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College Applications

There are three main types of college applications: The Coalition, Common App, and individual school applications

Coalition and Common Applications

The Coalition and Common App allow you to fill out one profile (personal information, classes, grades, personal statement, etc.) and use it to apply to many colleges. Each college may have their own additional questions, but you will not have to fill out all your profile information over and over again.

There are similarities and differences between the Coalition and Common Apps.  Things they have in common are they are both free to use (although some colleges charge a fee to apply), accept fee waivers, and ask very similar information about you (personal information, demographics, contact info, school info, etc.)

Importantly, the PERSONAL STATEMENT you write is used on BOTH Coalition and Common Applications.  You only write ONE personal statement for all colleges.

Differences between the applications are:

Differences Coalition Application Common Application
Colleges 140+ colleges, including UW Seattle and UW Bothell 900+ colleges, including most private colleges in Washington
Academics Must enter all classes and grades earned from 9th-12th grade Submit transcript and only enter senior year classes
Activities 8 activities – 225 character max for descriptions 10 activities – 150 character max for descriptions
Recommendations Harder for teachers and counselors to use Easier for teachers and counselors to use
Comparison of Coalition and Common Application sections

Individual College / University Applications

There are still many colleges and universities that do not use either of these shared applications. These colleges will have a link on their admissions website where you can apply online, answer their own questions, and submit their own essays (if required).

Personal Statement Prompts

The Coalition and Common app include different prompts, but there are three prompts that are essentially the same for both. If you are considering schools on both applications, focus on one of these three (summarized below):

  1. Tell a story from your life that defines or shaped your character. (UW Seattle’s only prompt)
  2. Discuss a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea (Common App), or had a long-cherished or accepted belief challenged (Coalition App).
  3. Submit an essay topic of your choice.