Common App vs Coalition - which to complete?

Common App vs Coalition - which to complete?

The Common Application- and Coalition- are two online platforms that make applying to college easier and more convenient by allowing students to apply to several colleges without filling in separate applications. Colleges that accept both applications do not differentiate between the two, giving equal weight to both.

The Common App and Coalition are in many ways similar in function and feature, although there are some differences worth noting.

Build a story

One of the biggest differences is that the Coalition allows students to engage earlier with the application process when they commence high school. Students can begin to collect key pieces of their work and store their high school experiences and accomplishments in a “locker”. Once students are ready to apply, they can submit any material from their locker. This allows students to create their story incrementally over the course of their high school studies, making the final process of applying much easier. This function appeals particularly to students interested in fine arts, music, architecture and other degrees that require submission of a portfolio.

The Coalition also offers a “collaboration space”. Here students can connect with high school advisors (counselors, teachers, mentors) and share items from their locker, request feedback and receive guidance on materials like resumes, essays, videos, and journals.

You can see how both the locker and collaboration space work here-

The Common Application does not provide a repository where files can be saved. However, using the app Zeeme a student can paste a link into the Common App. Alternatively, applicants can create a Slideroom account to share their files. -

Short answer questions

The short answer questions also differ between the two. Depending on the student, one set of questions may better suit the interests and experiences over the other. The questions can be found at:

Common App -

Coalition -

Connect to multiple colleges

The Common App’s biggest advantage is that more than 700 colleges accept the application. Students can easily apply to multiple colleges and track their application. It is also integrated with Naviance, a college counselling software commonly used by high schools. High school counselors and teachers can easily upload and/or complete online recommendations forms on the platform.

The Coalition works with significantly fewer colleges, with only 90 public and private universities accepting their application. It only works with colleges that provide substantial support (through financial aid, scholarships, or other means).

Most colleges will accept at least one of these applications, but you should make sure the college you are applying to, do so before starting an application.