TLDR use the scripting block instead of formulas
Why this is happening
So as you might expect, the = evaluation compares two things and determines if they’re equal. It doesn’t do much more than that. I’m not sure if Airtable is evaluating them as strings or arrays, but just for sake of example, if we had:
"International Student, No Thank you..."
"No Thank you..."
Airtable says, "these things are different - they are not equal. That first one has the phrase “International Student” in it.’
Where you can find a solution
So, whether you’re in Airtable or some other platform, the proper solution here is to iterate through the list of phrases before performing the = comparison. You’d also log any matches you find along the way before returning the list them.