As the official start of college application season begins in August, you’re probably finalizing your list of colleges. Whether they’re public or private, large or small, on the East or West Coast, you’ll probably apply to most of them through the very well-known Common Application. Almost 900 colleges and universities, both in and outside of the U.S., utilize this application to admit their freshman class every year. However, in compiling your list, you may come across a school that takes the Common Application and/or the Coalition Application. This newer application began in 2016. Just over 150 schools take the Coalition App, including all eight Ivy League universities.
So, what’s the difference? Besides the large discrepancy in the number of schools, you can submit each application to, the intended audience of each application is unique. The Common App is intended for everyone because you will have a range in the submission fees associated with each application you submit. For instance, you may only have to pay $30 for a small state school, but the fee for a highly selective private institution may be $75.
In contrast, the Coalition App can only be submitted to schools that provide lower-income and underrepresented students more help. Any school that accepts the Coalition App has proven that they greatly support these groups through monetary means such as scholarships, financial aid, and grants. You will still have to pay a fee to submit the application to each school, but it’s more likely you’ll receive a waiver if you qualify, given each school’s financial generosity.
If a school accepts both the Common App and the Coalition App, your best bet is to submit the Common App, especially if every other school on your list accepts the Common App. Filling out all of your background information for a second time will be a tedious job. But if you’re interested in scholarships or financial aid, you should consider checking out the list of schools that accept the Coalition App and cross-referencing whether they accept the Common App.
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