NCGSA - Graduate Students

Welcome Graduate Students

NCCA welcomes graduate student members who are enrolled in at least 6 credit hours per semester in a graduate-level counseling program. Student membership provides you with voting privileges and the opportunity to hold NCCA elective offices of Secretary, Treasurer, and Member-at-Large. Also you have access to a network of other graduate counseling students, as well as professionals from a variety of counseling fields and specialties. Student Members receive professional development opportunities, monthly emails and updates (NCCA Notes), a newsletter each quarter (The Carolina Counselor), and updates on key legislative issues. In addition, graduate students are encouraged to join one of NCCA’s 15 divisions that addresses their particular interests within counseling.

For more information about joining NCCA or to fill out an online application please follow this link.

How to Make the Most of Professional Conferences

Get the program book as soon as you can, or download and preview it on the way to the conference destinations. Highlight sessions of interest. Doing this pre-planning research helps.

Learn locations of the meeting rooms after you arrive so you have a sense of where your sessions will be held. Walk the hotel.

At large conferences, program session rooms may fill early. If you really want to attend a session and get the most out of it, arrive early and sit up front. That way you can hear and get the handouts and can meet with the presenters afterwards if you want.

Have a backup session or two in an area close by in case you can’t get into your first choices. Or buddy-up with someone else so each one attends a priority session, and picks up an extra copy of handouts if possible. You can share what you each learned later.

Look first at the topic, second the presenter, and third the affiliations of the presenters. It is often useful to go to sessions of interest by presenters whose stuff you’ve read; you can see what they look and sound like. If you have an opinion about a presenter, you might go no matter what the topic just to check them out in person.

Affiliations may be important because you could find that you are disappointed by going to presentations given by someone from “Podunk College.” In some cases, you may find that you already know more than unknown presenters from remote places. However, one can always be surprised, which makes it fun.

Topics or titles can also be misleading–you may already know more than the presenters but it might be useful to scout the opposition and see what others are doing that you can borrow or use. Be aware of sessions that are focused solely on selling you a test, book, etc.

Spend some time in the exhibits, and tell the reps about yourself and let them know you are glad they are exhibiting at the conference. This is very important. Get product samples for your professional files and/or work setting so you can show and tell in the office when you return.

Take full advantage of the social receptions, breaks, etc. to meet as many people as you can. Network like crazy. Collect business cards; you never know when they might come in handy later!

Watch out for all work and no play; take in some time to enjoy the conference location and take in some of the local leisure, cuisine, and entertainment.

Prepared by Janet G. Lenz, Ph.D.