The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success

As summer kicks off, rising juniors and seniors are turning their attention to the college admissions process (along with some well-deserved days of rest). Nationally, our country is also focusing on promoting college access – as well as persistence to degree – through multiple measures, ranging from court rulings to application changes. In talking with our students, a related question has emerged: “I’ve heard of something called ‘the Coalition’; what is that, and how will it affect my applications?” As always, CollegePrep360 is here to help.

What is the Coalition?

The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success is a group – literally, a coalition – of 90+ colleges and universities committed to “improve the college admission application process for all students.” Their theory of action is that if a simplified “toolkit” is provided to all students interested in college admission (with emphasis on those from under-resourced schools, areas, and/or families), and all applicants are empowered to begin creating an online portfolio earlier in their high school career, then access to  member colleges will increase and obstacles to attaining a degree will diminish. 

What schools are in the Coalition?

The Coalition has enlisted 90+ institutions, including all eight Ivies as well as many other selective (and less-selective) institutions. Public and private schools are represented; there is geographic diversity along with variation in size and classification (e.g., research versus liberal arts). All members must be “affordable,” via tuition rates and/or available aid. Is your school on the list? Find out here!

What does it offer?

The Coalition offers free online tools for learning about member colleges, building a virtual “locker” in which students can store writing samples, artwork, videos, and awards (shared with counselors and/or admissions officers at will), and guidance on fee waivers. The locker is intended to help students submit “unconventional” materials that showcase their talents and interests.

What does this mean for my applications?

The Coalition has its own application portal; much like the Common App, information input into the Coalition application will be auto-filled for any school to which students apply via the platform. Many Coalition schools require an application form, main essay, and potentially supplemental essays.  58 institutions plan to accept the Coalition application in 2016/17. Some Coalition members will only accept the Coalition application; others will accept applications form multiple platforms, including the Common App. Given the newness of the Coalition portal, we encourage students to continue using the Common App and individual school applications; this can help reduce technological complications, and promote cross-school essay relevance. 

Main takeaway

As you engage in the college admissions process, be sure to check each school’s website to understand what application platforms to use – Coalition, Common App, individual school portals, etc. While we don’t yet have effectiveness data on Coalition tools, CollegePrep360 advisors are following the portal's development closely, and will continue counseling all our students on the best strategies for application planning, development, and submission.