I’m in no way an expert, but I thought that my few years of experience could benefit some graduate students:
- Apply for travel grants: your academic department, your college, the graduate college, your grad student senate usually have grants for you. Follow directions, meet deadlines, and actually know what you’re talking about in your research, but be able to present it to people who are not specialists. Most of the time, committees are not from your field and simply want to be able to understand whether your research is clear. Be concise.
Pivot is also a great resource for special grants. Create a profile, select what type of research you’re working on, and you’ll receive updates about what is available IN YOUR FIELD!
- Ask for your registration fee to be waived. Some organizations are willing to let you go for free. They want you to learn, not to starve.
- Volunteer at the conference: you might get a free lunch or even your registration fee waived. This is also a great networking opportunity.
- Do not stay at the conference hotels (unless your advisor recommends it): they’re way too expensive. Instead, look for a room or an apartment to share with AirBnB.
- If you do not know anyone going to the conference, contact the organizers to know if they can give your contact info to share a room.
- Network! This is a golden opportunity to meet people in your field and potential future employers or colleagues.
- Bring business cards and resumes. Get your business cards printed, and bring them with you. Many universities print the first 100 for free, and you will likely not need the whole 100 during your college career.
- Tidy up, but get comfy shoes (avoid heels if you can): you’ll likely spend the day walking in the venue or standing by your poster.
- Avoid heavy bags. You probably don’t even need what’s in your satchel.