Don't just apply to college… Position yourself.

The Coalition versus the Common Application

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” –Alan Watts.

laptopbeardboyIn 2016, the first phase of a new online college preparation and application platform was launched by the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success, powered by CollegeNet. The coalition the following membership criteria: “…public universities that have affordable tuition along with need-based financial aid for in-state residents, and private colleges and universities that provide sufficient financial aid to meet the full, demonstrated financial need of every domestic student they admit. Coalition schools graduate at least 70 percent of their students within six years, with many having much higher graduation rates.”

intentboyAccording to its website, the Coalition’s initiative will “allow students to begin planning for college much earlier in their high school years. The platform tools—which will include the Locker, a collaboration platform, and an application portal—seek to recast the process of applying to college as the culmination of students’ development over the course of their high school careers.” The initiative has engendered intense debate in the past six months, but it appears now that it will be going forward.

Here is what you need to know about the Coalition:

COMPUTERINDIANMOM1. Locker and Collaboration Platform. The Coalition explains that “the Locker offers a private space for students to collect and organize materials throughout their high school journey, similar to Google Drive or DropBox but customized for students. Whether collecting thoughts on college options or storing classwork or reflections, students can confidentially save documents that may be useful later in their college search or application. While only the student will have access to the Locker, they will be able to share documents with their counselors, teachers, and mentors who can provide guidance along the way. Finally, a student may choose to attach materials from the Locker to their Coalition Applications; however, colleges will not have access to nor review the Locker itself.”

The Coalition further explains that the Locker will also eventually become “a meeting place, where counselors, teachers, and mentors can support the student’s college search and application through feedback and editing. The Collaboration Platform will also allow students and counselors to quickly contact their partners at Coalition schools, facilitating communication and eliminating confusion.”

asianpencillaptop2. Application Portal. The Coalition Application is described as “a cutting-edge tool for applying to many schools in the Coalition. The Coalition Application features a modern, intuitive interface that adapts to a student’s life, providing a seamless experience whether engaging through a notebook computer, tablet, or even mobile device. The application will be designed to minimize student stress, confusion, and intimidation while empowering universities to ask questions that will reveal students with the greatest fit for their campuses.”


laptopguywithdogFor high school students who will be applying to college in the upcoming years, the key question is whether there is an advantage to applying using the Coalition Application or the Common Application. According to the Coalition website, there is no advantage to using its application portal or tools: ” Just as many of these schools accept both the SAT or ACT as a way to meet their testing requirement and have no preference as to which test is used, institutions will not prefer one application system over the other… Colleges and universities using the new application will neither expect nor require the use of other Coalition tools, either as part of the Coalition Application or other application systems accepted by that institution. The tools are solely for the benefit and convenience of the student.”

africanamericancomputerWe suggest that you keep in touch with your high school guidance counselor for further updates, as this program evolves and becomes a greater part of the college application landscape.