Top 6 Questions Users Are Asking About Connections
With the launch of Connections™, the College Board Search team is receiving a number of questions from our members. We’re sharing the six most-asked questions here. Did we capture yours?
- What can we expect in terms of changes to Search volumes?
Search volume for the 2023–2024 recruitment cycle is very strong, with over 2 million juniors, 1.4 million sophomores, and over 450,000 freshmen already participating in Search. We expect those populations to grow as new students opt in through AP and SAT Weekend assessments as well as myriad digital channels throughout the year (currently, over two-thirds of first-time opt-ins to Search come through these pathways). By December 2023, we anticipate those same populations will be over 2 million seniors, around 2 million juniors, and nearly 1 million sophomores. And we estimate those pools will grow by another 200,000–400,000 students through August 2024.
- What does it mean that Connections is “privacy-forward”?
Student data privacy has been and continues to be a major priority of states, districts, lawmakers, and College Board. Rather than waiting to react to changes in the data security environment, College Board is proactively engaging in a privacy-forward solution with the launch of Connections. Connections allows students to hear from nonprofit colleges and scholarship organizations that might be a good match without sharing any personal information. Students decide if and when they want to connect with institutions and share additional information directly.
- What is the cost of Connections and how does this work with my current Access Plan?
Connections is included as a feature of your Access Plan this year. There is no additional fee. In addition to Search record volumes and Search features, all institutions with an Access Plan will now be allotted a certain number of Connections audiences, depending on the scope of your plan.
- Will Connections disadvantage smaller schools?
Connections will not preference any institution over another. Institutions cannot pay for premium positioning.
Connections makes it simple to reach both sophomores and juniors, which can often be a challenge for smaller institutions. This means all schools will have the potential for broad reach without sacrificing Search records.
The Connections feature in the app is designed so students can learn more about the options that might be a good fit for them. Our goal is for students to have the opportunity to hear from diverse types of nonprofit colleges and scholarship programs, including those that may not have been on their radar.
- How likely are students to use the BigFuture School app?
Through our outreach to students, they have overwhelmingly indicated they would find a mobile app “very helpful” for receiving their test scores (87%), hearing directly from scholarship providers (80%), and hearing from colleges (78%).
College Board is designing the BigFuture School™ app to encourage long-term engagement, investing in a sustainable and relevant experience for students. We’re dedicating significant resources to K–12 students and educators and will be taking an iterative approach with the rollout of the app. Centered on our mission, we will continue to innovate and explore privacy-forward ways to connect with students in the future.
- Will I still be able to run my Search campaigns through Slate?
While Connections outreach will need to take place through the BigFuture School app, traditional Search is not changing. If you are a Slate user and run your Search campaigns through Slate, you’ll continue to do so. Search volumes are strong and we expect continued growth in the Search pool. The data you receive through Search remains the same and so does your ability to use Slate for Search campaigns.