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Students applying to US universities this fall might come across a new application platform called the Coalition Application. For example, Stanford lets one choose between the coalition and common application.

For those who don’t know what the coalition application is, here is a basic overview:

  • The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success (CAAS) announced the new application platform in September 2015 and schools began to use it for 2016 fall admissions cycle.
  • In the beginning, there were 80 member schools (all of the ivy league institutions and Stanford) but there are currently over 90 schools.
  • It is open to all students, domestic and international.
  • In order to be a member of the CAAS, the institution has to meet the criteria. The criteria are: “demonstrate commitment to student access, affordability, and success by presenting a 70% graduation rate (6-year rate) and either a robust financial aid program that meets full demonstrated financial need of domestic students, or, for public schools, a reduced rate for residents of the state.”
  • Just as the common application has five prompts, the coalition application also has five prompts.
  • The new application system is different from the common application in that there will be a locker for students to use. The locker is a online private storage room where students can upload and save their essays, videos, class projects, artwork, and awards. High school students will be able to create a portfolio to store their best works starting from 9th grade. Then, the students will be able to share the contents with counselors, parents, and mentors and ask for feedback.
  • Not all CAAS members accept the coalition application this year, here is the list of schools that will accept it this year.
  • No advantage will be given to students who apply using the coalition application over those who use the common application.

A tip for international students who are interested in using the coalition application:
Check the member schools to see if all the desired schools accept it. If not, it would not make sense to use both the coalition and common application. Also, make sure your high school counselor is familiar with the coalition application.

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