The Coalition Application: Everything You Need to Know

Picture of black student using a grey metal pen to fill in a paper-copy of the Coalition Application
April 26, 2024
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 4/26/24

Wondering what the Coalition App is? Curious about whether it’s the right college application portal for you? Our handy guide contains everything you need to know about the Coalition Application, including which colleges accept it and more. 

Navigating college applications is no small undertaking. Understanding which application platform to use, building a school list, and actually applying are only a few pieces of the process. 

The Coalition Application is one platform used to apply to colleges. Instead of filling out individual applications for every school, you can submit one application for multiple institutions.

So, what’s the difference between the Coalition Application and other platforms? And how do you complete your application? If you’re looking for answers about the Coalition Application, read on!

What is the Coalition Application?

The Coalition Application is a product of the Coalition for College, which is a group of 150+ colleges and universities that are “united in their mission to support lower-income, under-resourced, and/or first-generation students; to provide responsible financial aid; and to bolster students’ success in college—and beyond.” 

The Coalition Application is the online form on MyCoalition used to apply to any school that accepts it. You can enter general information about yourself and your family, submit recommendations from professors, and answer the essay prompts. The Coalition Application allows you to fill out one general application and submit it to several schools. 

coalition for college logo

Even if certain schools accept the Common Application and the Coalition Application, both applications carry the same weight. The only thing that should determine your choice of the two platforms is which is the best fit for you.

What Colleges Accept the Coalition Application?

There are over 150 U.S. schools that accept the Coalition Application. The Coalition has strict requirements for schools to join, which is why there are fewer member schools than the Common Application. These qualifications align with the Coalition’s mission: accessibility, affordability, and success.

Here are the qualifications to become a Coalition Application school:

  • “Open to students of all backgrounds: cultural, socio-economic, and geographic
  • Engage significant under-served and under-resourced populations
  • Offer in-state tuition or meet full demonstrated need and/or graduate their students with low to no debt and low loan default rates
  • Achieve high graduation rates, including strong rates for low income and under-represented students”

You can check out a list of schools that accept the Coalition Application on their website, but this table shows you which of the nation’s top-ranked schools accept the application: 

list of schools that accept the coalition application
list of schools that accept the coalition application
list of schools that accept the coalition application

Notably, three of eight Ivy League schools don’t accept the Coalition Application: Brown, Cornell, and Dartmouth. Before you start the application process through the Coalition Application, ensure the schools you want to apply for accept it!

The Coalition Application Timeline

The Coalition Application doesn’t have one specific opening date. Every member school determines its own application cycle timeline. However, the application cycle for each school usually opens between July and August. For example, most schools would open their applications in July or August 2022 for the 2022-2023 application cycle. 

The unique thing about the Coalition Application is that you don’t have to wait for the application to open to get started. You don’t even have to wait until you’re a senior in high school! With the Coalition Application, you can start filling out information about yourself as early as your first year of high school. 

Coalition Application Deadlines

Colleges can have different application deadlines. If you’re applying through Regular Decision, most schools set deadlines sometime in January. While there is no perfect time to start applying to colleges with the Coalition App, the best approach is to start as early as possible. 

If you start filling out your information in ninth grade, that’s great! You’ll have less work to do senior year. If you don’t start until the summer before your senior year of high school, that’s okay, too!

MyCoalition is another handy tool to manage deadlines and build your school list. This list will allow you to easily access all deadlines for those schools, so you don’t have to worry about keeping track of scattered deadlines. They’ll all be in one place!

Tips to Complete The Coalition Application

Tips to complete the coalition app

There are two main pieces of the Coalition Application: the profile and the essays. We’ll cover all the information required for your profile.

Here is the information that the Coalition Application asks you to put in your profile:

  • Personal information (name, pronouns, date of birth, etc.)
  • Contact information
  • Citizenship information
  • Demographics
  • Academic interests
  • Payment & financial aid
  • Household information (parents and siblings)
  • School information
  • Current status (enrollment status, expected graduation date, GPA, etc.)
  • School counselor information
  • High school coursework
  • Information about past college credits
  • Honors & distinctions
  • Activities & experiences
  • Test scores (SAT, ACT, AP, IB, A-Levels, English proficiency tests, international tests)
    Not every piece of info on this list applies to every applicant. For example, domestic applicants don’t need to take international tests. When filling out your Coalition profile, we can offer you three main pieces of advice. 

Gather the Information Required

The profile asks for a lot of information about you, your family, and your school. If you’re trying to search for the information you need at the same time as filling out the profile, it might make the experience more stressful.

Doing these things before you sit down to enter your information can make the process smoother: 

  • Talk to your parents about gathering their information
  • Get a list of all the classes you’ve taken in high school (if you don’t have one, you can ask your guidance counselor) 
  • Gather a list of all the extracurricular activities you’ve done 

By getting all this information in one place, you’ll make the process of filling out this part of the application significantly more manageable. A huge advantage of using application platforms like the Coalition Application is that once you fill out your information once, you won’t have to do it again. 

Start Early

The sooner you build your Coalition profile, the less you’ll have to do in one sitting. For example, if you start working on your profile in your first year of high school, you won’t have much to do by the time you reach your senior year.

Plus, if you need to reach out to your guidance counselor or other family members for more information, you’ll want to give them enough time to gather it for you. Starting early allows them time for that, and gives you more time to work on your application essays.

Stay Organized and Ahead of Deadlines

Since every school has its own application deadline, staying organized is crucial. Keep all your application materials in one place; you can use the Coalition Application’s “Locker” feature to keep everything together. 

Whether you use a digital planner, calendar, or notebook, ensure you jot down all crucial deadlines for the schools you want to apply to. You don’t want to miss financial aid or application deadlines! 

The Coalition Application Essays

Most of the Coalition Application schools require you to write at least one essay from the list of Coalition essay prompts. You should be prepared to write at least two essays: one for the Coalition and at least one for the college you're applying to. However, some schools you apply to may require more than one.

There is no minimum or maximum word count for each prompt, but the Coalition suggests you aim for somewhere between 500 and 650 words. These are the Coalition Application essay prompts:

1. Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.
2. What interests or excites you? How does it shape who you are now or who you might become in the future?
3. Describe a time when you had a positive impact on others. What were the challenges? What were the rewards?
4. Has there been a time when an idea or belief of yours was questioned? How did you respond? What did you learn?
5. What success have you achieved or obstacle have you faced? What advice would you give a sibling or friend going through a similar experience?
6. Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.

It doesn’t matter which Coalition App prompt you choose, as long your writing showcases your personality, experiences, and why you’re a stellar applicant. Remember to mind the word limit, write concisely, and use vivid imagery to make your narrative pop. 

FAQs: Coalition App

Do you have more questions about the Coalition Application? Read on to have all your burning questions answered! 

1. How Do I Know If I Should Use the Coalition Application?

While every platform has its benefits, the Coalition Application is designed for “students from disadvantaged backgrounds—including lower-income, under-resourced, and/or first-generation students.” The Coalition Application is structured to help these kinds of students, with many different resources to guide you through the process.

If you want to take advantage of the Coalition Application’s tools and the colleges you want to apply to are members, then this application might be the best fit for you!

2. What’s the Difference Between the Coalition App and Common App? 

There are a few differences between these application portals: 

  • The Common Application has more member colleges (over 900)
  • The Coalition Application has more features, including a “Locker” to store materials
  • The Coalition Application was created to make it easier for students from historically underrepresented backgrounds to apply to college
  • The Common App allows you to apply to only 20 colleges, whereas the Coalition Application has no limits 

These are just some key differences: pick whichever application works better for you! 

3. Is It Better to Apply with the Coalition App or Common App? 

If the schools you want to apply to accept both applications, you can choose whichever you want to use. However, if your top school is Dartmouth College, Brown University, or another college that isn’t a member, it’s better to choose the Common App. 

4. When Do I Start My Coalition Application?

For the Coalition Application, you don’t have to wait until the summer before your senior year to begin your application. You can start as early as ninth grade or any time between then and your senior year of high school!

5. Does Using the Coalition Application Impact My Chances of Acceptance?

No, using the Coalition Application does not change your chances of acceptance. What matters about your application is that it's about you — not the kind of application you use.

6. How Many Essays Do You Have to Write Using the Coalition Application? 

You’re required to write one personal statement, although you may need to write other school-specific supplemental essays. 

7. How Many Schools Can I Apply to with the Coalition Application?

Unlike the Common Application, you can use the Coalition Application to apply to as many member schools as you want! 

8. Which Ivy League Schools Accept the Coalition Application? 

Princeton, Harvard, UPenn, Columbia, and Yale accept the Coalition App, while Brown, Cornell, and Dartmouth don’t. 

9. When Is the Coalition Application Deadline? 

There isn’t a universal deadline for the Coalition App. Instead, you’ll need to check with the schools you’re applying to for deadlines.

Making College Application Easier With The Coalition App

The college application process can be overwhelming at first, but understanding the Coalition Application can help reduce stress. The Coalition Application has many resources for you to use so that applying to college is as easy as possible. You can start entering information as early as ninth grade, so you don’t have to wait until senior year to get started.

Remember to start early, stay organized, and most importantly, be yourself! As long as you keep these things in mind and use the resources offered by the Coalition Application, you’ll be sailing through the college application process in no time.

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