Common App or Coalition App: Which Colleges Do Prefer?

September 26, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Common App or Coalition App: Which Colleges Do Prefer?

What is the Common App?

The application process for college can be a time-consuming and nerve-wracking experience for both students and their parents. In addition to conducting research and completing paperwork involved with applications, teenagers may also be juggling other responsibilities, such as taking the SAT or ACT, touring colleges, and taking a rigorous course load during their senior year.

Students can benefit from a streamlining of a key component of the college admissions process thanks to the Common Application, which is recognized by more than one thousand schools, some of which are located outside of the United States.

What is the Common App? Users of the platform can submit applications to several different universities all at once, regardless of whether they are first-time or transfer applicants. Therefore, students will only need to fill out the information that most schools ask once, including their name, address, and extracurricular activities.

Jenny Rickard, president and chief executive officer of Common App, the nonprofit organization that oversees the application, explains that “The idea behind the Common App is to try and reduce the barriers that students face when applying to college.”

Group of people talking in a conference room.

The following is a list of the procedures that students can follow to work on an application through the Common App platform:

  • To obtain information on how to create an account and log in, go to and click on the button that says “Start your application.” This will bring up a page with instructions. In addition, students can keep track of deadlines, invite recommenders, and create reminders by downloading the mobile app for the Common Application.
  • Either the option for first-year students or the option for transfer students should be chosen.
  • Add the user’s information, including their name, email address, phone number, address, date of birth, and the year in which they plan to enroll.
  • Complete the user profile by providing the requested information on topics such as education, extracurricular activities, demographic data, household information, and other topics.
  • Include collaborators in the form of individuals who will provide letters of recommendation or other supporting documentation, such as teachers and counselors.
  • Search for colleges and add them to “My Colleges.”
  • Before you apply to a college, be sure you are familiar with its application criteria and then follow those requirements to the letter.

Who Can Use the Coalition App?

When it comes to applying to colleges, you may have heard of the Common App or Coalition App. These application platforms enable students to submit their information to several different schools all at once.

Focusing on the Coalition Application, which is very similar to the Common Application, was introduced in 2015 as part of an effort to make the process of applying to college more approachable and manageable for members of underrepresented groups.

Before beginning the process of applying to colleges, it is important to study the Coalition Application and consider whether or not it would be a good option for you. Although there are some key differences between the Common Application and the Coalition Application, as well as applications that go directly to a school via their website, it is important to familiarize yourself with the Coalition Application.

Unidentified person typing in a desk.

Who can use the Coalition App? The Coalition Application is a centralized online application system for higher education that is used by around 150 institutions. It is not nearly as old as the Common Application, despite the fact that it has been around for a considerable amount of time.

On the other hand, the Coalition App includes capabilities that are not as easily accessible on the common app. This is done to assist all prospective students, regardless of their background, in locating the college application process as one that is simple and within their reach.

The Coalition Application is comprised of two primary components: the candidate profile and the essays.

We will go over every piece of information that is necessary for your profile.

In order to complete your profile, the Coalition Application requires that you provide the following information:

  • Personal information (name, pronouns, date of birth, GPA, etc.)
  • Contact information
  • Citizenship information
  • Demographics
  • Academic interests
  • Payment and 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 and distinctions
  • Activities and experiences
  • Test scores (SAT, ACT, AP, IB, A-Levels, English proficiency tests, international tests)

The information in this list may not necessarily apply to every candidate. For instance, domestic applicants are exempt from having to take foreign examinations. 

We have three primary pieces of advice that we can provide you when it comes to filling out your Coalition profile.

Collect the Necessary Information

There are a lot of questions about you, your family, and your school that need to be answered in the profile. The experience may be more stressful for you if you try to seek the information you need while still filling out the profile, but you can avoid this by planning early.

If you want to make the procedure go more smoothly, doing these steps before you sit down to enter your information can help:

  • You should discuss with your parents the possibility of obtaining their information.
  • If you don’t have a list of the classes you took in high school, you can ask your guidance counselor for one.
  • If you don’t have a list of the extracurricular activities you participated in throughout high school, you should compile one.

You will find that the process of filling out this section of the application is substantially more manageable if you gather all of this information in a single location When you use application platforms such as the Coalition Application, one significant benefit is that after you have completed entering your information just once, you will not be required to do it again.

Which Is Better, the Common App or Coalition App?

Which is better, the Common App or Coalition App? Both the Common Application (also known as Common App) and the Coalition Application (also known as Coalition App) provide students with a mechanism to keep track of the applications they have filled out and submitted to different schools. The use of the platforms is completely free; however, applicants may still be required to pay application fees to the various universities to which they apply.

Group of students studying in the stairs of the school.

Both platforms demand candidates to produce an essay in response to a given prompt in order to be considered for admission to institutions that do so mandatorily.

In addition to the main essay that students are required to write for the Coalition App and the Common App, individual universities may require students to complete supplemental essays or short responses.

Five Important Distinctions Between the Common Application and the Coalition Application

Both the Common App and the Coalition App share several similarities; nevertheless, there are important distinctions between the two platforms that applicants need to be aware of before selecting one or the other to use.

1. Total Amount of Colleges That Use Each Platform

The Common Application, which was established in 1975, is utilized by over 900 schools and universities in the United States. The number of institutions that collaborate with the Coalition App is around 150, which is a substantially lower amount than the number of universities that collaborate with the Common App. Having said that, the Coalition App is being accepted by an increasing number of schools as time goes on.

2. Features of the Application

Students can save their information from year to year using the rollover function of the Common Application, which gives them more time to apply to schools if they require it. Students are able to keep items such as essays, videos, and projects that may be relevant for the application process through a function within the Coalition App that is referred to as “Locker.”

3. Familiarity with the Platform

When it comes to assisting kids with their college applications, most educators and guidance counselors have a greater familiarity with the Common Application than they do with the Coalition Application. This is due to the fact that guidance counselors have had more time to become familiar with the Common Application, which has been available for a far longer period of time than its rival.

On the other hand, as the Coalition App develops in popularity, it is probable that an increasing number of educators and counselors will learn how to utilize it.

4. Focus on Students from Underrepresented Groups

The Coalition App was developed with the intention of easing the college application process for students who come from underrepresented communities. To be more specific, the platform exclusively collaborates with educational institutions that provide extensive financial help or low tuition rates and enable students to graduate with minimal to no outstanding debt.

In addition, the “collaboration space” feature of the Coalition App enables kids to invite family members, instructors, and guidance counselors to read and review the materials they have submitted for their application, as well as provide support and encouragement. Students have the option to submit a request to have their application fees waived.

5. The Degree of Technical Support Available

The Common Application has more than 3 million users annually, thus it has a tendency to become crowded around various deadlines. Because of this, students may have difficulty obtaining technical support at the times when they require it the most. Since there are fewer people using the Coalition App, there may be more technical support staff available to respond to questions as they are submitted.

In any event, in order for students to avoid such bottlenecks, they should make every effort to begin the college application process as early as possible rather than waiting until the last minute.

Can I Use Both Common App And Coalition App?

When applying to colleges, you have the option of using either the Common Application or Coalition Application. But would it be to your advantage to make use of both options? Almost certainly not.

Group of students studying in the library.

Keep in mind that the primary advantage of using the Common App or Coalition App is the amount of time that they save you in your application process. After you have finished filling out the basic information and application materials for one school, everything that you have entered is kept and displayed automatically on all of your other applications.

And because the University of Washington, Seattle, the only school that was previously only listed on the Coalition App, will begin accepting the Common App in 2022, there is really no reason for you to use both websites. The Common App will be accepted by the University of Washington, Seattle.

The Coalition Application and the Common Application are, without a shadow of a doubt, quite comparable in terms of their user interfaces, the number of extracurricular activities that are permitted, the amount of essay prompts available, and the support personnel.

Which College Application Do Colleges Prefer?

The Common App or Coalition App–the choice of which to utilize should, in the end, finally come down to which universities you intend to apply to. This is the only factor that should matter. It is possible that you find that to be an overly simplistic or simple solution.

So, which college application do colleges prefer? Educational institutions like colleges and universities do not favor one way of the application over another. The way you submit your application does not have any influence on whether or not it will be considered or how strong it will be. Schools provide a variety of application methods in order to provide students with accessibility and flexibility.

Smiling woman looking at a laptop while listening.

Colleges that are willing to consider either application do not prefer either the Common App or Coalition App. Students should, where it is practicable to do so, select the application platform that best suits their needs. It is common practice for colleges to provide many application options in order to better meet the diverse requirements of prospective students.

The question now is how do you choose which program to use?

First things first, compile a list of every institution that piques your interest. After that, mark whether they accept the Common Application, the Coalition Application, neither application nor both applications.

If the Coalition Application is accepted by only some of the institutions on your list, but the Common Application is accepted by all of them, then choose the Common Application. Choose the Coalition App instead of the Common one if all of them are willing to take the Coalition App but only some of them will accept the Common application.

If either option is acceptable at the institutions you’re considering attending, you should go with the one that makes you feel the most at ease. If for no other reason, the fact that it provides resources to marginalized groups is motivation enough for underrepresented students to select the Coalition App in this scenario, but once again, the choice is ultimately yours to make.

You will be required to make use of both the Common App and the Coalition App in the sad event that some of your institutions will only accept one or the other. There are a few public schools that do not allow applications from outside organizations; thus it is likely that neither will be accepted at some schools. If this is the case, you will need to submit your application directly to those colleges.

Schools Using Coalition App and Common App

The Common App is currently used by more than 900 colleges and universities. Even beyond the United States, some of these schools are located. The list of institutions that accept the Common App can be found on their website.

However, just about 140 schools make use of the Coalition App. To view the entire list alphabetically or by categories like public schools and private schools, click here.

Either the Common App or Coalition App is relatively popular among application platforms but not all US schools use them. In other words, each of these educational institutions has its own application process.

Let’s examine a few of these institutions of higher learning:

  • MIT
  • Georgetown University
  • Loyola University Chicago
  • Brigham Young University
  • United States Naval Academy
  • United States Military Academy
  • California State University system (CSU Bakersfield, Cal Maritime Academy, Sonoma State University, etc.)
  • University of California system (UC Berkeley, UC Riverside, UC Santa Cruz, UCLA, etc.)

Using either the Common App or Coalition App can greatly help you in your college applications. If you need assistance in navigating these platforms, AdmissionSight can help you through it. At AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process to get accepted to the top universities in the world. On average, 75% of our students are admitted to an Ivy League university, Stanford, MIT, UChicago, and Caltech, one of the highest track records in the industry. Feel free to set up an appointment today to book your initial consultation.

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