A Guide to Filling Out the Coalition Application

Application Strategies
March 2, 2020
The Coalition Application Is A Powerful And Extensive Tool Students Can Use To Succeed In Their Admissions Journey…

Yet, it can be incredibly confusing to navigate due to simply how much students can do with it. Fortunately, students who take the time to learn how to use this accessibility-focused application can make their college application process go much more smoothly.

Because so many different colleges accept the Coalition Application, it can cut down on the amount of time students spend sending applications, freeing up time to review essays and make college visits. We’ve done the research to help you understand this complex college application tool and outlined the basics of the Coalition Application below, so keep reading!

What You’ll Find In This Article

What Is The Coalition Application?

The Coalition Application is a web-based online portal that allows you to fill out one central application that can be submitted to multiple schools. It was created after a coalition of schools came together with the purpose of helping students who are often disadvantaged during the college admissions process.

A huge focus of the Coalition Application is on making college accessible and affordable for all students. The over 150 different colleges who make up the coalition do this through supporting student success and offering comprehensive financial aid. The Coalition has a fee waiver built into the application system itself, making it easier than ever for students to handle the financial aspects of applying for college.

What's The Difference: The Coalition Versus Common Application

While the Coalition Application shares many of the same features as the Common Application, such as a section for extracurricular activities and space for essay essays, it has its own unique components that students should be familiar with. Because of this, the Coalition Application is often considered more complex than the Common Application, but that doesn’t necessarily make one “better” than the other.

The Virtual Locker is one of the biggest differences between the Coalition Application and other application types. This section of your Coalition Application acts as a place you can use starting in your freshman year to keep track of your achievements. By using the Virtual Locker early and often, you can better prepare yourself for when you eventually sit down to complete your Coalition Application in full.

In addition to keeping track of your extracurricular activities and achievements via the Virtual Locker, the Coalition Application is unique in that it allows students to list their “family commitments”. This is yet another way the application reaches out to students often at a disadvantage due to family circumstances keeping them from participating in school-based extracurricular activities.

How To Fill Out The Coalition Application

Filling out your Coalition Application involves many different parts. You’ll need to have access to everything from your transcripts to your extracurricular activities, so make sure you start filling out your application as soon as possible. Not only is this good for avoiding burnout, it gives you time to address anything that goes wrong.

There are several steps to completing your Coalition Application and it can take several days to go through the application. It generally makes sense to go in order, so make sure you have all your information before you sit down to work on the application. In fact, you will not be allowed to complete any school-specific applications without a 100% completed profile first.

  1. Fill out your basic biographical information in your profile
  2. Request official documents through the application
  3. Add in your extracurricular activities to your profile
  4. With a 100% complete profile, tackle school-specific application parts
  5. Attach your school-specific essays
  6. Check your information, school-specific answers, and essays before finishing

To start filling out your Coalition Application, you need to complete your profile. This is just basic information and can be filled out as soon as you create an account on the Coalition website. Once you’ve completed your profile, you can move on to the documentation parts of your application. You can request official transcripts and letters of recommendation from your counselor via the web-based application itself.

Make sure you do this step with plenty of time for your busy guidance counselors and teachers to complete your request.

From here, you’ll begin working on the school-specific parts of your application. You’ll be given the opportunity to answer questions one by one, meaning you won’t be able to skip ahead to see possible essay prompts. When it comes time to upload your essay, you’ll place it in your Virtual Locker, where you can then assign it to the proper college essay prompt from the application itself.

4 Coalition Application Tips And Tricks

The Coalition Application can feel like a daunting task, yet there are ways to approach the application that make it easier to handle. If you take the time to learn how the Coalition Application works and start filling it out with plenty of time before your deadlines, you can make your way through this complex application with ease!


While the prestige of many Coalition Application schools may tempt you to spend a large amount of time perfecting your application, don’t neglect to spend time on the Common Application as well. The Common App is much more widely accepted and equally important to your success in the college admissions process, so paying attention to both is worth the effort.

There are certain phases of both the Coalition and Common applications that can be beneficial to complete either at the same time or back-to-back. If you fill out your basic information, grade history, and extracurricular activities for both applications in the same session, you can save yourself a large amount of time. If you’re filling out parts of your applications with your college counselor, doing this essential step by yourself can help you maximize your time with your counselor too.


As we mentioned earlier, the Coalition Application does not allow students to complete any college-specific questions without a 100% completed profile first. Therefore, students need to focus on this part of their application from the start. Once you’ve finished your profile, you can move on to the specific questions for each of the colleges you’d like to apply to.

Remember, you don’t need to wait for applications to open before you fill out the profile section of the Coalition application either. The sooner you complete your profile, the more time you’ll have to focus on the college-specific portions of your application.


The Virtual Locker acts as a convenient digital backup for your extracurricular achievements. The fact that you can showcase items directly from your locker in your applications makes it a no-brainer to use this feature. As soon as you open your Coalition account, start uploading files and achievements from your extracurricular activities. This will cut down on the amount of time you spend tracking down achievements later as you sit down to fill out your college-specific applications.

However, keep in mind that it’s possible to include too much in your college application. Stick to only uploading the highlights, such as the most unique activities or other achievements you consider central to your personal story. International students are especially prone to including too many extras in their applications, so be careful to attach only the best achievements in your locker.


One of the most critical concepts you need to remember as you fill out any college application is the importance of “telling your story.” Every student has a story ,whether you think you do or not. If you’re struggling to find ideas for your story, ask yourself questions like:

  • What parts of your background have affected your education the most?
  • How have you grown throughout four years of high school? What do you have left to learn?
  • What are your goals for the future? How do you plan to get there?
  • What drives your academic interests?
  • How do you plan on changing the world around you? How have you already done this?

Do your best to focus on answers you can highlight through the work you’ve already done, both inside and outside of the classroom. If you’ve overcome hardships or unique circumstances, do your best to look for the story in those facts. When your college application tells a story, it’s easier for college admission officials to get a clear picture of who you are and what you’d bring to their campus.

Your Coalition Application Is Important

As you fill out the Coalition Application, it’s easy to become frustrated by the unique quirks of the app. However, part of the reason that the application is designed this way is so that you take your time. Your college application deserves to be approached with care over the course of several days or even weeks. With a careful attention to detail, you can perfect your Coalition Application and showcase your story to college admission officials.

Of course, even when you take a long look at something, it’s difficult to catch your own mistakes and improve your own work. If you’re looking for an outside expert to help perfect your Coalition Application, please reach out to one of our WeAdmit counselors. We know how to help you work through this complex application, make the most of your essays and achievements, and put the Virtual Locker to good use. We’d love to use our knowledge to make your dreams of attending college become a reality…

No Matter What Story Your Application Tells!



Need more Information?

Gain all the information you need by getting in touch with our admissions team or booking a free 30-minute counseling session.