Coalition vs. Common App — Interview with Sylvia Vukosavljevic, College Admissions Consultant, Veritas Prep



TUN sits down with Sylvia Vukosavljevic, a college admissions consultant with Veritas Prep, to discuss if students should use the Common App or the Coalition App for their college applications. 

TUN: Sylvia, thanks so much for joining us. 

VUKOSAVLJEVIC: Thanks, Jackson.

To start off, what is the Common App?

The Common App is short for the Common Application. It’s the most widely filled-out college application platform. Essentially, it’s a platform where students can complete up to 20 applications online. 

It’s also the most extensive college application platform. It covers 900 colleges and universities in both the United States and even abroad. So, most students will actually use the Common App as a kind of standard tool in the admissions application process. 

Students cannot submit the same exact application for every school that they apply to. Every school has a different version. Most colleges do require students to submit supplemental materials along with the mandatory materials for the Common App. 

It’s free to use. Some schools will require you to submit an application fee when you apply to them and others won’t. The Common App will let you sort the different kinds of schools. 

Great. So, now the other side. What is the Coalition App?

Same kind of thing. The Coalition App is very comparable to the Common App. It’s a platform that you can use to apply to different schools. 

It doesn’t actually cover as many schools. I think about 200 schools are on the Coalition App today, versus almost 900 of the Common App. So, if you’re planning on applying to many, many different schools, the Common App is actually a good starting point. If for whatever reason your school is not on the Common App, it’s good to check the Coalition App. 

The Coalition App is relatively new. It was launched in 2016. Essentially, it’s a free platform to use, like the Common App. Schools that are trying to create accessibility and affordability for lower-income students actually all are on the Coalition App. So, for students who really need a lot of financial aid, it’s possible that the Coalition App might be a better way to go.

Great. So, are there any other specific differences between the Common App and the Coalition App? For example, is either the Coalition App or the Common App easier to fill out?

The Common App is a lot easier. It is a lot more intuitive. If you could only choose one app platform, I would definitely suggest that you go with the Common App. The Coalition App can be a little bit of a sticky wicket in terms of just managing the upload of materials and things like that. 

The Common App is a lot more user-friendly, and students tend to really feel that it’s much more enjoyable to apply through the Common App. 

Some schools like The University of Washington, Seattle only accept the Coalition App. The University of Texas, Austin is on the Coalition App and Apply Texas. So for those schools, students are kind of forced into using the Coalition App. A lot of schools in Virginia are on the Coalition App, for whatever reason. So, for those schools, you’d have to use the Coalition App. But whenever there is a choice, I think the Common App is a lot easier and more user-friendly.

Great. So, do you have any other advice or tips to offer students that I skipped over? 

If you’re really thinking about completing one application, the Common App might be the best application possible. It covers a lot of schools. So, if you’re trying to make it seamless, go with the Common App, if it’s at all possible. 

The other thing that I would say is that not every single school is on the Common App or the Coalition App. Some schools are not on either of them. So, if you’re applying to UC Berkeley, UCLA or any of the Cal State schools, you would want to go to a different application platform called the University of California Application or Cal State Apply. 

So, it’s important to kind of do your research and figure out which applications are going to work for you.  

Great. Thanks, Sylvia, for joining us today. 

Sure. You’re welcome.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

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