How to Write the Coalition Application Essays 2021-2022

Padya Paramita

How to Write the Coalition Application Essays 2021-2022

You may have chosen the Coalition Application as the college application system that keeps track of all of your files, information, and profile. While the Common Application is the most well-known and widely-used application system, the Coalition Application is known for its dedication only to include schools that provide a generous amount of need-based financial aid. The Coalition’s mission of inclusivity is to “make college a reality for all high school students through its set of free, online college planning tools that help them learn about, prepare for, and apply to college.” A college education is often not accessible for students from low-income backgrounds and the Coalition member database serves as a good resource for students to find schools that prioritize aid. This also means that you’ll have to answer a different set of questions, the Coalition Application Essays 2021-2022.

An essential way to separate yourself from other top students is to narrate your story, one which only you can tell, that distinguishes you as a strong writer and unique candidate. Although the Coalition App doesn’t enforce a word limit, it recommends that the essays you submit be within 500 to 650 words, so it wouldn’t be wise for you to deviate much from this. Sometimes schools institute their own word limits. To guide you through each prompt and how to answer them, I’ve outlined the Coalition Application Essays 2021-2022 as well as detailed advice and tips that can help you prepare a successful application.

Prompts for the Coalition Application Essays 2021-2022

Prompt 1

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

This topic is the most open-ended from the pre-assigned questions in the Coalition Application Essays 2021-2022. You can pretty much go any direction with this question since it’s asking either about a demonstration of your character or something that helped shape it. You might want to write about how you came to hold certain beliefs that have defined the course of your life. You can choose to elaborate on a cultural tradition that you look forward to and how the ways you’ve celebrated it changed with time. You can focus your essay on your career interest—for example, is there a compelling story that changed everything for you and developed your desire to pursue a career in politics after college? 

After you’ve written your first draft, ask yourself whether admissions officers could have evaluated your application just fine without knowing about what you’ve written. Colleges don’t need to know what your favorite television show is to decide whether you’re a top candidate – unless your connection to the show truly impacted your decision to pursue your passion. 

Since you already have an activities list on the Coalition App, it’s important not to address topics that are already covered elsewhere. Your application shouldn’t already say the majority of what you write in your essay.

Prompt 2

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.

Colleges want students who have made an impact on their community. When you write this essay, make sure you’re highlighting that your ultimate goal was truly to make the community, no matter how small, better—because the prompt focuses on “the greater good.” This should talk about something done for altruistic reasons rather than for impressing college admissions officers. If you write an honest essay about a meaningful contribution that you made, colleges will be impressed automatically.

Don’t forget to answer the second part of the question, which asks about challenges and rewards. When you make a contribution, it doesn’t stop there. The Coalition Application essays 2021-2022 also want to know about the aftermath of your impact. Were people pleased or unimpressed? Did you receive any awards for your hard work? How have you carried this forward? Don’t just say “I did XYZ for my community” and leave it at that. Bring the reader to all sides of the event, they want to know whether your goal of doing something for the greater good worked out at the end.

Prompt 3

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?

There’s no definition in the Coalition Application essays 2021-2022 about how grand the idea you’re challenging has to be. If you have a compelling story about how a protest in your area changed your mind about a belief, and definitely something you should write about. But even something less tangible—such as how you might have looked at something differently after a conversation with a classmate could also be spun into a powerful story about what drives you to act and policies you’re passionate about. 

Remember to answer the second and third questions within the prompt—don’t spend all 650 words describing the belief. How did you respond? How did your views change going forward?. You can frame your essay in such a way that shows you remain passionate and committed to pursuing your own understanding of truth and justice. Colleges appreciate students who are dedicated to their ideas and aren’t afraid to speak up. If tackled right, this topic could lead to a stellar essay. But, be careful not to write about something too controversial that could convey your character in a negative light.

Prompt 4

What is the hardest part of being a student now? What’s the best part? What advice would you give a younger sibling or friend (assuming they would listen to you)?

This is a very unusual and interesting prompt that could make for a unique essay that helps you stand out. You may not be used to giving advice, and that’s okay, or, you may be a community leader who often has to advise younger members of your organization on how to work on projects. Either way, if you’re good at reflecting on your journeys and helping others navigate different paths of life, this might be your time to shine. Don’t say the hardest part of being a student is the grades or competitions—those answers are common and won’t help you stand out. Instead, focus on something that might be unique to you, but still may be advice applied universally, such as balancing multiple responsibilities. No matter what you choose, it might be wise to combine the hardest part with the best part and show admissions officers how you’d be capable of turning things around. And when it comes to the advice bit, don’t give cliche advice such as “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but rather really focus on the specifics of being a high school student from your own experience.

Prompt 5

Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.

It’s important to note that the four essay prompts I have previously outlined exist simply to give you an idea of what you might write about. You don’t have to religiously stick to any of them because there is this one last option among the Coalition Application Essays 2021-2022. If you choose this option, make sure that the topic you’ve chosen doesn’t fall under any of the previous prompts. Yes, you may write about anything. Well, anything as long as it’s a story that is unique to you—you shouldn’t use your “personal” statement to talk about how proud you are of your best friend’s achievements as a basketball state champion. 

While the suggested prompts serve as helpful brainstorming catalysts and provide you with ideas of what schools generally look for when thinking about the personal statement, if you don’t want to write about a time you encountered a challenge or the hardest part about being a student, that is more than okay. If you thought you were writing an essay about your contribution to the greater good, but the final product ends up being about how you realized you want to dedicate your life to helping animals and starting your own pet adoption center, and you feel that it fits none of the pre-assigned prompts, you can just change your topic selection to this final one. Don’t let the prompts restrict you! 

Your Coalition personal statement could be the “it factor” which demonstrates why you’re a candidate schools don’t want to pass up. While it is only one component of your application, a memorable essay can always help your case. It’s one of the things you can control at the time you’re filling out your application, so don’t underestimate the power of the right topic choice. The goal in your topic selection from the Coalition Application Essays 2021-2022 is to produce a well-written, well-edited essay, and convincingly move admissions officers to send you that coveted acceptance letter. 

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