Most students are familiar with the Common Application, the most popular college application platform with more than 600 member colleges and universities. Well, now there's a new platform on the scene, the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success, with about 90 colleges and universities participating so far. The new platform aims to broaden access to college for under-served students and get students involved in the application process sooner. Most notably, this platform has different essay prompts than the Common App:
— 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 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.
The Common App limits your essay to 650 words, while the Coalition recommends no more than 550 words. Of course, many schools ask for supplemental essays, so don't forget to find out exactly what's required from the schools that interest you.
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