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Common applications for college aren’t new, but the Coalition’s Application is and it’s arrival is ushering in a new era of college applications. Colleges and universities must be members (that’s not new), but this membership focus is on sustained graduation rates, attendance affordability, and tools to help students navigate and store the materials the need for their applications.

From their member list site:

Members of the Coalition include a diverse group of public and private universities. Coalition schools provide substantial support to lower–resourced and underrepresented students, offer responsible student financial aid support, and demonstrate a commitment to student graduation. The Coalition has signed up over 90 schools so far, and more partners continue to join.

Who are members? If you visit their website http://www.coalitionforcollegeaccess.org/, you’ll find the most competitive colleges in the nation on the list. Additionally, you’ll find flagship public universities.

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The Coalition provides a Locker for students to upload and store materials they will need for their college applications. Students can open a Locker early in their high school career and add materials along their journey. There’s a collaboration space for teachers, counselors, and students to interact so that the student has help. There’s also a system in place so that counselors can invite and manage students as they navigate their college planning experience. What’s especially helpful are videos in place to help students, teachers, and counselors navigate their way through the system. Always helpful! Want to learn more? There’s even a FAQ site. http://www.coalitionforcollegeaccess.org/faq.html

The Coalition has its own set of essay prompts for students that the participating institutions have approved. One goal of the Coalition’s common application was to build an application system that is easy and intuitive for students. If colleges require additional information, it’s listed on the member’s site as well as the application. From their FAQ section:  The platform tools—the Locker, a Collaboration Space, and an Application Portal—seek to recast the process of applying to college as the culmination of students’ development over the course of their high school careers. The Coalition tools have been designed to help students craft their individual narrative incrementally and well in advance of filing an application.

Truth is I’m all for systems that make the college application process easier for students. It’s stressful enough without experiencing technology issues. Students are supposed to be able to interact with the system via tablets and smartphones as well as using an old-fashioned computer. This is especially helpful to students who may not have Internet access at home.

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As I was looking through their materials, what struck me was their commitment to leveling the college application field. They openly discuss fee waivers for college applications instead of it being something that students seek out from counselors – and requires knowledge that they can seek out waivers. The Coalition doesn’t limit college applications fee waivers to four as College Board started with the SAT.

While the Coalition doesn’t have a hard and fast definition for attendance affordability, they’re committed to seeing that colleges are providing financial aid awards that don’t burden the student with debt upon graduation. Translation – it’s not a scenario where a student is accepted to college but it’s going to COST big money.

I’m excited about what they are doing for students. How about you?