Congratulations on your first NASFAA National Conference! You are about to embark on a wonderful experience. Each year, more than 2,500 financial aid professionals gather to teach, learn, network, and laugh. Approximately 400 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
For 2014, we are putting together a special program for first-time attendees. With a focus on fun and networking, events will include a morning fitness walk, an opening networking event, and a special gathering place during the evening receptions with contests and prizes. More information will be posted on the conference website as details are finalized.
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 breakfast or lunch, 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 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.
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. 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. 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, including the very popular AskRegs Knowledgebase!
Picking Interest Sessions
While it is impossible to attend every session, a little planning beforehand 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 information online before you leave home. An online scheduler will be available, and a week before the conference, we'll post an electronic copy of the full program. You can also download session handouts and presentation materials 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, then pick a back-up. In some cases, popular sessions are repeated at different times or days.
If other staff members are going to the Conference with you, we recommend daily strategy meetings – decide who will attend each 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 you.