Tips for Submitting an Outstanding General Assembly Program


Joleen M. Nevers, MAEd, CHES, CSE, CSES; University of Connecticut & BACCHUS Volunteer

September 19, 2016

Our call for programs is open and our deadline is approaching! If you are submitting a proposal for the BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA General Assembly, here are some tips.

1)     Follow the directions on the form. Sounds simple right? But so many people overlook the word count or what is needed and leave important sections blank. Be sure to write the proposal when you have sufficient time and won’t be interrupted.

2)     Make a copy of what you submit. So often people submit their proposal without keeping a copy of what they submit. Having a copy of your proposal will help you later when you are looking back at what you said you would do.

3)     Why this program? What about the program that you are submitting can be replicated? If a program is too specific to your own institution, it may not be helpful to other schools. That said, what was your process in developing the program? Could that be a topic? For example, did you conduct a needs assessment to develop the program—the process itself could be a great presentation (see what I did there?).

4)     Catchy titles aren’t everything. While it is great to have an enticing title, the substance of the program needs to be strong. Concentrate more on the content rather than coming up with a flashy title to get people into it.

5)     Write clear and concise objectives. Objectives should be simple and measurable.

Here is an example of a vague objective: Students will be able to share content back at their schools and apply this information to do their own program.

Here are some examples of good objectives: Students will be able to identify two signs of alcohol poisoning. Students will be able to describe what STI means. Students will be able to name two national resources for eating disorders.

6)     Why your group? Be sure to discuss your groups hard work and expertise in this area. Be sure to list any awards, recognitions, how often you provide the program, etc. This is helpful to the program reviewers to understand the depth of your knowledge on this program/topic.

7)     Be flexible with your presentation—think outside the box. Sometimes we get so used to presenting what we do on our own campuses we don’t think about how we can mix it up for a conference. Consider leaving out your own resources for examples (they will not apply to all). What about your presentation can other campuses implement? Consider presenting those parts only instead of running through your entire program at the conference. You could have discussions of what could work on other campuses or learn from other students how if they do similar work.

8)     Write an engaging abstract. Tell the audience what they will get out of your program and why they would want attend. Think about listing something that they will leave with after the program (not supplies--skills or knowledge!)

9)     Don’t skip the outline/description. Until now, you have had limited space to sell your presentation. This area allows for you to go more in depth. Consider an outline that shows how much time you will spend on different areas of your presentation. The more the participants are engaged, the more they will learn and possibly apply what you are presenting.

10)   Leave time for others to share. Other peer educators may want to share experiences or challenges. Allowing time at the end of the program to ask how participants can apply what they learned is a great way to know if you met your objectives.

11)  Lastly, use spell check and have someone read over your submission. It is important to make a good first impression. Consider writing out the content in a Word document and asking an advisor or other person to review what you are hoping to submit. Ask someone who has submitted to a conference in the past as they may have more experience in writing a proposal than another new peer.

Be sure to take a look at this short video that walks you through the submission process.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to the BACCHUS staff if you have any questions about the call for programs. Best of luck with your submission and I look forward to seeing you in November. 

Opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of NASPA. If you agree or disagree with the content of this post, we encourage you to dialogue in the comment section below. NASPA reserves the right to remove any blog that is inaccurate or offensive.

To comment, you can login to your preferred social network. Comments are lightly moderated and we do provide the option for users to flag a comment as inappropriate.

Get in Touch with NASPA