iowa Skidmore College Austin, TX
    University of Iowa Saratoga Springs, NY St. Mary’s University
    Iowa City, IA Stony Brook University San Antonio, TX
    Kentucky Stony Brook, NY Texas A&M University
    Berea College Syracuse University College Station, TX
    Berea, KY Syracuse, NY Texas Christian University
    University of Kentucky Union College Fort Worth, TX
    Lexington, KY Schenectady, NY Trinity University
    Louisiana University at Buffalo San Antonio, TX
    Centenary College of Louisiana Buffalo, NY University of the Incarnate Word
    Shreveport, LA University of Rochester San Antonio, TX
    Maine Rochester, NY University of Texas at Austin
    Bates College Vassar College Austin, TX
    Lewiston, ME Poughkeepsie, NY Vermont
    Bowdoin College North Carolina Middlebury College
    Brunswick, ME Davidson College Middlebury, VT
    Colby College Davidson, NC University of Vermont
    Waterville, ME Duke University Burlington, VT
    Maine Maritime Academy Durham, NC Virginia
    Castine, ME High Point University University of Richmond
    University of New England High Point, NC Richmond, VA
    Biddeford, ME NC State University Virginia Tech
    Maryland Raleigh, NC Blacksburg, VA
    Johns Hopkins University UNC Charlotte Washington
    Baltimore, MD Charlotte, NC University of Washington
    Maryland Institute College of Art University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Seattle, WA
    Baltimore, MD Chapel Hill, NC University of Washington Bothell
    St. John’s College Wake Forest University Bothell, WA
    Annapolis, MD & Santa Fe, NM Winston-Salem, NC Whitman College
    St. Mary’s College of Maryland Western Carolina University Walla Walla, WA
    St. Mary’s City, MD Cullowhee, NC Wisconsin
    University of Maryland Beloit College
    College Park, MD Beloit, WI
        Lawrence University
    Appleton, WI
    Marquette University
    Milwaukee, WI
    St. Norbert College
    De Pere, WI

    Key takeaways and moving forward

    Similarly to the Common App, the Coalition App offers students an organized, streamlined college application process, while encouraging holistic college admissions standards. Although each platform has its own unique features, they offer a similar service. Therefore, the largest deciding factor of whether you should apply to colleges through the Coalition or Common App should be the individual schools on your college list and which application (or applications) they partner with. If most or all of your schools use the Coalition App, use the Coalition App. Likewise, if most or all of your schools use the Common App, use the Common App. It’s important to note that students do not receive any extra benefits or perks from colleges depending on which platform they used to apply. If you feel like you could benefit from professional assistance during college application season, reach out to learn more about our services.

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