Update on the Coalition for Access for 2017-2018

The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success was launched with much fanfare in 2015 by a group of colleges and universities, including a number of the most highly selective institutions, in order to establish a better alternative to the Common Application, which was perceived by administrators in these schools to have had certain deficiencies. However, due to the negative reaction from much of the college admissions community, the Coalition has since toned down its message and assumed a more conciliatory approach to college admissions reform.

After surviving a difficult year in 2016, it now appears that the Coalition and its new online application platform will get past its startup hiccups and may yet succeed in its long-term mission to, “improve the college application process for all students as they search for and apply to the perfect college”.

Last year, only 49 of the 95 members of the Coalition were able to interface with its online platform for the 2016-2017 admissions cycle. All 95 of those members are expected to be operational by the 2017-2018 iteration of the cycle that begins this summer. Since the Coalition revised its membership eligibility guidelines, it has added 46 additional members, bringing the total at this time up to 151 institutions.

By May 1, Coalition management will announce even more new members. They’ll also identify which members will be operational for this year’s applicants. To date, new 2017 members include the five Ivy League schools that didn’t join last year; Brown, Dartmouth, Penn, Cornell, and Princeton. Smith, Bates, Vassar and Wellesley are also among the institutions that have joined this year. The full list of new 2017 members is provided below.

New Members of the Coalition for Access in 2017

Bates College Brown University Bryn Mawr College
College of New Jersey Colorado College College of William & Mary
Connecticut College Cornell University Franklin & Marshall College
Florida State Univ. Dartmouth College Olin College of Engineering
Grinnell College Haverford College Georgia Institute of Technology
Illinois State University Smith College Miami University of Ohio
Michigan State University Middlebury College Mount Holyoke College
Oberlin College Ohio State University Princeton University
Ramapo College Skidmore College James Madison University
SUNY – Buffalo University of Georgia Univ. of Ill. – Urbana-Champagne
Univ. of MD – College Park University of Missouri University of Mary Washington
Univ. of New Hampshire University of Minnesota University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
University of Pennsylvania University of Richmond Univ. of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
University of Vermont Vassar College Univ. of Virginia – Charlottesville
Wellesley College Wesleyan University University of Washington
Virginia Polytechnic Institute

Most of the members of the Coalition will accept the Coalition App in addition to the Common App. They’ll continue to run both platforms simultaneously in the foreseeable future so that students can choose which application to use. Exceptions include the Universities of Florida, Maryland, and Washington, which have announced that they’ll accept only the Coalition App for the 2017-2018 admissions year. There are over 500 institutions that will accept only the Common App.

According to Annie Reznik, the Executive Director of the Coalition, a significant issue last year was the inability to communicate to students that the Coalition App supports applications to many schools and that fees may be waived. She stated that, for the upcoming year, “I am particularly concerned with improving this awareness and understanding for students who use the Coalition App.”

A hindrance to increased membership last year was the perceived unfairness of the Coalition’s eligibility requirements. In response to these concerns, the Coalition formed a Membership Task Force in late 2016. The Task Force recommended new eligibility standards that were approved by the membership and made effective on January 1, 2017. This has encouraged renewed growth in the membership.

The Coalition’s online application platform has been operational since last year and members who haven’t already done so may implement their interface to it whenever it suits them.​ As is the case with the Common App, the Coalition’s App supports the individual admissions processes and deadlines of each member. ​From a student’s perspective, the application and its “tools” are structured the same as last year, including the same five essay prompts.

Alas, the Coalition App, although intended to make the admissions process simpler, has actually made it more complicated, especially regarding admission to the most highly selective institutions. By hiring an IvySelect college admissions consultant, you’ll have expert guidance through the strategies, practices, and processes that are needed to gain admission to Ivy League schools and other elite, highly competitive institutions.

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