Conference Blog: Coming to the NAGAP conference for the first time (again!)

The Mission of NAGAP is to support, advance and engage graduate enrollment professionals by promoting integrity, excellence and collaboration through education and professional development.

Coming to the NAGAP conference for the
first time (again!)

The annual conference—if you are like us, you look forward to it every year.  What could be better than a few days of networking, learning and seeing old friends?  If you have been attending NAGAP (or another) conference for years, you may have developed a routine, whether you realize it or not.  Why not shakes things up a little this year?  You might find a few surprises as you re-discover the conference for the “first” time.  Here are a few ideas on how you can keep your conference experience fresh.

Get started early.  You may normally get to town just in time for the opening reception, but did you know that many of the chapter meetings are held earlier that day?  If you haven’t been to a meeting before, they are a great way to meet people from your geographic or specialty area.  Also, don’t forget about the first timer’s session.  I know what you are probably thinking, but it is chock full of information about NAGAP and a great way to meet a new mentee.  What better way to pay it forward!

Make establishing new friends a goal.  Like us, you look forward to seeing your friends from across the nation.  Perhaps this is the only time of year you get to see old colleagues or alumni from your alma mater.  By all means, take advantage!  There are times, however, when we can get so caught up with getting in touch with our old friends, that we miss opportunities to meet new ones.  Set aside at least one meal for sitting at a table with total strangers.  You know how NAGAP members are--you won’t be strangers for long!

Switch up your sessions.  Most of us gravitate toward sessions about programs or schools similar to our own.  Why not branch out a bit?  Commit to at least one session that focuses on a different type of institution or a student population you aren’t as familiar with.  A dedicated GEM professional understands the field beyond his or her own program or school.

Consider volunteering.  If you haven’t volunteered before (or haven’t volunteered in a while), consider giving a few hours of your time.  There are opportunities to help with registration, at the off-site event, or recording and/or moderating a session.   Being a volunteer is a great way to meet new people and the conference truly could not operate without them.  Your conference planning committee will love you for it!

Re-discover the Exhibit Hall.  If your visit to the exhibit hall is limited to grabbing breakfast or a coffee between sessions, you are missing out on a great opportunity to learn and network!  In addition to visiting vendors for products or services you use, talk to someone at a booth and learn about a something new.  Exchange business cards because you never know when your new found knowledge may come in handy back at the office.
Even if you only employ a few of these tips, you will freshen up your conference experience and get even more out of coming to NAGAP this year.  We look forward to seeing you for the first time (again) in Nashville!

Registration is now open.  Go to the conference website for more details.

See you in Nashville!