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FAQ for the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success

What exactly is the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success?

The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success is a diverse group of public and private institutions dedicated to improving college planning and college access for students. The Coalition is working to reshape the college admission process and will continue to seek opportunities to improve the college search experience for everyone involved. Part of that journey is providing an integrated platform that students can begin using as early as 9th grade to research college options, prepare a portfolio of materials, and work with counselors and mentors to refine those materials.

Why was the Coalition created?

Research shows that high-achieving, low-income students often do not apply to any selective colleges or universities, despite the fact that these institutions could cost them less due to more generous financial aid packages. As a result, some of the most highly qualified students attending colleges are not engaging their full potential. In response, the federal government and the White House are asking colleges and universities to expand college opportunity, especially for disadvantaged students who often have access to fewer resources. We have chosen to join the Coalition in part to play a role in furthering college access for these studentsnot just to Colorado College but to increase opportunity overall. 

How do institutions qualify?

The Coalition launched with roughly 90 schools, but it is anticipated that more schools will join in the future. In order to be part of the Coalition, institutions must meet certain standards:

  • Must have a stable 70 percent graduation rate
  • Must provide an affordable education:
    • Public schools must provide low-cost tuition to in-state students
    • Private schools meet domestic students’ full demonstrated need.

Which other schools are part of the Coalition?

You can see which schools are members of the Coalition here.

Why did Colorado College become a member of the Coalition?

Colorado College is one of a limited number of institutions in the country that commit to meeting 100 percent of demonstrated family need. CC seeks a highly qualified and diverse student body. For this reason, we offer a strong financial aid program that enables students from all economic backgrounds to enroll. We feel strongly that the goals of the Coalition align with our own institutional goals, and look forward to a strong partnership.

What’s the difference between the Common App and the Coalition App?

The Coalition platform consists of four portions: the personal profile; the Virtual Locker; the Collaboration Space; and the College Exploration and Application Portal. While the Common App contains a profile and the ability to apply to multiple colleges from one main source, the Coalition App adds the Virtual Locker and Collaboration Space. The locker allows students to upload media and share it with mentors, counselors, or schools, which in turn allows for feedback and mentorship through the Collaboration Space. The Coalition Application also offers assistance and virtual college counseling, a particularly useful function for students who lack access to strong college counseling.

Can I still apply to Colorado College with the Common Application?

Absolutely. Colorado College will continue to accept the Common Application and the QuestBridge application, as well as the new Coalition Application. CC offers multiple methods of applying and does not, nor will ever, have a preference of one application platform over another. 

How much will it cost to apply with the Coalition App?

The Virtual Locker, the Collaboration Space, and the Application platform of the Coalition App are all free to students. There is no application fee to apply to Colorado College.

What are the Coalition Application essay prompts?

The prompts are:

  • Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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)?
  • Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.

You can learn more on the Coalition web site

Does the Coalition App work for schools that use Naviance?

Yes. The Coalition recognizes that Naviance (among others) is used widely by many schools, and is in active discussion with Naviance about integrating their tools.

Can I only find out about the colleges that are part of the Coalition?

The Coalition platform offers information and links for a large number of schools, both member institutions and non-member institutions that are not. Students can use the platform tool to research any schools that interest them, build a list of schools of interest, indicate their level of interest, and choose to share their information with schools/receive information from those school. 

What is the Locker?

The Locker is basically an online tool that allows students to upload files—documents, videos, or other media—that document academic and extracurricular achievements. Materials in the Locker are kept strictly private unless a students chooses to share items with counselors, mentors, or with schools at will. 

Why should I use the Locker?

The Locker allows students to save all their materials in one place; to chart their own growth over four years; to solicit input and assistance from counselors, teachers, and mentors; and to provide materials to their chosen college during the application period. 

What do I put in my Locker?

Students should upload documents that have value to them, whether finished or unfinished: academic documents, essays, written work, extracurricular activities, multi-media projects, visual arts, or music projects. Students should use the locker to reflect on their own growth and capacity. When it is time to apply, member institutions will provide parameters of what they will or will not accept. In addition, lockers can securely contain and deliver letters of recommendation and transcripts, without divulging the contents to the student him/herself.

What is the Collaboration Space?

The Collaboration Space is a meeting place where students can connect with counselors, mentors, teachers, or others who can offer feedback and support. It also allows students and counselors to communicate quickly with Coalition schools. 

Do you have resources for counselors?

Counselors, mentors, and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) can learn more about their role with the Coalition App and access special resources at http://www.coalitionforcollegeaccess.org/mentors.html.