Tips on Preparing a Proposal

Annual Conference & Exposubmit a proposal

The Annual Conference Committee (ACC) invites you to follow these guidelines to prepare a winning proposal.

1. Read the call for proposals

Be sure to read through all the components of the call for proposals to learn what the ACC expects. Pay special attention to highlighted topics! View the full call for proposals.

2. Determine your topic with NAFSA’s target audiences in mind

Each year, the ACC strives to provide a balanced conference program for each of our targeted audiences. During the proposal submission process, you will be asked to identify which of the following target audiences your content is directed toward. Visit our Knowledge Community (KC) Call for Proposals and Target Audience pages to learn more about what these audiences are interested in. Keep in mind that many of the roles outlined below include professionals from both within and outside the United States.

  • Education Abroad
  • International Education Leadership
  • International Enrollment Management
  • International Student and Scholar Services
  • Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship
  • Shared Interest

3. Develop your title and abstract to accurately depict the content of your session

Both your title and abstract will be published in the printed and online program and in the NAFSA App. When considering a title, keep in mind that it should be able to stand alone and clearly convey what your presentation will cover. The same goes for your abstract! Make sure that your abstract reflects your learning objectives to attract the appropriate audience for your topic.

Example title and abstract:

Title: Writing an Effective NAFSA Conference Proposal
Abstract: Gain insights from NAFSA's Annual Conference Committee about how to make a NAFSA conference proposal stand out. Creating and writing an excellent conference proposal and navigating the online proposal process are the keys to having an accepted proposal. Anyone interested in presenting at a future NAFSA Annual Conference should attend.

4. Make sure your presentation is feasible to present in the amount of time you select

All sessions will either be will have 60 minutes or 25 minutes long, each with their own limit on the amount of presenters and learning objectives. The amount of time should allow for presenters to give an introduction, give their presentation, do closing remarks, and take questions. Take the time to ensure you can deliver your learning objectives efficiently and effectively without rushing through your presentation.

5. Understand which room set up is valuable to the session you are proposing

NAFSA has three room arrangements for presentations, each allows different kinds of conversations and benefits different target audiences. New for the 2020 annual conference, circle set of chairs enhance a more direct conversation between attendees, often on a very specific topic.

6. Read NAFSA’s review and selection criteria

Visit our review and selection criteria pages to understand how your proposal will be evaluated. Read more about what the ACC is looking for in a proposal, our peer review process, and selection criteria. Keep in mind the four review questions when crafting your proposal.

7. Prepare your proposal ahead of time

Skip the rush and prepare your proposal ahead of time with our session, workshop, and poster proposal templates.

Have any additional questions, a tip we should include, or feedback? Email

Proposal Deadlines

Session & Workshop Proposals
August 21, 2019
2:00 p.m. EDT

Poster Proposals
December 11, 2019
2:00 p.m. EST