Coalition Application Essays 2018-2019

Updated: Jun 24


With the 2018-2019 college application season upon us, there is another shared college application besides The Common Application heading to the forefront: the Coalition for College, or Coalition application.

Since its start in 2015 for the 2016-2017 college admissions season, the Coalition for College has promoted broader, more inclusive, and more affordable access to higher education through its more personalized application process.

To date, 140 colleges and universities use the Coalition application, with more colleges adding their names to the list of the Coalition for College schools each year.

The Coalition application process allows students to compile and save a collection of their high school work over time for later use in the application process. It also connects students with counselors and other professionals to help them select colleges and work on their application essays.

Most of the Coalition application is similar to other college applications with the questions asked about academics, extracurricular activities, and standardized tests, and it also incorporates the familiar essay component. This application season’s essay prompts remained the same as those from 2017-2018 and are presented a little later in this blog.

Before you familiarize yourself with the Coalition application essay topics, it is important to know that college application essay success—regardless of the application used— hinges upon creating engaging, error-free writing infused with a strong voice, perspective, and personal growth. A winning essay incorporates self-reflection, vision, critical thinking, analysis, and projection, so colleges get a glimpse of the applicant’s thought process, plans for action, ability to learn from the past, dedication to progress, and higher-order thinking skills.

The college application essay is a writing sample that illustrates mastery of the English language, grammar, and written expression. It is also the only part of the application process that lets personality, individuality, and character shine through.

Individual colleges participating in the Coalition application can add supplemental and unique submission elements tailored to their admissions criteria, such as substituting more visually-based projects in place of the written application essay.

Here are the 2018-2019 Coalition application essay prompts, some of which are similar in many ways to The Common Application and other independent college application essay prompts in the responses they hope to solicit from applicants; other Coalition application essay prompts are unique. The Common Application has 7 prompt options, while the Coalition application has just 5.

2018-2019 Coalition Application Essay Prompts

(recommended word count: 500-550, but can vary)

  1. Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it. (think about which of your character traits you would like to highlight, then select a story that illustrates how you have fulfilled this; be reflective and be specific; choose one story so as not to lose focus or string together loosely connected details and remember to “show, don’t tell” with strong details)

  2. 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. (sincerity and commitment are key; do not sound superior or superficially string together several examples, as the prompt asks respondents to “describe a time”; be sure to show the benefit to others as well as your challenges and rewards)

  3. 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? (this essay is more of a risk, which can be a good thing when looking to stand out from other applicants; be sure to show your evolution and how your beliefs changed; be introspective and include critical thinking and self-examination; it is okay to choose a controversial topic as long as you discuss it with respect and maturity)

  4. 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)? (this prompt should include something specific to your generation and the times in which you are growing up, as opposed to challenges and benefits experienced by other generations; again, be sure to address all 3 questions; perhaps discuss the positives and negatives of one crucial topic teens face today, like social media)

  5. Submit an essay on a topic of your choice. (this prompt lends itself to using an essay written for another application; however, avoid being too general in your prompt and maintain focus; it may be best to choose something that shows personal growth and projects to your future dedication to learning—what did you learn from a mistake or failure, for example; take readers through your journey and discuss your lessons learned)

No matter the prompt you select, be sure to address all parts of the prompt/questions asked. Be creative in your topic selection and make sure your response showcases what makes you YOU!


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- Christa