With summer approaching and the college application season ramping up for rising seniors, there is a fairly new application platform and free college planning tool available called the Coalition App, which is short for The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success. Introduced a couple of years ago, the Coalition has grown to over 140-member colleges that accept it as a form of application to their college or university. There are three universities—The University of Maryland, The University of Florida, and The University of Washington—that exclusively use the Coalition App as their own. A full list of member colleges can be viewed on the Coalition website: coalitionforcollegeaccess.org.
The Coalition App is an alternative to the Common App, a widely used application platform accepted by over 800 colleges worldwide. A full list of member colleges can be viewed on its website: commonapp.org. And, hot off the press for 2018-19 applicants, both Penn State University (PSU) and the University of Pittsburgh will accept the Common App (in addition to the Coalition App); PSU has upped the ante by adding a November 1st Early Action deadline for fall.
As students are finalizing their college lists this summer, it is imperative to create an application plan. An important part of this plan will be to figure out which application makes the most sense to use: the Common App or the Coalition App. For example, if you plan to apply to the University of Maryland, Penn State University, and the University of Pittsburgh, it makes sense to use the Coalition App. To create your Coalition Application, go to: mycoalition.org and create a student account. After completing the profile section in full, you can progress to the next section.
The Coalition Application consists of four parts:
- The Locker: an online digital space to store documents, photos, and videos that can be submitted with your application. Some documents in the student locker will be locked, such as the official high school transcript and letters of recommendation. Students can see the icons for these documents to reassure them that their materials are ready to be submitted.
- The Collaboration Space: an area to invite and connect with mentors, teachers, or counselors to share items such as your essays or your college list.
- The Coalition Application: a platform to apply to 140+ colleges, including some community colleges.
- My Coalition Counselor: a library of articles and help links to assist students.
By creating your Coalition account early (you can even start in 9thgrade), you will not only benefit from the college planning tool, but you can also begin to add documents to your locker to later share in the admission process and begin to complete the profile section.
- The Coalition application allows for 8 activities to be shared as part of your extracurricular resume (compared to 10 in the Common App).
- In the Coalition App, you can add only completed SAT, ACT, or AP exams with scores and not any upcoming exams, which differs from the Common App.
- Both apps allow students to generate a printable document (.pdf) of their application to share with a counselor for review before submitting.
- The Coalition App is updated annually with a “rollover” occurring on July 1st which means all general information you have completed will rollover to the updated application, and the yet-to-be-completed college-specific portions of the application will be current, including most of the supplemental essay questions (some take a little longer to update).
- The same is true for the Common App, but its rollover date is August 1st every year.
- Since some of the colleges that permit students to apply with the Common App or the Coalition App allow for or require a Self-Reported Academic Record (transcript), juniors should get a copy of their updated high school transcript for grades 9-11. They should have it handy this summer, especially if they plan to apply to Penn State or the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), which both require students to self-report their transcripts.
With colleges like Penn State and Pitt making their 2018-19 applications available in early August, there’s no time like the summer to get moving on your essays and college applications. Come September, you will be glad you did!
Laura Blanche, of Blanche College Consulting, LLC is an Independent College Counselor affiliated professionally with both IECA and HECA. Laura has over 25 years of college application experience and has personally visited over 150 colleges across the country. She works with families in Bucks, Montgomery, and Philadelphia County, as well as remotely with students nationwide. Her website is: www.blanchecollegeconsulting.net