The Coalition Application website recommends that each prompt be answered in 300-400 words, and strongly recommends that you do not exceed 500-550 words. Here are the prompts:
- 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.
Both applications have similar questions about your personal beliefs being challenged, and both have a “submit an essay of your choice” prompt as well. Interestingly, the Common Application took out their choose-your-own prompt a few years ago; it’s interesting to see it back in the lineup now that the Coalition Application has chosen to include it.
It’s also important to highlight that the Coalition essays are shorter by about 100 words. As you decide which application platform you want to use–and which application prompts you want to address, you need to consider whether you can say what you want to say in 550 words or fewer. In some cases, that extra 100 words can make a world of difference. On the other hand, a pithy essay can be more effective.
Either way, the goal is to write an essay that represents you well and helps you to stand out in the admissions process.
Educational Consultant and College Admissions Expert
The Cardinal Rule for Writing a Perfect College Essay
How To Write A Perfect College Essay for the Common Application–Your Background Story
How to Write the Perfect College Essay–Tell a Good Story
How To Write The Perfect College Essay–Paint A Picture
How To Write the Perfect College Essay–Grab Some Attention