It is conference season for many industries, including education and financial aid, but with tight budgets and reduced staff, the value of conferences may have to be justified.
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If you need to show why you should attend a conference, here are some ideas:
Find a solution to a problem that you or your office is facing. Go to the conference with the mission of finding an answer. Attend the sessions that address the issue or seek out someone you know that will be attending and may have an answer. Make sure you communicate the answer to your colleagues at the office and let them know how you found the answer.
Attend the networking events. Make a point to meet new people and find out about them and their expertise. You may learn something new. In addition, those business cards may come in handy when your office is looking to fill a position or just want to find out how to handle a situation that someone else has already encountered.
Bring your notes back to the office and write a one-page summary of key lessons or ideas you learned while at the conference. Share the notes with your colleagues and with your supervisors. This may spark some important innovations in your office and will let them know the value of the conference to your professional development.