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Enter the Coalition Application

Next month, the new Coalition Application will open to students. Otherwise known as the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success, this coalition of over 90 elite colleges in the United States has banded together to create a real competitor to the current standard-bearerCommon App.

The Common App got into trouble in 2013, when it repeatedly crashed during the application season, causing chaos and disruption to both applicants and colleges. It's not a surprise, then, that some colleges began to discuss an alternative to the privately run Common App. In addition to gaining control over the nuts and bolts of their own application processes, these colleges have chosen to offer membership only to like-minded schools which meet certain criteria. Colleges must have a 70% 6-year graduation rate. Private colleges must meet all demonstrated need to those admitted, while public colleges must offer "low" tuition and financial aid. Interestingly, private colleges need not be "need-blind," so they can still choose students based on ability to pay.

I think we should applaud the colleges for putting an emphasis on graduation rates and for reducing or even eliminating the "gapping" in financial aid packages, even if some colleges remain "need aware."

Another unique feature of the new Coalition Application is the student locker. High school students will be able to store important data such as essays, artwork, or other class projects throughout their high school years in the locker. Initially, it was rumored that college admissions officers might provide feedback to students on the items in their locker. Later, I was told that students could ask mentors for feedback. As of today, I don't see any formal privacy policy with respect to the locker, and it is unclear who can or will access the locker and whether students will receive any benefit to the storage (or if it's just another place to mine data).

For the 2016-2017 application season, only three colleges plan to use the Coalition Application exclusively: University of Washington, University of Florida, and University of Maryland College Park. By the second year of use, 2017-2018, the Coalition Application hopes to be fully integrated with Naviance.

What does this mean for you? Given the chaos of the 2013 application season, when a new software roll-out by the Common App led to crashes and the inability to submit applications, I would strongly suggest that any applicants planning to use the new Coalition App (also new and relatively untested) prepare and submit applications early.

References/ Find out more here:

The new college admissions coalition: is it really about access?

Locked Out?...

The Coalition Moves Closer to April launch....


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