3 Ways social work students can get involved with professional conferences

Limestone College Social Work

Professional social work conferences are a great way to network, learn, and stay up to date on various trends and social work practices. And while the term “professional” may hint at a more experienced target audience, such conferences are also a great opportunity for students and aspiring social work professionals.

Here are three ways bachelor of social work students can get involved with an upcoming professional conference:

  1. Leverage student discount rate to attend

Most professional conferences offer a discounted rate to student attendees. Generally, to receive a student discount, students will need a college ID and in some cases, may also need to be a member of an organization hosting the event.

For example, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) North Carolina Chapter will host the 2016 Annual Fall Conference in Asheville, NC, on November 17-19, 2016. Only a 90-minute drive from Limestone’s main campus in Gaffney, SC, Limestone’s social work students can attend the conference for a $95 fee with NASW membership. The current annual NASW membership dues for Bachelor’s and Master’s in Social Work students are $57.

  1. Become a conference volunteer to save on attendance

Another great way to get involved in an upcoming professional conference is to become a conference volunteer. For example, the 40th Annual NASW Texas Conference offers student-volunteering opportunities to the first 250 students who apply. Student volunteers are required to help out for four consecutive hours in exchange for a significant discount on attending the conference.

But is it really worth it?

Let’s do the math: for this particular conference the student attendance rate ranges between $160 to $240 depending on how early you register. In contrast, the registration fee for student volunteers is $40 to $50 depending on your member/non-member status. That’s a saving of over $100 at the very minimum!

  1. Submit a proposal for a chance to present

Poster presentations are a popular component of many professional conferences as they allow select attendees to share their field developments, research, or unique ideas to a large community of fellow professionals. Those who are interested in presenting are generally required to submit a proposal prior to being accepted as one of the poster presenters.

Though experienced professionals are often the ones to submit proposals, certain conferences such as the Aging in America Conference encourage students who are conducting research on a conference-related topic to submit proposals. Also, a number of NASW conferences run by the state chapters include a Student Poster Presentation Program that allows both graduate and undergraduate student submissions.

Students selected to present at a professional conference can leverage and showcase this achievement in their resumes.

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