9 Carolina colleges accept a new form of application


The world of college admissions is always full of surprises and changes.

Veteran parents and younger siblings of students who have been through the process before are undoubtedly familiar with the Common Application. For the newbies, it’s precisely what its name describes – a “common application” that is applicable to more than 700 colleges and universities across the country.

But there’s a new guy in town, and it’s called the Coalition Application. Coalition is short for Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success. At latest count, 119 colleges and universities have signed onto this year’s Coalition Application. This will be the first year that the new kid on the block is really a viable alternative to the Common Application.

The mission of the Coalition Application is to “increase college access and revamp the way that students apply to college.” Each member college must meet criteria such as offering affordable tuition, offering need-based aid and having a six-year graduation rate of 70 percent or higher.

The most unique aspect of the Coalition Application is the “locker.” All students are encouraged to sign up on the Coalition site as early as 9th grade so they can begin to store items in their personal locker such as artwork, English papers, videos, research, class projects, awards, etc.

These locker items can be seen only by the students who put them there until they choose to show them to a teacher or mentor. Mentors are allowed to provide comments and ask questions to guide the students in their college process. Colleges and universities don’t have access to the lockers until they are granted permission by students, typically in their senior years when they’re applying to colleges. Here’s a demo of how to use the Coalition Application locker.

The prompts on the Coalition Application are similar to the options on the Common Application. The biggest difference between the two platforms is the word limit on the essays. The Coalition Application recommends students to write an essay between 300-400 words, while the Common Application has a 650 word limit.

Here’s a list of the colleges in the Carolinas that will be using the Coalition Application this year.

In North Carolina, it’s: Davidson*, Duke*, Elon, North Carolina State*, UNC Chapel Hill* and Wake Forest*.

South Carolina colleges using the Coalition Application are: Clemson, University of South Carolina and Wofford*.

(Starred schools also accept the Common Application, so students have the choice of which application they’d prefer to use.)

Similar to the Common Application, the Coalition Application will have a main essay and member colleges will have the option to add extra, school-specific essay prompts.

The Coalition Essay Prompts 2017-18


Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.


Describe a time when you made a meaningful contribution to others in which the greater good was your focus. Discuss the challenges and rewards of making your contribution.


Has there been a time when you’ve had a long-cherished or accepted belief challenged? How did you respond? How did the challenge affect your beliefs?


What is the hardest part of being a teenager now? What’s the best part? What advice would you give a younger sibling or friend (assuming they would listen to you)?


Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.


Bierer is an independent college adviser based in Charlotte. Send questions to: lee@collegeadmissionsstrategies.com; www.collegeadmissionsstrategies.com