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What Are the Common Application and Coalition Application?

Updated: May 10

The Common Application and the Coalition for College are online undergraduate applications with hundreds of participating colleges and universities, making it easier for first-time and transfer college students to apply to multiple schools without having to complete separate applications.

The Common Application came along first— in 1975—and is accepted by 800-plus colleges and universities across the U.S. and several other countries. The Coalition application launched in 2016 and is accepted by far fewer schools—around 140 institutions to date—which can mean filling out more applications than if using The Common Application platform.

However, schools on the Coalition application platform have to comply with certain criteria intended to provide underrepresented high schoolers with access to college education (such as a 10% underrepresented or minority student population, national student loan debt of less than $30,000, a loan default rate of 15% maximum, and a minimum graduation rate of 60%).

While both applications are mobile-friendly, only The Common Application has a mobile application and can send out alerts for deadline reminders. Both platforms have essay components and provide virtual counseling services.

While users can save their entries in The Common Application and the Coalition application, only the Coalition application allows long-term storage, allowing younger students to get a jump start on their essay and other documents. The Common Application requires students to roll over information entered before August 1st of their senior year of high school to preserve it as part of their application.

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