Common vs Coalition Application Platforms
Verdict: The Common App (CA) is used by substantially more institutions and is established as the main application platform. For most students, it would be wise to use this platform as many schools are not on the Coalition Application (CAAS). If they used CAAS, they likely will need to duplicate efforts. However, CAAS is a change-maker in both secondary and higher education, with its community involvement and enforcement of fair standards. For purpose of illustration, imagine you need a cup of coffee and a pastry. CA is a chain like Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks. It is likely the easiest place to get a coffee, as there is a location on every corner. It is already a part of your routine and they have coffee and donuts. CAAS is the independent fair trade coffee shop in your city. They support the community and hold high standards. They only have a few locations, so you have to drive downtown to get there. They don’t have pastries, so you still need to go to the chain shop (CA) or the local bakery (individual school platforms, Universal App, ApplyTexas, etc.) anyway. If you are a community member or coffee producer, it is imperative you support the independent shops that support you. All in all, CA is for most people, but CAAS is for the financially-sensitive, the educational reform advocate, and the niche few applying to the handful of schools only on CAAS or more than CA allows.