The Most Popular College Applications Today

The college application process can be confusing and stressful enough, especially when you face various application systems as you are applying for different colleges concurrently. 

The most popular system is the Common App, which is still used today by roughly 900 colleges. Other popular apps are the Universal College App and the Coalition App. This article will help you navigate through the leading application systems.

The Common Application 

The oldest college application system, this server has been in existence for an impressive 40 years. It is still the app of choice for prestigious and Ivy League schools.

Popular for its commitment to access and diversity, the Common Application also excels in keeping applicants in the know about upcoming deadlines and the progress of their submission after that. 

Schools that are known to use this application include Stanford University, Yale University, Harvard University, and the University of Chicago. 

The Coalition Application

First introduced in 2015, the Coalition Application was made to compete with the Common Application by providing more aid to the underrepresented. 

Although 150 colleges use this application today, tight eligibility requirements must be met by the institution to use it as their application of preference. This includes enrolling a set percentage of low-income students each year. 

A unique feature of this app itself is the locker function, which allows applicants to save their progress and essays, projects, and other schoolwork to help in their application. 

Institutions that use the Coalition App exclusively include the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Washington.

The Universal College Application

Initially, the main competition to the Common App, the Universal College Application, was launched in 2007 and became immensely popular. However, it sharply declined in popularity during the following decade. 

This is the only for-profit app mentioned in this article. It is currently only used by three institutions: Harvard University, the University of Charleston, and Cornell University. 


A stand-out application, QuestBridge focuses on ‘matching’ students with a school that meets their needs perfectly. This app allows low-income students to apply to 12 different colleges simultaneously. The app narrows the selection down to one choice from which the applicant will receive a full scholarship. 

This application does not always produce results, but in 2019, it successfully matched 1,127 applicants with prestigious universities. 

Applicants must come from a household with an income of less than $65,000. Such institutions that use this app include Colorado University, Yale, and Boston College. 

Apply Texas

This app makes it easier for applicants to apply to Texas’ wide variety of public universities and state colleges simultaneously. 

Concluding Thoughts

As you can see, the application system you choose to apply through depends on what institution it is you’re applying to, as well as your social background.

Choose your Reaction!