Congratulations on your first NASFAA National Conference! You are about to embark on a wonderful experience. Each year, nearly 3,000 attendees gather to teach, learn, network, and laugh. Approximately 300 first-time attendees join the Conference each year. Once you attend a NASFAA Conference, you'll want to come back again and again. It's that good.
The Conference will help you:
- Keep up-to-date on regulations and legislation
- Learn new skills and gain new information and perspectives
- Form new relationships with others in the field
- Build or maintain existing relationships
- Understand current research and trends
- Find out about new products and services
- Discover ways to be more efficient and effective as a financial aid professional
Meeting Other Attendees
When you first arrive at the NASFAA Conference, you'll see a lot of people talking in the halls. You may even see some hugging the first day. And you'll begin to think "everyone knows each other and I don't know anyone." We all started out that way at our first NASFAA Conference. In no time at all you'll have new friends and colleagues, new ideas and knowledge, and plenty of contacts to maintain after you return home.
Sharing meals is a really good way to get to know other attendees. When you are seated at a breakfast or luncheon, be sure to introduce yourself to everyone at the table. Also, talk to people as you are waiting for a session to start or over a cup of coffee in the morning. The most valuable resources at the NASFAA Conference are the people you meet - you can get great ideas just by visiting with people every chance you get. And when you get back home, they become great resources for future questions or issues that arise.
For 2013, we are forgoing the usual "conference orientation" and, instead, we are putting together an entirely NEW program for first-time attendees. With a focus on fun and networking, events will include a morning Fitness Walk, a tour, a special gathering place during each reception with contests, prizes, gifts, and more. Get more info!
Visiting the Exhibit Hall
The exhibit hall is a fun and exciting place, so you will want to drop in to see all the latest products and services that are available. If there is a time slot that doesn't contain any sessions that fit your needs, you can visit the exhibitors then. You'll need to wear your name badge to enter the hall, as well as to attend the meals and sessions.
Near the front entrance to the exhibit hall is the NASFAA booth. Please stop by to meet the NASFAA staff and get any questions answered. We can show you the many products and services that are part of your NASFAA membership and give you a demo of new website features, including the AskRegs Knowledgebase!
Picking Interest Sessions
The number and variety of sessions can be overwhelming. While it is impossible to attend every session at the NASFAA Conference, a little planning before the conference can help you maximize your time. When you get to the Conference, you'll receive a program with complete details about each session, but we strongly suggest you access this document online before you leave for the Conference so you can start planning now to make the most of your time. An electronic copy of the full program is posted on NASFAA.org a week before the Conference. You can also download session handouts and presentation materials that are submitted by presenters. (Not all presenters provide us with handouts to post.) Read through the session lists and pick at least ONE session in each time slot that you want to attend. Then pick a back-up. In some cases, popular sessions are repeated at different times or days.
If you are planning to bring other staff members with you to the Conference, we recommend that you have daily meetings to strategize – who will attend which session, visit the exhibit hall, etc. It's also helpful to recap the day's events each afternoon.
The NASFAA Conference is a unique professional development opportunity that will provide you with a new perspective on the financial aid profession. We are very glad you decided to attend. A wonderful experience awaits.