Six Changes to the Common Coalition for the 2019-2020 School Year

Annie Reznik, Executive Director of the Coalition, recently made a presentation to high school counselors during which she announced upcoming changes to the Coalition App. Here are six of them:

Parameters for the “main essay” will be standardized so that and individual schools can no longer have different word limits for that essay. The Coalition App allows colleges to require a “main essay” based on one of five standardized prompts, but admissions offices could choose their own word limits, so students were sometimes faced with modifying the same essay for different schools, but that will no longer be true.

There will no longer be a 550-word limit on the main essay. The Coalition App will continue to recommend a limit of 500-550 words, but students can submit an essay of any length. That means that students will be free to submit the same essay as the 650-word limit essay they’re submitting on the Common App, and that’s a major convenience. 

In concert with the two changes shown above, the Coalition app is moving the essay section into its “Profile” (non-school specific) section, so students will have to upload their main essay only one time.

Individual college-specific essays and questions will still be permitted, but they’ll be visible in advance. Prior to this change, students couldn’t see the essay prompts until they’d answered every single question in a section, and that caused needless problems. The new Coalition App will let students preview a “demo” of each school’s app, so that all member-specific essay prompts and questions can be seen early in the process and essays can be started before the balance of the questions in that section are answered.

The new Coalition App will allow SAT and SAT Subject Scores to be sent directly from the application platform to the colleges. The Coalition calls this feature “Score Send,” and it will allow students to link their Coalition App to their College Board account and have their SAT and SAT Subject Test scores sent directly to their colleges. Because they’ll be coming from the College Board, the scores will be official. The Coalition hopes to expand this to other testing agencies – e.g., the ACT – in the future.

The Coalition is also touting an improved user experience. The Coalition’sstated purpose in creating the Coalition App was to make it easier for under-resourced students to apply to college, but some of its features were not particularly easy to use. Changes that are coming in July include a streamlined dashboard for school counselors, clearer language about who qualifies for application fee waivers, and improved language in the self-reported academic record section.

These changes discussed above are currently “live” only in the “demo” version of the application, but they will become official and available to all students and users on July 1.

Dan Lipford is an Educational Consultant, Master Tutor, teacher, and Director of Special Projects for Score At The Top Learning Centers and Schools. He loves learning, empowering students, writing educational material and blogs, and reading almost everything. On occasion, he writes for pleasure, and his poetry has appeared in multiple small press journals. His Master’s degree is in Speech-Language Pathology, and he lives in Coconut Creek, FL with his wife, Barbara, and their Cairn Terrorist [Opps: Terrier] puppy, Ash. Dan can be reached at