Student Search

At Fire Engine RED, we’re continuing to get great results for our Student Search clients – no matter their size or budget.

The world’s changed, and so have we. In fact, we’ve been preparing for shifts in demographics and test-taking for the past several years, which has required new strategies and the testing of new list sources.

So whether you want to drive net revenue, increase academic profile, enter new markets, and/or shape your class, we can create a custom approach to help you achieve your goals!

Here are the top four reasons why admissions offices are using us for Student Search.


“Search has become too complex for us to manage ourselves.”

Executing successful Student Search has never been more complex. Since 2019, there has been a sea of changes that have impacted the market and required significant time and deep expertise to navigate, including:

2021 New list sources emerge that require testing and verification
2021-2020 COVID-19 reduces number of student names available for purchase from traditional sources
2020 COVID-19 triggers dramatic shift to test-optional admissions
2020 The state of California enacts California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
2019 The College Board removes institutions’ ability to purchase names using low-socioeconomic status (SES)
2019 The College Board removes institutions’ ability to purchase names using religious preferences
2019 NACAC revises its Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP) enabling colleges to recruit students who are enrolled at other institutions
2019 ACT | NRCCUA merge to become Encoura

That’s where Fire Engine RED comes in. We will:


  • Identify and test new name sources to offset the lack of test-taker names.

  • Determine which sources will be high-performing for you and then select the right students to help you meet your institutional goals (diversity, gender, programs, financial need, religion).

  • Navigate the complexity and opportunities of the merged ACT and NRCCUA datasets in the new Encoura system.

  • Find and leverage new name sources to reach low-income students now that they can’t be identified through The College Board.

  • Ensure your admissions office is compliant with CCPA and GDPR.

  • Find and leverage new name sources to identify religious preference now that The College Board no longer collects that information.

  • Prepare for the challenges and ongoing impact of NACAC’s current SPGP.


“Our CRM is not getting us the results we need.”

While CRMs can be great at sending out email marketing messages to targeted students, here’s what they’re not great at: Student Search. That’s because email delivery is perhaps the smallest and least significant aspect of what makes a Student Search campaign successful.

To get great results from Student Search, you need:


  • A strategy built by a team of experienced data, creative, and enrollment experts.


  • New predictive models that confront today’s rapidly changing realities.


  • New high-performing list sources to supplement the lack of names from traditional list sources.


  • A nuanced understanding of each list source’s complexities and the knowledge of how to optimize every purchase.


  • Professionally-designed creative based on proven best practices and ongoing A/B tests.


  • A team of quality assurance experts to ensure you don’t make embarrassing mistakes or market to duplicate names.


  • Meaningful engagement reports, built by experienced professionals, that provide a deep understanding of student behavior and enable you to take action and make data-driven decisions.


  • Impact reports that show how Student Search drove your student profile, including academics, diversity, and geographic expansion.


  • ROI reports that evaluate the financial impact of your Student Search investment on net revenue.


  • Fire Engine RED provides all of the above, plus much more.



“Our previous campaigns resulted in poor student engagement and low ROI.”

When it comes to student engagement and ROI, our Student Search clients are actually seeing increases in those key metrics across the board. For example, for the Class of Fall 2020, we delivered total student engagement rates between 39.3% and 67.5%.

The same with ROI. Despite the current turmoil, we’re continuing to deliver outstanding results for our Student Search clients. As the table below indicates, for every dollar our clients invested in Search, we delivered a return of 20 to 107 times their investment in net revenue.

Student Search Investment
ROI for Class of Fall 2020
Average ROI
in Net Revenue*
Senior 20x
Junior 62x
Sophomore 97x
9th Grade 107x
*Includes discount rate  

Beyond revenue, we also helped our Student Search clients achieve success with a wide range of goals, from reaching more affluent families, increased diversity, and improved academic profiles.

Average Household
Underrepresented Students
Senior $115,096 3.61 1210 39.8%
Junior $139,140 3.74 1340 33.6%
Sophomore $139,549 3.80 1390 34.6%
9th Grade $133,652 3.88 1390 29.3%

The table below shows how our clients’ inquiries compare to the results above.

Average Household
Underrepresented Students
Inquiries $85,425 3.69 1213 30.1%


“Our creative looked like every other school’s.”

When you work with Fire Engine RED, our team of copywriters and designers will produce agency-quality creative for your institution that builds on YOUR unique brand, captures YOUR voice, and gets results.

Why is our creative so effective?


  • Our copywriters and designers continually hone their talents and abilities by staying up-to-date with the latest design trends and industry best practices in Student Search.


  • Our creative is data-driven and based on ongoing A/B tests.


  • Our quality assurance team ensures your creative is consistent with your brand and does not contain any embarrassing mistakes.


  • Throughout the course of each campaign, we update the creative based on any new trends we’re seeing.


  • Our creative complies with Section 508 Color Contrast Guidelines so it’s accessible to students/parents with varying levels of visual ability.

Check out our Student Search creative gallery that includes samples of our high-impact designs.