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What is the Coalition Application for College?

By Zach Skillings

Zach Skillings is the Scholarships360 Newsletter Editor. He specializes in college admissions and strives to answer important questions about higher education. When he’s not contributing to Scholarships360, Zach writes about travel, music, film, and culture. His work has been published in Our State Magazine, Ladygunn Magazine, The Nocturnal Times, and The Lexington Dispatch. Zach graduated from Elon University with a degree in Cinema and Television Arts.

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Posted: March 1st, 2022
What is the Coalition Application for College?

The Coalition Application is an online platform that allows students to apply to multiple schools at once. At first glance, the Coalition is very similar to the Common App. However, the Coalition is unique in that it specifically caters to students seeking an affordable college education. Keep reading to learn more about the Coalition and why you should consider using it. 

See also: Coalition vs. Common App: What is the difference? 

What is the Coalition application?

The Coalition was founded in 2015 with the goal to improve the college application process for low-income, underrepresented, and first-generation students. Each of the 150+ colleges that accept the Coalition Application are committed to providing financial aid for students. To become a member of the Coalition, colleges must meet specific criteria

For instance, Coalition schools are required to enroll a significant number of low-income and under-resourced students. Colleges must also be affordable and make a commitment to graduating their students with little to no debt. The Coalition also requires its member colleges to achieve high graduation rates, including strong rates for low income and under–represented students. 

Because Coalition schools are required to meet these rigorous standards, students applying to these colleges can expect affordable tuition rates and/or substantial financial aid packages. 

What else should I know about the Coalition? 

The Coalition isn’t just an application platform. It also provides tools and resources to help students navigate the application process. For instance, the Locker tool allows students to keep track of important application materials throughout their high school years. Beginning in ninth grade, students can use their virtual “locker” to save documents that could be useful when it comes time to apply for college. These could include things like essays, recommendation letters, and personal projects. Once students are ready to apply for college, they can upload documents directly from their Locker into the application. 

The Coalition also features an online Collaboration Space where students can share important documents with counselors, parents, or mentors. For example, you could ask a mentor to provide input on your college list or edit your college application essay. Your mentor could then view these documents and make comments in the margins. Think of the Collaboration Space as the Google Drive of the college application process. 

Keep in mind that students do not have to use the Collaboration Space or the Locker to submit an application through the Coalition. They’re simply additional features available for students who want to use them. 

Don’t miss: CollegePoint Review

Is it worth using the Coalition Application?

If your top priority is attending an affordable college and graduating with little to no debt, then the Coalition may be worth considering. Every school that you apply to through the Coalition will make significant efforts to meet your financial need if accepted. That being said, you’ll have far fewer schools to choose from on the Coalition than you would the Common App. Plus, most schools that accept the Coalition also accept the Common App. As a result, you might be better off sticking with the Common App. 

Before you make a decision, check to see if any of your desired schools are exclusive to the Coalition (meaning they do not use the Common App). If that’s the case, using the Coalition may be the way to go. The Coalition may also be worth using if you appreciate the function of the Locker tool and the Collaboration Space. To learn more, check out our guide comparing the Coalition with the Common App

Additional resources for students applying to college

As you prepare to apply for college, make sure to check back with us to help answer the rest of your questions. We can help you decide how many colleges to apply to, and how to find safety, reach, and match schools. We also have a guide to help you put together a strong admissions application, and a guide to get strong letters of recommendation.

Finally, when it comes time to write essays, look no further. Our guide to writing an essay about yourself is just what you need. Once you’ve seen that, try our guides for writing 250 word essays and 500 word essays. And for your Common App schools, check out our guide to answering the Common App prompts. Good luck in your application and college choice process!

Frequently asked questions 

How much does the Coalition App cost? 

It’s completely free to sign up for a Coalition account and use planning tools such as the Locker and Collaboration Space. However, students have to pay an application fee for most schools they apply to through the Coalition. Low-income students, veterans, and active members of the U.S. Armed Forces may be eligible for fee waivers. 

Related: How to get a college application fee waiver

Can I use both the Common App and the Coalition App?

Yes. Students can use both application services to apply for different schools. However, students cannot double down and apply to the same school through both platforms. Colleges that accept both the Coalition and Common App do not prefer which application students use. 

Does the Coalition App have an essay?

Yes. The Coalition allows students to choose from five unique essay prompts. Most colleges that accept the Coalition require students to submit at least one essay as part of their application. Check out our guide on the Coalition essays for tips on how to respond to each prompt. 

How many colleges can I apply to through the Coalition?

There is no limit to the number of schools students can apply to through the Coalition. Students can apply to a maximum of 20 schools through the Common App.

Also see: Scholarships360’s free scholarship search tool

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