New Research Links Student Search Service Participation to More College Admission Offers

In 2021, we published research demonstrating the connections forged between students and colleges through Student Search Service® (Search) making it 25% more likely that students will go to college and 31% more likely they will complete a bachelor’s degree. We have extended that research to examine the role of Search earlier in the college-going pipeline and find that students who are connected with colleges through Search also receive 29% more offers of admission to college.

The figure below shows that students who connect with colleges via Search receive 29% more offers of admission (or one additional admission offer) compared to similar students who were not connected to colleges via Search.  These college admission gains associated with Search are substantially stronger for first-generation students (55% more admission offers), students from more challenging neighborhoods and school environments (60% more admission offers), and underrepresented minority students (65% more admission offers). The new research results are based on survey data from approximately 35,000 respondents from the high school graduating class of 2021. Because these respondents are very similar to all students who enroll in four-year colleges and universities, the results are likely generalizable to all four-year college-bound students.

Note: The sample includes 34,705 students from the 2021 graduating cohort. Results are estimated from regressions that include student-level controls for: sex, race/ethnicity, PSAT score, parental education level, last Student Search Service opt-in status

This new evidence builds upon several previous causal research studies on the impact of Search on students’ college choices and outcomes. When taken all together, the body of evidence on Student Search Service indicates that Search-enabled connections between students and colleges are associated with more offers of college admission, greater rates of four-year college enrollment, and higher rates of bachelor’s degree completion.