School is back in session, and for seniors, that means it’s time to buckle down and start college applications. But first, you may be wondering, which application type is better to send--ApplyTexas or the Coalition Application?
What? There is more than one kind of application that you can submit?
In short, yes. But the applications are more similar than they are different. Basically, when visiting websites for Texas colleges, you may have noticed that there are two options for submitting an application: ApplyTexas and the Coalition for College Access, Affordability, and Success (a.k.a., the Coalition Application).
Typically, ApplyTexas has been the application that most Texas colleges use (many private ones, such as Rice and SMU, use the Common Application), but over the past couple years, the Coalition Application has been offered as an alternative.
While having two kinds of applications for the same college can be confusing and make you wonder if admissions officers have a preference, you should rest assured that ApplyTexas and the Coalition Application are given the same value. It is all a matter of what works best for the student. That's YOU!
Then why, you may be wondering, do we have two in the first place? Great question! Let’s discuss generally what the two applications accomplish and why, in particular cases, one may be better than another.
What is ApplyTexas?
ApplyTexas is an online application system that allows you to create an account, input information about yourself (including essays), and apply to approximately 60 Texas colleges (all public Texas colleges, some private Texas colleges, and some Texas community colleges). While the system is not perfect, it allows you to apply to numerous colleges with relative ease, since you can reuse information about yourself from one college application to another, and most colleges share essay requirements (if essays are required at all).
What is the Coalition Application?
The Coalition Application is also an online application system, but it is more robust than ApplyTexas. For one, the Coalition Application envisions that students will use its system at the start of high school, during freshman year, and research colleges and plan in advance. In fact, the Coalition Application even has a virtual “locker” that lets students upload documents, including videos, so that they can keep track of all the projects and work that they do throughout their high school careers. In this way, the Coalition Application sees itself as more than simply an online system for applying to colleges; it is a hub for college planning, student documents, and counselor/parent interaction.
The Coalition Application also tries to simplify the application process, especially for students who come from low-income or disadvantaged backgrounds. Resources such as fee waivers for applications are made easier to navigate and other information about affordability is provided. But it isn’t like these things aren’t accessible to all students. Instead, the Coalition tries to ease anxiety and streamline anything that, say, first-generation college students may find challenging or simply would not know about. Fortunately, that streamlining benefits everyone, regardless of personal or family circumstances.
Are There Different Requirements for ApplyTexas and the Coalition Application?
At this point, you are probably wondering if these two applications differ in the actual requirements for colleges. The short answer is NO.
If you want more proof, let’s look at two examples of how ApplyTexas and the Coalition Application DO NOT differ when it comes to requirements:
Here is a description of the overall requirements, which clearly show how both applications are no different:
The same goes for the “main” application essay:
And the short answers:
Similarly, Texas A&M states that there is no difference between the two applications:
What about the Common Application vs. Coalition Application for Texas Colleges?
The Common Application and Coalition Application are also pretty similar. The one main difference is which essays they require, but even this difference is slight. The Common Application and the Coalition Application both have “main essays” and then colleges can require supplements. The “main” essay prompts are somewhat different, but the Coalition Application (as well as the Common Application) give students the option to submit an essay on the topic of their choosing, so if you want, you can recycle your Common Application “main essay” for the Coalition Application (or vise-versa).
The main takeaway from all of these applications is that it doesn’t really matter which one you use. ApplyTexas and the Coalition Application (and the Common Application) basically fulfill the same function: they get your application materials and essays in front of admissions officers. Colleges have no preference, and you shouldn’t worry about which one you use. It is all a matter of taste and using whichever application makes most sense for YOU.
No matter how you shake it, it is the quality of the materials and essays that matter, not the platform that you use to submit the documents. While the more streamlined and visually appealing application interfaces are great, it won't make a difference to admissions officers. Focus on revising your essays and polishing your resume!
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