College Bound High Schoolers: Relieve Stress with New College Application Form?

College bound high schoolers:  starting to think about applying to college?  Make room on your desk next to the Common Application for a new college application from the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success.  For over a decade, the Common Application has been the major application source for college bound students. Over 600 schools currently accept the Common Application. All that is about to change in 2016 when the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success offers a college application alternative, which the creators hope will mean new opportunities rather than new headaches for college bound high school students.

Schools that accept the Coalition application will also continue to accept the Common Application. For schools that accept both the Coalition application and the Common Application, students will choose their application preference, just like students choose whether to submit the ACT and/or SAT to schools that accept both. According to their press release here, the Coalition will make the application available this July 2016 at

The Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success was created because some colleges acted on their concerns with the Common Application. For example, a technical glitch in the Common Application (like the one that occurred in 2013) could paralyze the application process for member colleges. Also, according to InsideHigherEd, “Some admissions experts have questioned whether … [the Common Application] has homogenized college admissions.” In other words, when all colleges have similar questions, students can’t necessarily tell as easily the “personality” of that school — if that school is right for them, and if they are right for the school.

The Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success is more than just a new method of applying to college. It seeks to help students prepare their college applications over four years and in particular, assist low income and first-generation students in applying to college. Over 80 colleges, including Harvard, Yale, The University of Chicago, The University of Michigan and Michigan State University will now accept an application submitted from the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success.

Interesting Features of the Coalition Application:

  • “The Locker” – Students will be able to upload documents including high school papers, images, and videos to their “Locker,” to use in their application if needed. Colleges will not be able to access a student’s locker without permission.
  • “The Collaboration Space – Students can invite counselors and mentors here to provide feedback and advice on items from their Locker. Counselors and mentors will be able to view and comment only on items their students have selected to share.
  • Essay Questions: Both the Common Application and the Coalition Application have their own set of essay questions.   Any student will be able to use their Common Application essay for the Coalition essay, because the Coalition essay questions include a topic of your choice.  Read more about the Common Application Essay Questions here.  The Coalition essay options (choose one) include:
  1. Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.
  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.
  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?
  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)?
  5. Submit an essay on a topic of your choice. One of the ideas for these is to find a problem, says Janine Robinson.

The coalition application will be available in July, 2016. For now, students can use the Locker, the Collaboration Space, college search for Coalition member institutions, and guidance and advising resources.

Guidance Resources for College Bound Students Include:

Selective College Admissions

  • Finding the Right Fit I: Characteristics to Consider
  • Finding the Right Fit II: Types of Schools
  • Finding the Right Fit III: Researching Schools
  • Finding the Right Fit IV: Building a College List
  • How Do I Apply?
  • When Do I Apply?

Financial Aid

  • Calculating Your Education Costs
  • Financing Your Education
  • Financial Aid Packages
  • How to Apply for Need-Based Financial Aid

College Bound Guidance by Year: Freshman

  • Attending a College Fair
  • Why Go To College?
  • Affording College
  • Selecting Freshman Year Classes
  • Thinking about Standardized Testing
  • Joining Extracurricular Activities

College Bound Guidance by Year: Sophomore

  • How Do I Improve My College-Readiness?
  • Your Counselor as a Resource
  • The Parent’s Responsibilities in the Admissions Process
  • Getting to Know Colleges: Web Research and College Fairs
  • Starting to Build Your College List
  • Attending a College Fair

College Bound Guidance by Year: Junior

  • Junior Year Action Items
  • How Do Colleges View Early Graduation from High School?
  • The Importance of Extracurricular Activities
  • Navigating a College Fair
  • Questions to Ask at a College Fair
  • Visiting Colleges

College Bound Guidance by Year: Senior

  • Senior Year Action Items
  • Making the Most of Your College Visits
  • How Many Schools Should I Apply To?
  • Things to Know Before You Start Your Applications
  • Applying Early Decision (or Early Action)
  • Applying Regular Decision


  • Recruiting Terminology You Should Know
  • Recruitment Questions To Ask
  • Collegiate Sports Recruitment Timeline
  • Can I Get an Athletics Scholarship?
  • Can I Become a Professional Athlete?

Curious to learn more? Go to

[Need more assistance with writing your story or your college application essay?  Would you like to work with an award-winning writer who helps businesses, authors and students tell their story in a compelling, meaningful way?  Write Debbie ]

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