What is the New Coalition Application?

You may have heard whispers of the new Coalition Application, an upcoming alternative to the Common Application. What do we know so far, and what questions remain to be answered?

On Saturday, October 3, three board members of the new Coalition Application—Barbara Gill, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management at the University of Maryland, John Latting, Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Enrollment and Dean of Admission at Emory University, and Audrey Smith, Vice President for Enrollment at Smith College—presented a summary of their "work in progress" to an audience of over 500 people at the National Association for College Admission Counselors (NACAC) Conference in San Diego. The announcement of this new application, hosted by 83 colleges in collaboration with CollegeNet, came just a few days prior to the conference, setting up a storm of conversation and questions. The Coalition Colleges want to increase college access for all students and add another way to apply in addition to the several online applications that currently exist.

Although many of these colleges currently use the Common Application, this Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success stems from the technological and other difficulties the Common Application had in 2013. These 83 institutions feel like they are spectators in the admission process, inhibiting innovation and insight on student performance. Therefore, the new Coalition Application will have virtual lockers for students where they can enter their work and accomplishments over a four year period of time.

The Coalition intends to first release this application to students in January 2016, which could change the way students apply and perhaps revolutionize the college admission process. Although the intention of the Coalition Colleges is to provide early preparation and access to all, others are concerned that high school will become about college prep and perhaps be inappropriate for students working on their virtual lockers as early as ninth grade.

Along with Coalition Board Members, college counselors have many questions about the new Coalition Application and wonder how something that is a "work in progress" can be launched for the public as early as January 2016.

The Coalition's virtual locker is planned to include extracurricular activities, interests, writing samples, college essays, videos and more. Information to the colleges where the students choose to apply will not be available to them until the student releases their locker during their application season.

In a Los Angeles Times piece, the Coalition stated, "To join, colleges must show that at least 70% of students graduate within six years. Private colleges must pledge to meet the demonstrated financial need of all U.S. students; public schools must have affordable tuition for in-state students and solid financial aid." Los Angeles Times

The Common Application will remain available. However, those using the Coalition's virtual locker will not need to submit the Common Application. The Coalition colleges will still accept the Common Application.

Many unanswered questions remain:

  • Will colleges favor one application over the other?
  • How will the virtual locker be evaluated?
  • Will these universities use interaction with the locker to measure demonstrated interest and factor that into admissions decisions?
  • If a ninth grader adds you to their "my colleges" list, what type of communication do you picture having with them?
  • How do you plan get message out to underserved students?
  • What will the competition aspect be like?
  • What are hard timelines for the application
  • Is this launching too soon?

Ultimately, the Coalition colleges will be able to tailor their applications by asking for specific items from the students' lockers. The goal is to make the application more holistic and gain more insight on applicants over a period of time. The Coalition believes in early engagement, being more transparent, increased interest in the public and collaboration. These are fine ideals with good intentions. However, the implementation is yet to be seen and many questions must be answered.

These colleges want to guide their own progress and are committed to making the Coalition Application work for all students.

Click here for the list of Coalition Colleges, both public and private.

Thanks to Jeannie Borin for sharing this piece, which can also be found on the College Connections blog. Be sure to follow her on Twitter!

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

coalition application college access college affordability college applications Common Application counselor advice

About Jeannie Borin, MEd

Jeannie Borin, MEd

Jeannie is the President and Founder of College Connections. She stays on the forefront of current and innovative trends in college admission and education. This is evident by her vast social and national media presence, membership in the most highly regarded college admissionsorganizations, public speaking, and attendance at professional college conferences. She also visits colleges throughout the United States building contacts within the admission staff. Her extensive educational background includes school administrator, counselor, admission director, teacher, and curriculum supervisor in both the public and private sectors. Jeannie received her master's degree in counseling and education and Bachelor of Science  in sociology/psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. She mentored graduate students through the UCLA counselor training program and is state certified. Jeannie holds a teaching credential issued for life and is a Juilliard School of Music alumnus. Jeannie has been awarded Professional Membership with the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), the most credible educational consulting organization in the United States. She is also a Professional Member of the National and Western Association of College Admissions Counselors as well as the Higher Educational Consultants Association.


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Keydi Banegas

Keydi Banegas

Scholarship for Students of Color Winner, Class of 2022

CollegeXpress is a great application that helped me search for many different scholarships, and it narrows the scholarships depending on how you set your profile. Not only that, but it helps you choose different colleges to apply to by finding matches through the description of your profile. It was the best experience for me.



High School Class of 2023

Being a sophomore in high school, I never really worried about college. I thought it wasn't important to worry about until senior year. Through this program opportunity I came across, I realized how important it is to start looking at colleges early and start planning ahead. CollegeXpress has opened my eyes to what colleges require, what colleges are near me, and what they offer. The daily emails I get from CollegeXpress really help me look at the different options I have and what colleges I fit into. Without this website, I would not be taking the time out of my day to worry about what my future will be nor what opportunities I have. I could not be more grateful for such an amazing and useful website. It's thanks to CollegeXpress that not only me but my family now know how much potential I have in to getting into these colleges/universities that we thought were out of my reach.



High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has provided me with tips that were for college students, but as a high school junior, they were still very useful. Not only that, it also gave me an idea of what to expect when it comes to going to college or already being in college. I want to say thank you to CollegeXpress, and I hope you continue the wonderful tips until I hopefully get into college and throughout my college journey.



High School Class of 2023

CollegeXpress helped open me up to many colleges that fit my interests. I’m only a sophomore in high school, so I like having a lot to look at, and CX does a great job of picking colleges that meet my wants. It's a great website that I'll continue to use until it comes time for me to apply for colleges. I also like that it notifies me through email with options to look at. Thanks CX!

Elizabeth Stafford

Elizabeth Stafford

High School Class of 2021

As a UK student moving to California due to my dad's job in the military, when I first signed up for CollegeXpress a few months ago, the college process ahead seemed daunting and incredibly stressful. That all changed after I started to explore what this website had to offer. Not only was I helped by the vast array of resources available to me, but through being a CollegeXpress member, there have been so many more benefits. There have been emails with college tips—all of which I found incredibly helpful—as well as invitations to events and notifications of scholarships that'll make college possible for me. Overall, I'm very grateful to CollegeXpress for all of these things and more. Not only have they helped me grow my understanding of the college process, but they've also helped me to grow as a person, giving me new skills that I can take with me through life.

College Matches

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Gonzaga University

Spokane, WA

Suffolk University

Boston, MA

Lynn University

Boca Raton, FL

Hiram College

Hiram, OH