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The Origins of the Coalition Application

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Once upon a time, a selection of schools around the land came together to create an easier way for students to apply to a wide number of academic institutions. This first attempt at college application standardization, as you might have guessed, was called the Common Application.

This platform remained unchallenged in the world of admissions for many decades, prevailing as the uncontested ruler of the admissions process for the many schools that elected to operate under its domain.

In late 2015, a challenger to the Common App’s long-standing dominance finally emerged. An assembly of over 80 colleges around the country gathered to form the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success, more commonly known as “the Coalition.” The organization hopes to level the application playing field for students around the world by offering an alternative to the status quo and providing a backup to technology that can often be unreliable when you need it most (like that time the Common App crashed right before the early deadline).

The Coalition announced plans to launch their Common App competitor in the summer of 2016. The resulting platform includes some interesting features like a collaboration hub and a locker that allows students to store essays and assignments they are considering for submission. Most schools offering the Coalition App as an option will also allow students to apply via the Common App.

Will the use of this new platform affect the challenging but incredibly rewarding task of writing a winning college admissions essay?!! The truth is, it probably won’t affect the essay writing process much at all. First and foremost this is because, as we often tell our students (and as you’ve probably heard from us before), The prompts don’t really matter. Say it again with me now. “The Prompts don’t really matter.”

The prompts don’t really matter, because what matters is that you tell a compelling story that reveals something meaningful to admissions about who you are and what makes you tick. Once you figure out what it is you’re trying to say and how you want to say it, your stellar subject can be backed into just about any prompt the Coalition App (or Common App) will throw at you.

What these prompts can do, however, is serve as additional idea fodder and a launch point for topic inspiration, which is why it is helpful to take a look at each prompt and dissect what the questions are really asking. Which is what we’ve done with our Common App and Coalition App Prompt Guides!


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