Common App vs. Coalition App: Which Application Platform Should You Choose?

Published May 22, 2023


Hey there, college-bound students! As you embark on your exciting journey of applying to colleges, one crucial decision awaits you: choosing the right application platform. In this blog post, we’ll dive into a detailed comparison of two popular options: the Common App and the Coalition App. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of their features, pros, cons and which one might suit you best.

Understanding the Common App

Let’s start with the Common App—a widely recognized and user-friendly application platform used by numerous colleges and universities. Its popularity stems from its ability to simplify the application process, making your life a bit easier during this hectic time. Here are some traits that you can expect:


  1. Wide range of participating colleges and universities: The Common App partners with over 900 institutions, granting you access to a diverse range of schools from across the country.


  1. Simplified application process: With the Common App, you can complete a single application and send it to multiple colleges simultaneously, saving you from duplicating efforts and minimizing paperwork.


  1. Streamlined essay prompts: The Common App provides a set of essay prompts, allowing you to choose one that resonates with you. This streamlines your essay writing process and eliminates the need to craft separate essays for each college.


  1. Additional tools and resources: The Common App offers various tools and resources, such as an application progress tracker, school-specific requirements, and guidelines to help you stay organized and on top of your application.

It’s important to remember that the Common App does have some limitations. For instance:

  1. Limited customization options: While the Common App provides a standardized application format, it may not allow for extensive customization to showcase your unique strengths and experiences.
  2. Potential for technical glitches: Given the platform’s popularity, occasional technical issues or delays in submission may arise, causing some frustration.

Exploring the Coalition App

Now, let’s shift our focus to the Coalition App—a relatively newer player in the application platform scene. The Coalition App aims to provide a comprehensive approach to college admissions, focusing on collaboration, mentorship, and planning. Here are some features :

  1. Emphasis on collaboration and mentorship: The Coalition App encourages students to involve mentors, counselors, and teachers in the application process, fostering a supportive environment for your college journey.


  1. Extensive college planning resources: The Coalition App offers a wide range of resources, including personalized timelines, financial aid information, and guidance on college exploration, helping you make well-informed decisions.


  1. Integrated multimedia capabilities: Unlike the Common App, the Coalition App allows you to showcase your talents and achievements through multimedia formats, enabling you to present a holistic picture of your skills and interests.

However, the Coalition App does have a couple of drawbacks to consider:

  1. Smaller number of participating institutions: Although the Coalition App continues to expand its network, it currently collaborates with fewer colleges compared to the Common App. Thus, you may find a more limited range of choices.


  1. Complex and time-consuming application process: The Coalition App’s comprehensive approach also means that the application process can be more involved and time-consuming, requiring you to gather and organize a broader range of materials.

Key Differences between the Common App and Coalition App

To help you make a well-informed decision, let’s explore some key differences between the two application platforms:

  1. Application requirements:
  2. Essay prompts and word limits: While both platforms have essay requirements, the prompts and word limits may differ. Consider which prompts align with your story and which platform allows you to best express yourself.


  1. Letters of recommendation: Check whether the colleges you’re interested in accept recommendation letters through both platforms or have specific requirements regarding the submission process.


  1. Extracurricular activities and portfolios: Evaluate whether you have a strong portfolio or extensive extracurricular involvement that might benefit from the Coalition App’s multimedia capabilities.


  1. User interface and experience:
  2. Navigational features: Spend some time exploring the user interfaces of both platforms to see which one feels more intuitive and comfortable for you to navigate.


  1. Mobile compatibility: Consider whether you prefer to work on your application using a mobile device. Some platforms may offer better mobile compatibility, allowing you to work on your applications on the go.


  1. Accessibility and user-friendliness: Look for accessibility features and consider which platform provides a smoother user experience overall.


  1. College network and admissions statistics:
  2. Size and variety of participating institutions: Check the college lists on both platforms to ensure your target schools are included. Also, consider the variety of institutions offered, ranging from large universities to liberal arts colleges.


  1. Acceptance rates and admission statistics: Research the admission statistics of the colleges you’re interested in to see if there are any noticeable differences in acceptance rates between the Common App and Coalition App.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Application Platform

While understanding the differences is important, personal factors play a crucial role in making the right choice:

  1. Personal preferences and priorities:
  2. Individual college choices: Consider the colleges you’re applying to and whether they accept one or both application platforms.


  1. Application requirements: Evaluate how well each platform aligns with your strengths, experiences, and the application requirements of your chosen colleges.


  1. User experience preferences: Think about which platform’s interface and features resonate with your personal preferences and comfort level.


  1. Access to resources and support:
  2. College guidance counselors: Consult with your high school’s guidance counselors to determine their familiarity with both platforms and their ability to provide guidance.


  1. Application fee waivers and financial assistance: Research which platform offers fee waivers or financial assistance options if you require them.


  1. College-specific tools and resources: Investigate whether any of your target colleges provide unique tools or resources through a particular platform that could benefit your application process.


  1. Long-term considerations:
  2. Alumni networks and career support: Research the colleges’ alumni networks and career services to ensure they align with your long-term goals and aspirations.


  1. Transfer options and future application processes: Consider how each platform accommodates transfer students or whether it aligns with future application processes if you plan on pursuing further education.


  1. Updates and improvements to application platforms: Keep an eye on any updates or changes made to the platforms to ensure you’re aware of any new features or enhancements that could affect your decision.


Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of our journey through the Common App and Coalition App. By comparing the benefits and limitations of each platform with your needs, you will be able to make correct decision. Keep in mind that your college application process is distinct, so take your time, conduct thorough research, and follow your gut. Best Wishes as you begin a new and exciting chapter of your life!