How to Prepare Before the Conference

Annual Conference & ExpoNAFSA 2018 Registration

Determine your objectives for the conference: Take some time to think about your short-and long-term career and personal goals. Consider your objectives for the conference and how these objectives will further your goals. Make sure to attend sessions that cover the content you need, as well as some sessions that may not be directly related to your job but will broaden your perspective of the field.

Define Your Goals

Are your goals to...

Build connections for a future career in international education, you'll want to pay special attention to the conference's networking opportunities.

Figure out what specialty of international education to go into, you'll want to pay special attention to Knowlege Community (KC) related events, educational offerings, and events taking place in the NAFSA Career Center

Further your professional development training, you'll want to focus on the workshop offerings, sessions and seminars, and posters, as well as all of the NAFSA Signature Programs scheduled throughout the week.

Develop and create partnerships, you'll want to take advantage of the online program and NAFSA's conference app! You'll be able to access the online program to begin building your schedule as soon as you have registered for the conference. The NAFSA17 App will be available in early May so that you can begin connecting to other attendees with similar interests.

And of course don't forget to visit the Expo Hall and the U.S. Higher Education Partnership Fair- they're key offerings for partnership building.

Expand your knowledge of the field, you’ll want to attend guest speaker sessions to hear about a broad range of subjects relevant to the field.

Plan Your Conference Schedule

Sessions, workshops, and poster descriptions are available in the online program prior to the conference. Before registering, you can preview all of NAFSA's educational offerings. Once you have registered for the conference, you will be able to access the networking and planner function in the online program, where you can build your agenda before you arrive.

Log into the online program (using your NAFSA-associated email address and conference badge number) after you've registered to create your personal schedule before you arrive in Los Angeles.

On your agenda, list the times and places of the sessions and events you are most interested in. Be sure to list a couple of options so that you can move on to the next session if your first choice is full or after listening for 10 minutes you realize that the session is not what you expected. With another option noted you can easily move on to your second choice.

  • You can search for conference sessions by day, knowledge community, presenter, or focus area.
  • Preconference workshops provide you with opportunities to maximize your professional skill set. These require an additional fee - Seats are limited and fill quickly, so register early!
  • Poster fairs are presented Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.


Find your niche: you will get much more out of your conference experience if you take the time to investigate all of the networking opportunities available and figure out which ones match your interests. There are opportunities to network through the following groups and services year-round:

  • Knowledge Communities (KCs): Make connections with colleagues at the Monday evening KC Networking Receptions.
  • Member Interest Groups (MIGs): Attend as many MIG meetings as you choose throughout the week.
  • Regional Groups: On Wednesday evening, each of NAFSA's 11 regions will host an update meeting. There is also a meeting for participants based outside the United States.
  • Social Media: Maintaining a presence on NAFSA's social media platforms can help increase your visibility to others in the field and keep you informed on the latest developments and discussions circulating among NAFSAns.

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This was my first NAFSA annual conference, so of course, I was nervous. However, the conference felt so natural- the colleagues I met were like-minded, the sessions I attended were the epitome of why I am in the international education field, and the networking events were just what I needed to establish my name. This was the best investment I could have possibly made! Monica Dugo, SIT Graduate Institute

Learn how to maximize your time at the conference.