Am I Required to Present My School Work at National Conferences in Grad School?

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Updated August 4, 2020

Tackling graduate school or graduate studies is a goal that many students have. They want to learn more about their subject, increase their chances of getting better salaries and make more connections. However, many wonder if they will be required to present their school work at national conferences during this time. The short answer is that it really depends.

The School's Requirements

When you are considering whether or not you need to present at national conferences, you need to determine if the school requires you to do so. All different schools have various requirements. Even within those schools, the specific programs can vary. Some schools may require you to present at national conferences. Others may ask that you involve yourself in conferences at the local level, and still others may simply suggest that you attend a conference or two but do not actually require them for graduation.

For Your Career

Perhaps you have determined that your school definitely does not require you to present at national conferences. Looking into the particular job you hope to procure is really the next step that you need to take. You might be going into a field where it is required that you have presented at conferences. If that is the case, then it is, essentially, an indirect requirement of your discipline. Failure to do so now could mean that you are racing to get into a conference when you are working toward getting a new job, so it's best to handle this requirement as soon as possible.

What The Conference Offers

You also need to look into the content of the conference when you are deciding whether or not to attend one. For example, let's say that you are planning to become an English professor or a tutor at a writing center. You would need to have experience in the field, and presenting at a conference can certainly help you. Visiting a conference with the International Writing Center Association would make sense. You should be sure that the conference you choose actually matches up with your intended field of study.

Networking and Making Connections

Even if you are not required to participate in a conference in order to earn your graduate degree, you should consider the benefits that it can bring to you. You might meet people at the conference who have connections with a particular company in which you are interested. Perhaps the networking you do will not be quite as successful, but you will still have expanded the range of people who you know in your field. When you graduate, you will likely be quite happy that you have all of these connections and sources available right at your fingertips.

What should you do if you are planning to present at a conference? Well, many of these conferences are team efforts, and you may be working on putting together a group proposal for one. By doing so, you have a lot of support behind you. You can also consider working with a mentor. Working with someone who has connections to and experience in the field will help you in putting together an amazing and cohesive presentation.

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