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What to Hang in Your Coalition Application Locker

by Story2, on Sep 13, 2016 3:00:00 AM


Telah is busy with improv. It’s her passion. She started the Improv Club at Smithfield High School and travels to local shows with her troupe to perform. Recordings of the shows have been viewed a few thousand times on YouTube, and her social media accounts have been overflowing with support. But this hasn’t interfered with her solid GPA and love for chemistry. Once a week she meets with an advisor after school to go over her independent study research project. Telah is submitting the project for additional high school credit and for official review from nearby Brown University, where she plans on applying to next year.  

In traditional college applications, that emphasize hard data like SAT scores, Telah’s unique independent work might have been mentioned in her essay or listed in her extracurriculars.

But the full breadth of Telah’s commitment to her extracurriculars, her talents, leadership and journey deserve much more credit. Her performance videos, well thought research and success in the classroom are all part of who she is. To Telah, they define more of herself and what she wants to do after high school, than what her SAT score shows.

Thankfully, Brown is a member of The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success, a consortium of 52 institutions who are reimagining college admissions criteria to look more holistically at students applying to college with the new Coalition Application. To help you conquer the new application we created a brief guide.

What’s really going to help in shining a light on Telah’s uniqueness is a the Coalition Application Locker.

Rising high school students like Telah who have college on the horizon should now be curating a collection of bests with the Coalition Application Locker. These artifacts should represent not only academic accomplishments, but also projects that show their unique and authentic selves. This portfolio of experiences should show a student’s values and skills, and how they’ve utilized their skills for creating positive change.

Using the free Coalition Application Locker, students can now begin uploading and curating documents and files in the Locker to use for applying to Coalition member institutions. The Locker is the central hub for collecting materials in advance of completing a college application. So, with the launch of the Locker, this makes us want to ask…

What are colleges looking for in the Coalition Application Locker?

This is how it works. When you create an account on, in your dashboard you will be prompted to add to your Locker:

Add documents, music, video, and other files that represent your learning experience. The items in your locker won’t be shared with anyone unless you choose to make them available.

The Coalition suggests for high school freshmen and sophomores to upload a class project, essay, artwork, a video of a performance, while high school juniors and seniors can add extracurricular milestones and awards, capstone projects or research.

The Locker is a private, secure online space with unlimited storage (note: file uploads are restricted to 50MB). Items in the locker are private until they choose to share in the Collaboration Space with a counselor, or when they are included as part of a submission.

In a recent demonstration webinar of the technology, the Coalition said the content should grow. Meaning that overtime students should upload content that shows improvement. This progress is what colleges are looking for in potential students: persistence, grit and dedication to personal growth.

What if I don’t have awards or major accomplishments to share?

Not every student is president of a club or painted a masterpiece in art class. But every student has a story to tell.

Stories, the ones that reveal you in your most difficult moments and your ability to overcome challenges, are the most valuable things to hang in your Coalition App Locker.

Start small. Take your phone and record a video you telling a story about what makes you want to go to college in the first place. Answer, “what’s your college why?” Pick a moment that reveals how you know that the specific college that you’re applying to is part of your journey in solving a pressing issue.

Topics:college admission