How to Write the Coalition Application Essays 2016-2017

Do you know how to improve your profile for college applications?

See how your profile ranks among thousands of other students using CollegeVine. Calculate your chances at your dream schools and learn what areas you need to improve right now — it only takes 3 minutes and it's 100% free.


The 2016-2017 application cycle marks the debut of the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success application platform, commonly referred to as the Coalition Application. Like the Common Application, the Coalition Application provides a platform with which students can apply to any of its member schools with a single application, saving students the hassle of inputting the same basic information for each school to which they apply.


What distinguishes the Coalition Application from other similar platforms like the Common Application or the Universal College Application is the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success’ commitment to making college affordable and accessible for students of all socioeconomic backgrounds.


All of its 52 member colleges either provide financial aid that meets 100% of student’s demonstrated need (for private colleges) or provide low-cost tuition for in-state students (for public colleges). If you have more questions about the Coalition or their mission of affordability and accessibility, you can check out their FAQ page.


Like other shared applications, the Coalition Application has a set of essay questions, from which each student must respond to one prompt. Without further ado, we present the 2016-2017 guide to responding to the Coalition Application essay questions.


Before you begin brainstorming your essay topic, note that the Coalition Application describes the ideal essay length as 300-400 words, and strongly recommends that responses not exceed 500-550 words. Thus, essay topics should be simple enough to fit into the defined word limit, while also complex enough to offer meaningful insight into your personality, skills, and motivations.


If you find yourself struggling to fit your essay within the word count, we recommend first writing a draft without regard for word count, and then editing down until the only content remaining in your essay is that which is absolutely essential to communicating your story. If you still exceed the recommended limit, consider your sentence structure, tense usage, and word choice — you may be able to cut down your word count significantly by making slight alterations in these areas.


Looking for the 2017-2018 Essay Guides?

We'll send them to you!

Sign up below and we’ll let you know when our Essay Breakdowns for the 2017-2018 cycle are out. We’ll have how-to guides for the top 100 schools, and possibly more!

I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Anamaria Lopez
Managing Editor at CollegeVine Blog
Short bio
Anamaria is an Economics major at Columbia University who's passionate about sharing her knowledge of admissions with students facing the applications process. When she's not writing for the CollegeVine blog, she's studying Russian literature and testing the limits of how much coffee one single person can consume in a day.