Prepárate 2024

Amplify Your Access Initiatives with College Board Search and Connections

As interest in college enrollment trends upward since the pandemic, colleges and universities continue to look for ways to connect with prospective students more strategically.

Organizations like College Board see this connection between students and colleges as a key part of their mission to clear a path for students to own their futures by accessing their ideal college experience. 

At the 2024 Preparate™ Conference, Robert Hogeda, director of recruitment and enrollment success management at College Board— alongside higher education colleagues—hosted a session to share how the organization is balancing proven enrollment services while meeting new challenges to connect students and colleges.  

College Board Search 

College Board Search is a long-standing prospect database that helps students show their interest in attending college. In turn, colleges can use the database to expand their reach across the world to recruit diverse cohorts of students. With 8 million students currently opted in, colleges can filter by student-provided data points such as the colleges they’re interested in and where they live and learn. 

Amanda Torres, senior director of undergraduate admissions at Baylor University, shared, “With College Board Search, you can use different filters to identify who we’re trying to get in front of and build relationships with.”  

Daniel Villanueva, vice president of enrollment management at the University of Houston-Downtown, told attendees, “Search and it’s filtering options are critical for his institution (and others) with a limited budget for marketing materials.”  

Data shows that College Board Search is working to achieve the end goal. Students who opt in to Search: 

  • Receive 29% more offers of admission, 55% more for first-generation students. 
  • Are 25% more likely to enroll in college.
  • Are 31% more likely to graduate. 


When College Board transitioned to the digital SAT® Suite of Assessments, traditional means of connecting with students taking their tests would no longer be possible due to increased nationwide focus on protecting student data through laws like the Student Online Personal Information Protection Act (SOPIPA). 

According to College Board, 32 states now have some level of policy that imposes restrictions on how organizations can collection and use student data. Enter Connections™, a new service available through College Board’s BigFuture® School app that provides students with quick access to scores for tests taken during the school day (PSAT™ 10, PSAT/NMSQT®, SAT School Day), as well as college and career planning information. As part of their college planning, students can opt in to Connections and show their interest in colleges and universities, allowing institutions to connect directly with students and provide additional information about their school. 

Although Connections offers a privacy-focused college search option, Miguel Wasielewski, vice provost of admissions at the University of Texas at Austin, shared that though he at first had some hesitation with adding a new search tool to the many options students have today, he saw some value in facilitating and fine-tuning the search process. “In today’s technology world, [connecting students and colleges] should be able to happen incredibly easy, but this is a good start.” 

The good news for colleges who haven’t yet explored Connections is that current users are seeing the upsides. “Students are taking a little bit of extra time, they’re being thoughtful, and they’re more interested and more engaged throughout,” said Amanda Torres about her experience with students using Connections. 

For more information about College Board’s efforts in connecting colleges and universities with students, visit the College Board Search and Connections websites today.