Ultimate Guide to the Coalition Application (Coalition for College)

Check out the website for the Coalition Application. You can actually open an account as early as your freshman year, as the system allows you to add information to your "Locker" during your high school career which then transfers to your application once you are a senior.

Remember that there is the Common App and then there is the Coalition Application. This is because some schools only accept one or the other. Additionally, because of this, your research when making a college list is extremely important. 🤩

📂 Your Application Tracker

The Nitty-Gritty

  • Make an account
  • Personal information
  • Contact information
  • Demographic information
  • Citizenship information
  • Family information
  • High school information
  • Coursework

The Details

  • SAT/ACT test upload
  • Honors and distinctions
  • Activities and experiences

Resume Upload

  • Build and add your resume if it adds additional information to what your application already has
  • Use sites like Canva and flowcv.io to create free and high-quality resumes.

✏️ Prompts and Tips

Essay prompts for the Coalition Application change every year, and they have been released for 2021-2022!

Choosing what to write about is no easy task, but it can help to think about what you feel is and isn't accurately displayed in the Nitty Gritty of your application. Do you want to talk more about challenges that you have overcome, lessons for the youth, or helping others? Let's work together to make the prompts work for you.

🙂 Prompt 1


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

Choose this prompt if...

  • You've faced and overcame hardship
  • You want a chance to explain a low GPA, test scores, or low academic rigor by discussing troubles outside of school.
  • You have taken on your own challenges and put your values before ease.


  • Pick your focus early! Do you want to tell a story of personal hardship that you overcame due to quality characteristics that you want to highlight, or was there a personal epiphany in your life that developed you personally? Try and pick one, and stick with it.
  • Simple is better! Keep your story to the point, and try to avoid including any unnecessary information that might distract from the tale of you. Remember, you are the focus of these essays, and it's ok to be selfish here! Don't exaggerate hardships or curate events to appear better on paper, but when writing about painful experiences, don't leave out key parts.
  • Make sure to use strong descriptive language and adjectives when describing your personal growth and how you got there. Substitute words like "difficult" for more precise nomenclature, like "insurmountable".

🤝 Prompt 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.

Choose this prompt if...

  • You have prioritized others over yourself.
  • You want to highlight volunteer hours or community service.
  • You have a special interest in helping others.


  • Context is important! In this prompt, you will have to outline how you helped others, and the time frame can be extremely relevant to that. If you contributed to a social movement, make sure to lay out the relevance of beginning your involvement in a specific month or year.
  • Nearly every person has volunteered or helped in some way, whether it be participating in a charity organization or simply donating change to someone in need. How do your actions set you apart from the crowd? Make sure to highlight a unique contribution or connection.
  • How does your involvement tie in with the institution that you are applying to? If you have a special interest in something charitable or generally focused on the greater good, outline how admissions officers can help be a part of your journey and mission. Don't be afraid to connect with the person reading your essay, especially if you've already met your counselor.

🤔 Prompt 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?

Choose this prompt if...

  • You hold an often controversial belief strongly.
  • You want to highlight religious involvement or contribution.
  • An aspect of your personality is explained or displayed in your beliefs.


  • Determine what makes your belief controversial. Prompts like these may encourage students to write about politics or hot-button topics, but be careful when directly expressing a far-right or far-left opinion. If you want to write about politics, take a step back and make sure that you are writing purely about a political opinion.
  • Stay away from mission trip essays. Unless you have a particularly stirring or important involvement in international religious travel, chances are that admissions officers have heard the story a hundred times. If you do decide to address a religiously-motivated trip, make sure that your writing has no undertones alluding to a sense of superiority.
  • Focus your essay on the positive! Controversial topics often can be slightly risky due to the fact that you never know the exact opinions of who is reading. To make your essay more palatable to everyone, use a positive tone and try to highlight the benefits and good things that have occurred.

🤓 Prompt 4


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

Choose this prompt if...

  • You struggled immensely in a time period due to outside pressures.
  • You have faced or contributed to social change.
  • You want to highlight helping younger generations.


  • What is different now than when other generations went through the same education? Make sure to highlight and explain any differences relevant to your essay, even if you think they are self-explanatory.
  • Focus on something relevant to your application and past. If you think that mental health challenges facing youth today are exponentially worse than in past years, discuss your own battles and offer personal insight into your character and struggles.

Check out these other guides that you might need.