coalition essay prompts

Coalition Essay Prompts 2023-2024

Over 100 schools across the United States accept the Coalition for College Access Application and its affiliated Coalition essay prompts. This fast-growing application platform aims to improve access to college and simplify the application process. Firstly, students simply sign up for an account through their partner website Scoir. Then, they can apply to any of the Coalition application schools they want. 

One of the most important parts of the Coalition Application is the Coalition Application essay. The Coalition Application essay is a personal statement designed to help Coalition Application schools get to know their applicants better. Students can choose between six different Coalition essay prompts. These are similar to the Common App prompts, but not identical. 

In this article, we will walk you through the differences between the Coalition essay prompts and the Common App prompts. We’ll then examine each of the Coalition essay prompts in detail and provide advice on how to answer each prompt individually. Finally, we’ll share some general Coalition Application essay advice and talk about what makes the best college admissions essays stand out.

What is the Coalition Application?

coalition essay prompts

Before we dive deeper into the Coalition Application essay, let’s talk about what the Coalition Application is. The Coalition Application is simply a platform that allows students to share the same application information with multiple colleges. Although each college may have its own supplemental questions, the Coalition Application allows students to share demographic information, academic records, and extracurricular activities with multiple colleges. Their mission is to make college more accessible to every student. As such, they also offer fee waivers and extensive online resources to make it easier to apply to college.

Additionally, the Coalition Application includes the Coalition Application essay. However, not all Coalition Application schools require the Coalition Application essay. But many of the top schools do. The Coalition essay prompts give students a choice in how to respond to the Coalition Application essay. Therefore, each of the prompts will help you show off your writing ability and personal character to the Coalition Application schools.

Coalition Application vs. Common Application

coalition essay prompts

The Coalition Application has much in common with a similar application platform, the Common Application. The Common App prompts look a lot like the Coalition essay prompts. Additionally, both platforms allow students to choose their own topic if they want. Like the Common Application, the Coalition App essay word limit is around 650 words, and the Coalition essay format is also a personal statement.

While there are many similarities, there are also some key differences between the Coalition Application and Common Application. For example, the Coalition Application has a more informal interface with messages that teach applicants how to complete each section. They also include emojis and helpful prompts that are meant to aid first-time applicants and make the Coalition Application easier to use. In addition, the Coalition Application provides more guiding language in the extracurricular activities section. 

Choosing the right application platform

The Common Application is a more established application platform than the Coalition Application. While there are now over 100 Coalition Application schools, over 1,000 schools allow students to apply via the Common Application. So, if you’re looking for more options, the Common Application may be better for you. However, if your top schools accept the Coalition Application essay, you can more easily get a fee waiver and receive more guidance throughout the process with the Coalition essay format. 

No matter which platform you choose, it is your job to make sure that you follow the college application requirements for your chosen method. You should also make sure that your application showcases your unique personality and achievements. Whether you use the Common App prompts or the Coalition Application essay, you should do all you can to ensure your essay stands out.

Coalition Application Schools

Before you apply to any college, make sure you know which application formats the college accepts. Schools can choose to accept the Common Application or the Coalition Application, and many allow students to use either format. 

However, some schools, like the University of California System, require students to use their own application format with their own college application requirements. Because colleges can choose which applications they accept, there are always new Coalition Application schools being added to the list every year. As of this article’s publication, there are 134 Coalition Application schools that accept the Coalition essay format. Here they are in alphabetical order!

Schools that accept the Coalition Application

Allegheny CollegeAmherst CollegeAustin CollegeBard CollegeBates College
Belmont UniversityBeloit CollegeBinghamton UniversityBirmingham-Southern CollegeBowdoin College
Bucknell UniversityCarleton CollegeCase Western Reserve UniversityCentenary College of LouisianaChaminade University of Honolulu
Chatham UniversityClaremont McKenna CollegeClark UniversityClemson UniversityColby College
Colgate UniversityCollege of the Holy CrossColorado CollegeColumbia UniversityDavidson College
Denison UniversityDePauw UniversityDrew UniversityDrexel UniversityDuke University
Duquesne UniversityElmhurst UniversityFlorida Southern CollegeFranklin and Marshall CollegeFurman University
Hamilton CollegeHanover CollegeHarvard UniversityHaverford CollegeHigh Point University
Hobart and William Smith CollegesHope CollegeIllinois CollegeJohns Hopkins UniversityKenyon College
Knox CollegeLawrence UniversityLe Moyne CollegeLoyola Marymount UniversityLycoming College
Maine Maritime AcademyMaryland Institute College of ArtMarywood UniversityMercyhurst UniversityMiami University (Oxford)
Michigan State UniversityMount Holyoke CollegeMount Marty UniversityNorth Carolina State UniversityNortheastern University
Northwestern UniversityOberlin CollegeOccidental CollegeOglethorpe UniversityOhio Northern University
Ohio Wesleyan UniversityPace University (New York City)Pace University (Westchester)Palm Beach Atlantic UniversityPomona College
Portland State UniversityPrinceton UniversityQuinnipiac UniversityRamapo College of New JerseyReed College
Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteRice UniversityRobert Morris UniversityRose-Hulman Institute of TechnologyRowan University
Saint Mary’s College of CaliforniaSaint Michael’s CollegeSkidmore CollegeSmith CollegeSouthern Methodist University
Southwestern UniversitySt. John’s College (Annapolis)St. John’s College (Santa Fe)St. Mary’s UniversitySt. Mary’s College of Maryland
St. Norbert CollegeSt. Olaf CollegeStony Brook UniversitySwarthmore CollegeSyracuse University
Texas Christian UniversityThe College of New JerseyThe College of WoosterThe University of TampaTrinity University
Tufts UniversityUnion CollegeUniversity at BuffaloUniversity of ArizonaUniversity of Chicago
University of ConnecticutUniversity of DelawareUniversity of Illinois at SpringfieldUniversity of La VerneUniversity of Massachusetts (Lowell)
University of Notre DameUniversity of OklahomaUniversity of OregonUniversity of PennsylvaniaUniversity of Richmond
University of RochesterUniversity of VermontUrsinus CollegeVanderbilt UniversityVassar College
Wake Forest UniversityWashington & Jefferson CollegeWashington & Lee UniversityWashington University in St. LouisWellesley College
Wesleyan UniversityWestern Carolina UniversityWestminster CollegeWheaton CollegeWhitman College
Willamette UniversityWilliams CollegeYale UniversityYork College Pennsylvania

What is a Coalition Essay?

The Coalition Application essay is a writing sample that you submit along with the rest of your Coalition Application to apply to college. Although there are several different Coalition essay prompts, you are only required to submit one response. However, if you’re just starting the application process you probably won’t have written many essays like this before. Unlike in academic writing, your Coalition essay should center around you.

Specifically, the Coalition Application essay is a personal statement designed to let you share details about your life and experiences. There is no single formula for writing the best college admissions essays. In fact, each of the Coalition essay prompts requires a different approach to answer effectively. Similarly, there is no standard grading scale or rubric used to evaluate the Coalition Application essay. 

Your Coalition Application essay forms just one component of your overall application. However, at top schools, many applicants tend to have strong grades and test scores. Therefore, in order to stand out, it’s extremely important to write a unique and compelling Coalition essay. 

How many Coalition essay prompts are there?

coalition essay prompts

For the 2023-2024 application cycle, students have six different Coalition essay prompts to choose from. Objectively speaking, none of the prompts is inherently better or worse than another. So, students should choose the prompt that most speaks to them. If you’re having trouble choosing a topic, check out this resource with reflection exercises to spark inspiration!

How long should the Coalition application essay be?

The Coalition app essay word limit is 650 words, and submissions must be longer than 250 words in order to be eligible. Students do not need to meet the Coalition App essay word limit, but the website recommends that the essay be between 500-650 words long. 

While sticking to the Coalition App essay word limit is important, it sometimes helps to first write a longer essay and then pare down the word count through revision. Also, make sure that every word serves a purpose. If you need to cram your essay with filler sentences in order to meet the word count, you may want to rethink your choice of topic. 

Looking for more advice on how to write a compelling essay within the Coalition App essay word limit? Then check out these tips from experts at Coalition Application schools.

Coalition Essay Prompts

In this section, we will look at each of the Coalition essay prompts individually and analyze how to write good college essays about each of the six prompts. Even though the Coalition essay prompts may be unfamiliar to you, they are similar in many ways to the Common App prompts. No matter which prompt you choose, remember that the Coalition essay format gives you the opportunity to share details about yourself that are not present elsewhere in the application. As such, the best college admissions essays, whether for the Coalition essay prompts or Common App prompts, provide unique insight into the personalities of their writers!

Next, let’s look at each of the Coalition essay prompts in detail. As you review each of the Coalition essay prompts, think about whether it speaks to you. If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas for one topic, that’s okay. Move on to the next one until you find one that sparks your inspiration. If you’re still in the brainstorming phase, we have a great resource for helping you come up with the right topic.

Coalition Essay Prompt #1: Personal Character

coalition essay prompts

Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.

The first of the Coalition Application essay prompts asks students to share an important personal anecdote. Many successful Coalition essay examples respond to this prompt. Before you begin writing, think about what stories from your life most reflect your identity. These stories should be recent—focus on your high school years, though your topic could connect to your childhood. You should also choose a story that is vivid enough that you remember the details well.

Most importantly, your story should also demonstrate aspects of your character that you want your readers to see. The best college admissions essays show readers who you are through a compelling narrative. For instance, you may write a story about working a shift at a restaurant by yourself during a huge rush. Through the details of the story, your reader can see you as a hard worker who doesn’t back down when faced with a challenge. 

When writing this essay, make sure to stick to the Coalition essay format. You may be tempted to mention as many of your accomplishments and personality traits in your essay as possible. However, this only serves to dilute your writing and lessen the impact of the story you aim to highlight. So, keep things focused. The more you stick to your central narrative, the stronger your essay will be. 

Coalition Essay Prompt #2: What Excites You?

coalition essay prompts

What interests or excites you? How does it shape who you are now or who you might become in the future?

Some of the Coalition essay prompts have two parts to them. The second Coalition essay prompt first asks you to reflect on a personal interest or passion. Then, it asks you to describe how that interest has influenced you in the past and how it may affect your future. 

As with the other Coalition essay prompts, it helps to brainstorm a list of interests before you write. You might also choose an interest that does not show up in other areas of your application. That way, you can introduce the reader to something new about yourself instead of rehashing one of your extracurricular activities.

Keep it authentic

Some students believe that they need to have a unique or exotic interest in order to choose this prompt, but that’s not true. Some of the best college essay examples revolve around ordinary or mundane topics. Just make sure that you show passion for your chosen topic. 

In addition, remember that your chosen interest should connect to other parts of your identity and experiences. For example, an interest in skiing might have led you to volunteer with a community organization that makes winter sports more accessible to lower-income families.

Finally, remember that all of the Coalition essay prompts are designed to determine your readiness for the college or university that you are applying to. Regardless of the topic you choose, at the end of the day, the subject of any personal statement is you, the writer. As such, your reader does not want to read about the ins and outs of solving a Rubik’s cube. Instead, they want to learn about your personal relationship to the Rubik’s cube and why it speaks to your life and goals. Therefore, good Coalition essay examples keep the author as the central focus of the essay.

Coalition Essay Prompt #3: Positive Impact

coalition essay prompts

Describe a time when you had a positive impact on others. What were the challenges? What were the rewards?

Like other Coalition essay prompts, this question has multiple parts. But, unlike other Coalition essay prompts, this one does not have a close equivalent in the Common App prompts. This prompt asks you to tell the readers about a time when you positively influenced the lives of others. By contrast, the Common Application asks you to talk about a time when someone else did something impactful for you.

One pitfall that students can fall into with this prompt is to describe the influential moment without explaining why it mattered to them. In your Coalition essay examples, readers don’t just want to hear about what you did. Rather, they want to understand the growth and development you experienced as you did it. 

You might notice that the Coalition essay prompts often ask multiple questions. This allows you to highlight key experiences in a nuanced and comprehensive way. So, make sure that you showcase your personal growth in your essay. Additionally, make sure to talk about the challenges as well as the rewards of your experience.

Coalition Essay Prompt #4: Questioning Your Beliefs

coalition essay prompts

Has there been a time when an idea or belief of yours was questioned? How did you respond? What did you learn?

Here we have another example of the Coalition essay prompts mirroring the Common App essay prompts. In the Common App prompts, they ask you about a time when you questioned someone else’s belief or idea. However, with the Coalition essay prompts, they are asking you to describe a time when someone else questioned an idea that you had. Most importantly, good college essays will include a reflection on what you learned through this interaction.

Choosing a topic

As with many Coalition essay prompts, you should begin by choosing a topic. So, when you brainstorm for your Coalition Application essay, you want to think of a time when you entered into a debate or dialogue with someone else about an issue that you care about. However, this should be more than just a disagreement with a sibling or a conversation in an online forum. Think about a time when you had to stand up for what you believe in when that belief was tested.  

Successful Coalition essay examples will emphasize self-reflection. So, your essay should foreground how you responded to being questioned about your beliefs. Additionally, make sure that your Coalition Application essay demonstrates the characteristics you want to show. Coalition Application schools want to read essays that highlight their writers’ thoughtfulness, empathy, and morality, among other good qualities. Therefore, the best college admissions essays always keep the writer at the forefront of the essay. Overall, use the Coalition essay prompts to highlight something critical about yourself. 

Coalition Essay Prompt #5: Success or Obstacle

coalition essay prompts

What success have you achieved or obstacle have you faced? What advice would you give a sibling or friend going through a similar experience?

Often, the Coalition essay format allows for multiple ways to approach a single prompt, and this essay prompt is no exception. This example from the Coalition essay prompts contains aspects of two different Common Application prompts. While the Common App separates its prompt about success from its prompt about overcoming an obstacle, the Coalition essay prompts combine these two ideas. Therefore, students can either choose to talk about an achievement in their lives or an obstacle they have overcome. Then, they must give advice to someone going through the same thing.

Because the Coalition essay format allows for so much variety, it is important to focus your writing on a single success or obstacle. Remember that the Coalition App essay word limit is only 650 words. This means you should not try to work in a full list of achievements or an entire resume’s worth of obstacles you have overcome. Instead, keep your response concise and specific.

As mentioned, Coalition Application schools want to learn new information about you from your Coalition Application essay. So, consider writing about something that is not present elsewhere in your application. This can help your Coalition Application essay stand out and enhance your overall profile.

Coalition Essay Prompt #6: A Topic of Your Choice

coalition essay prompts

Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.

Sometimes, none of the Coalition essay prompts reflect what you want to discuss. Or, you may have a unique and compelling story that doesn’t quite line up with one of the existing Coalition essay prompts. If this sounds like you, you may consider submitting an essay on a topic of your choice.

However, before you begin writing for this prompt, it is important to have a question or guiding prompt in mind. Even though you have more freedom regarding the content, you still need to make the essay about you. 

First, think about what personality traits or characteristics you want to highlight. Then, craft a narrative that shows off those traits. And because this is a chance to show some creativity, don’t be afraid to include some humor in your writing or experiment with different writing styles. However, don’t submit creative writing or academic work as your Coalition App essay–at the end of the day, you need to ensure you follow the Coalition essay format. Remember that readers at Coalition Application schools read thousands of Coalition essay examples every year, so you want your work to stand out. 

How to make your Coalition essay stand out

No matter which of the Coalition essay prompts you choose, your personal statement should highlight your strengths. Because all Coalition applicants answer one of the same six Coalition essay prompts, it can be difficult to separate yourself. So, here are a few tips to help your writing make a good first impression.

1: Begin with an engaging hook

Good college essays use the first line to grab readers’ attention with a hook that makes them want to read further. A hook can take a variety of forms including a witty observation, a rhetorical question, a surprising statement, or an introduction to a story in the middle of an exciting moment. This last technique, called in medias res, immediately thrusts your reader into the middle of your narrative, and the only way for them to know how the story ends is to read on. You can see some Coalition essay examples that used this strategy here.

2: Use specific details

Your personal statement helps Coalition Application schools get to know you beyond the letters and numbers on your transcript. So, your Coalition Application essay should contain specific details about your life and your story. For example, you might define yourself through your community service project, small business idea, or love of crossword puzzles. Your story is different from anyone else’s, and your Coalition Application essay should communicate that individuality. So, whenever possible, describe the emotions behind specific moments or draw your reader toward interesting details that make this experience uniquely yours.

3: Revise, revise, revise

When you apply to college, it’s important to double-check that you complete all of the college application requirements. Moreover, make sure you go over your essay multiple times. This will help you refine your ideas and catch any grammar or syntax mistakes. Readers at Coalition Application schools look favorably on well-edited essays that read clearly and lack errors. On the other hand, if you make significant punctuation mistakes, use confusing language, or spell the name of the school incorrectly, this will leave your readers with a bad impression. 

Topics to avoid in your college essay

We’ve talked a lot about what you should write in your Coalition Application essay, but now let’s talk about what NOT to write about. The Coalition essay prompts give you the flexibility to talk about a wide range of experiences. However, the central focus of your personal statement should be you. While other family members, mentors, or peers may appear in your essay, the essay should center around you and your experiences.

Similarly, it is also good to avoid cliched topics like sports injuries. You should also try to limit how much you discuss aspects of your life already present elsewhere in your application. Your readers may be less interested in an essay about your years playing the violin if you have already shared your experiences with the instrument in your section on extracurricular activities. Likewise, essays about topics like travel, community service, and athletic participation can also be seen as commonplace. So, if you want to write about these things, make sure you can put your own spin on them.

In addition, you should make sure that the topic of your essay is appropriate for a school setting. A good rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t submit your essay to a teacher at your school, the topic is probably not appropriate for the Coalition essay prompts. Specifically, refrain from using offensive language or suggestive themes in your writing. Remember that the Coalition essay prompts want to help you show your personality, so make sure you put your best foot forward.   

Coalition Application essay timeline

coalition essay prompts

When you apply to college, there are lots of dates and deadlines to keep in mind. And, depending on whether you want to apply Early Decision or Regular Decision, you may need to submit your application as early as November 1st. Many schools also offer a priority admission window with a similar deadline. 

Additionally, students who want the best chance of getting accepted to their first-choice schools should consider applying early. In fact, some schools prioritize early applicants when making admissions decisions and awarding scholarships. As such, keep this in mind as you complete the Coalition essay prompts.

Therefore, you should start thinking about your Coalition Application essay as early as your Junior year. Although the application itself will not be accessible until the start of your senior year, you can start browsing the Coalition essay prompts and brainstorming ideas for your personal statement earlier than that. Starting early will allow plenty of time to revise your essay and complete your other college application requirements.

More Essay Resources from CollegeAdvisor

Additionally, has many articles and webinars with Coalition essay examples to help support you. Start by checking out this piece with great tips for the Coalition Essay prompts. 

For more Common App and Coalition essay examples, this is the guide for you. This article is great for personal statements of all types, including the Coalition Application essay. And if you prefer a video format, we have a whole series of expert-led webinars on college essay topics that range from how to get started to how to make your essay stand out.

Coalition Essay Prompts 2023-2024 – Final Thoughts

Although the Coalition essay prompts are not as well known as their Common App counterparts, they are still accepted by over 100 Coalition Application schools. So, if the schools on your list require the Coalition Application essay, the tips in this article will help your Coalition Application essay shine. 

No matter which of the Coalition essay prompts you choose, if you start early, take time to brainstorm ideas before writing, and keep yourself as the central focus, you can write a strong Coalition Application essay.

And if you need help at any point in the writing process, our experts at are here to help. Whether you’ve only just started examining the Coalition essay prompts or have a full draft completed, we can work with you to put your best foot forward in your Coalition Application essay. Sign up here to get started!

coalition essay prompts

This article was written by senior advisor, Alex Baggott-Rowe. Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how can support you in the college application process.