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Through our very own editors and guest writers, this blog will discuss the INSIDE scoop on the admissions process of various schools and programs. If you wish to ask a specific question, please write to us, and we will make every attempt to address your questions in our future blog discussions.
Monday, October 16, 2017
What is the Coalition Application?
This relatively new on-line college application program is so callow that it is most often defined in opposition to its far more influential competitor-the Common Application. The Common App has actually been around since 1975, and first went on-line in the late 1990s, but is now accepted by over 730 colleges and universities in the U.S., making it far and away the most utilized college application platform.

It cannot be overstated: the Common App has completely transformed the application system. By making it easier for students to apply to a multitude of colleges with a single click, it has contributed to both the actual increase in competition as well as the perception of increased competition-the more applications a college receives, the more applicants they must deny, lowering their overall acceptance rate which, in turn, makes them seem more exclusive. In 2013, the Common App was shaken by a number of disastrous digital mishaps, which spooked many, and created an opening in the market for viable competition.

Fast-forward to 2015, when a group of 80 colleges announced the formation of the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success (CAAS), with the aim of increasing access to college admissions. CAAS created a new digital application platform, and required all member colleges to meet certain criteria such as affordable tuition, need-based aid, and high graduation rates.

A primary distinction of the Coalition App is the "virtual locker", a place where students can begin uploading their own work-essays, projects and other materials as early as their first year of high school. CAAS promises to offer online resources such as test-preparation materials and review by admissions consultants and guidance counselors, all of which are often cost prohibitive or otherwise difficult for high-need students to access.

The Coalition App first launched during the 2016-2017 admissions cycle and is currently accepted by roughly 90 colleges, including Stanford and the Ivies. This puts a strain on comparisons to the Common App. However, in a perfect world, the Coalition App has the potential to change the way that student-applicants approach college admissions, creating early conduits to access for students who need it most.

Its ongoing viability will depend upon its ability to step out of the shadow of the Common App. Still, CAAS has successfully put a new twist on college preparation, which may end up revitalizing the pathway in the years to come.

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