Common App vs Coalition App: Which is Better?

Filling out applications for several colleges can be laborious and time-consuming. The most tedious part is filling in those basic personal details over and over again. One way to avoid this is by using the Common App or the Coalition App.

With both of these apps, you fill out your personal information and accomplishments only once. These details are then sent out to all the colleges on your list. You don’t have to fill in the details individually for each college. But which is better? In the Common App vs Coalition App, who wins?

Laptop icon with two arrow signs, each saying "Choice."

What Are the Common and Coalition Applications?

The Common App is better known of the two and is the app of choice for a larger number of colleges. But that’s only because it is older than the two. The Common App was created in 1975. Established in 2015, the Coalition App is relatively new but is catching up in popularity. More and more colleges have started using it in recent years.

Both applications are free to use and are similar in the way they work. Just as important, neither one will give you an edge with your admissions. They just facilitate the process and make it easier for you. 

Despite their similarities, there are a few differences that set the two apps apart. Understanding the pros and cons of each will help you choose one that is better suited to your needs.

Common App Pros & Cons

Let’s start with the classic Common App.


  • It is accepted by a larger number of institutions as compared to the Coalition.
  • Students can choose from a larger number of essay prompts.
  • The rollover feature makes it easy for students to start working on their application early and save the filled-in information.


  • Students do not have the locker tool facility that the Coalition App offers.
  • Because of the larger number of students using it, the interface can run slowly especially around application deadlines. 

Coalition Application Pros & Cons

And now, onto the newcomer—the Coalition App.


  • The Coalition app puts more emphasis on affordability. They only feature colleges that offer affordable tuition and sufficient financial aid.
  • Students get access to a locker tool where they can store important admissions-related documents such as essays, score sheets, and recommendations.
  • Students can add people such as parents, teachers, or mentors to their account.


  • Fewer colleges accept this app.
  • The interface is a little more difficult to navigate.

Common App vs Coalition App: Which One Should You Choose?

The Coalition App is the preferred tool for low-income students looking for affordable tuition and better financial aid packages. It also helps students stay organized by storing important information.

However, if you are looking for a well-established tool that offers more essay prompts and is accepted by a larger number of colleges, then the Common App is for you.

Of course, colleges may accept neither. In that case, traditional is the way to go. Check up on the requirements for the colleges on your list before you make a decision.

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