3 years ago
Admissions Advice

Common app vs. Coalition app

I have started applications on both of them, Which one should I continue?


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3 answers

Accepted Answer
3 years ago[edited]

I would add something important. Most HS students are unaware that despite the Common App being the most popular, the Coalition App is the better choice for those who come from low-income or marginalized backgrounds. There are far more resources that will support you through the college application process on the Coalition App. And I believe you can permit both your parents, mentors, counselors, and advisors to have viewing access as well. Plus they sponsor workshops and have other resources.

For example, you are given a personal locker which is like having an extra D drive on your computer. In this locker, you can upload, .PDFs, presentations, videos, and other media which serve as evidence of your academic and EC accomplishments. Sometimes a picture or a newspaper clipping or a video is a better way to convey that you have used your time wisely and made something of yourself. Having this flexibility allows Coalition applicants to show more depth as to what makes them tick. Also, you can upload additional essays, etc so if you have to explain your particular circumstances you can do that with additional documentation, even a video.

(For 9th/10th Graders, you can start your Coalition app immediately and take 2 to 3 years to complete it)

The instant payoff involves getting all your Fee Waivers approved instantaneously if you qualify for them. You just fill out the questionnaire once, and then as you add schools (as many as you want), the Coalition App auto-fee waives every school. So in theory, if you apply to 20 schools you can save 20 times as much time and effort. And $1500 in one easy application.

The downside is that less than 150 colleges use the Coalition App, versus the 900+ on the Common App so the acid test is that most of your schools are available on the Coalition App, it still might be a very viable and useful thing to do. And then use the common app for those schools that are not on the Coalition App.

For example for Ivys, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, and UPenn use the Coalition App but Cornell, Dartmouth, and Brown do not. But not everyone applies to all 8 to begin with.

Hope that helps and useful to other 10th and 11th graders.

3 years ago

If you've started applications on both of them, then I assume that you already know which colleges you want to apply to. Check if they support the coalition app. If every college that you want to apply to does, then I don't see why you should prefer one over the other.

I would recommend you use the common app since it is so widespread and most universities accept it.

3 years ago

CommonApp has more schools but some schools don’t accept CommonApp so coalition may be better but generally CommonApp is slightly superior to Coalition though Coalition has fewer EC slots so 8 has a greater weight each than 10 so if you have high highs but low lows (meaning yo have a few ultra impressive but anything else is meh bordering on not worth putting on) coalition may be better. Aditionally the essay prompts I believe are different so you have an easier prompt.

Also this isn’t super relevant but CommonApp is owned by Collegeboard so it may be easier to do some things but you’re also supporting collegeboard. This probably doesn’t matter but it is a difference to at least know about.

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