Understanding College application platforms


When it comes to applying to colleges in the United States, there are several application platforms available, each with its own unique features and advantages. Two of the most widely used platforms are the Common Application and the Coalition Application. In this guide, we will introduce you to these platforms, explain how they work, and help you understand which one might be the best fit for your college application journey.


The Common Application: 


The Common Application, often referred to as the "Common App," is a widely recognized and widely used college application platform. Here's what you need to know:


- Member Colleges: Over 1000 colleges and universities in the United States and around the world (updated in August 2023) accept the Common App. These include a mix of public and private institutions.


- Ease of Use: The Common App allows you to apply to multiple colleges using a single application, making it convenient and time-efficient.


- Standardized Sections: The application includes standard sections for personal information, academic history, extracurricular activities, and essays.


- Recommendations: You can request letters of recommendation through the Common App, making it convenient for both students and recommenders.


- Essay Prompts: The Common App provides a set of essay prompts from which you can choose to write your personal statement.


The Coalition Application:


The Coalition Application is another application platform designed to make the college application process more accessible. Here's what sets it apart:


- Member Colleges: While the Coalition Application has fewer member colleges compared to the Common App, it includes a diverse group of over 150 institutions (updated in August 2023), with an emphasis on promoting access and affordability.


- Integrated Portfolio: One unique feature of the Coalition Application is the ability to create a digital portfolio that can include projects, artwork, videos, and other multimedia elements.


[Read more: How To Prepare A Portfolio For A College Application]


- Collaboration and Planning Tools: The Coalition platform offers tools to help students plan for college, including a locker where you can store documents and materials throughout high school.


- Essay Prompts: The Coalition Application also has its own set of essay prompts, allowing you to choose a topic that best represents you.


common app, coalition app, spark prep


Both the Common Application and the Coalition Application are valuable tools

designed to simplify and streamline the college application process


Choosing Between the Common App and Coalition App


Deciding between the Common Application and the Coalition Application depends on your personal preferences and the colleges you plan to apply to. Here are some factors to consider:


- Application Member Colleges: Check which colleges on your list accept either platform, or if some prefer one over the other.


- Application Requirements: Review the application requirements and essay prompts for each platform to see which aligns better with your strengths and experiences.


- Additional Features: Consider any additional features, such as the Coalition Locker, that may be beneficial to you.


- Counselor and Teacher Access: If you have a supportive counselor or teacher, consider which platform aligns with their preferences for submitting documents.


- Interface: Explore both platforms to see which one you find more intuitive and user-friendly.


*** Note:


Regardless of whether you choose the Common Application or the Coalition Application, many colleges will require additional supplements. These supplements can include school-specific essay questions and additional materials like letters of recommendation. Make sure you stay updated with any extra requirements and can make proper preparations for your college application.  


Both the Common Application and the Coalition Application are valuable tools designed to simplify and streamline the college application process. Take the time to explore both platforms, research the colleges on your list, and choose the one that best fits your needs and goals.


More importantly, working on a holistic college application and starting early are what matters to securing admission to your dream college. Work with Spark Prep today to explore tips for writing compelling essays, obtaining excellent recommendations, and presenting a well-rounded application. Book a consultation here and let us provide you with comprehensive guidance on the college application process as a whole. 

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