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College Application Process

Step By Step Guide: The Coalition Application

In September of 2015, more than 80 universities came together to form the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success (CAAS). Their goals were to improve access to college education, revamp the application process, and to offer an alternative to the Common Application. Only some of these schools will accept the new application this fall, and currently only one school requires it, the University of Florida. As more colleges join the CAAS, it will become important to understand the key components of the Coalition Application and how to navigate its website.
The first step in completing the Coalition Application is to go to their website, www.mycoalition.org, and create an account. Once a username and password have been created, a student begins by creating a personal profile. This includes submitting contact information, test scores, financial aid needs, academic interests, extracurricular activities, and awards. Although this is a lengthy section, once the information has been added it can be shared with any school, saving time in the long run. All information is auto-saved when the session is inactive, or when the student moves to another section.
The second step is to upload items to a locker, an online storage component. Students can add media files, essays, official documents, artwork, awards, and video by dragging and dropping them. All files remain private unless students decide to share them with mentors of their choosing, and files can be renamed or purged as needed.
After adding to the locker, students can invite their mentors to collaborate by adding them to a contact list. Once they are part of this list, mentors can comment on files and give feedback, but they cannot actually edit or make changes to the files. Mentors must also create an account in the form of a ‘supporter account’, where they specify what type of support they are offering (for example, as a teacher, guidance counselor, or parent). Once a mentor has been added as a contact, a student can click on the ‘share’ icon attached to each document, or open the document and press share, select a contact, add a short message, and share it.
The third step is to build a list of colleges of interest. On the home page, go to ‘build college list’ and click ‘add to list’ for each school. Clicking on the link icon will pull up information about a specific college. Application requirements vary, so this is an important way to find out what essays are required and what components of the personal profile and the locker will have to be submitted.
The Coalition Application offers five essay prompts, listed on its website, and requires one main essay with a 550-word limit. Colleges have the option to add more school-specific prompts, which can be found through the college list. To apply to a school on the college list, click on the ‘start application’ prompt underneath the college’s name, and follow all the links to the various application parts to complete it.
These steps will vary depending on what the college wants to ask and what type of applicant the student is.
It is important to note that the help section includes technical support and guidance resources, along with a technical support link found at the bottom of each page. In these sections, students can find articles about all aspects of the college application process and get help with test preparation and mentoring. While most schools do not require the Coalition Application, more are expected to join the CAAS soon. In the future, this may be as popular as the Common Application. It certainly doesn’t hurt to be aware of how it works!

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