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The 2012 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders is coming! In fact, it starts today. Are you prepared?

I started to panic the other day when I realized that NCCWSL will be the largest conference I’ve been to. I have never gathered with so many women leaders at one time! How can I make the most of this experience? AAUW National Student Advisory Council members are attending NCCWSL as volunteer leaders, and they provided some great tips for how to maximize your time at this one-of-a-kind conference.

Be open.

At NCCWSL, you will be surrounded by more than 550 women student leaders from all walks of life. Being yourself and being open to learning different things, meeting new people, and absorbing new ideas will help you make the most of this experience. Networking is a key benefit of gathering at NCCWSL, so be willing to open up and make connections with people. You never know what someone has to offer you or what you can offer her!

Be smart and selective.

Think carefully about which workshops you attend — choose the ones that best match your leadership skills. Be ready to network with the other participants and the speakers in the workshops, and follow up with them afterward. Do the workshops that you want to attend overlap? Talk with your fellow participants or other students from your school who make it to different sessions, and share what you learned with each other.

Do your research.

During our keynote speakers’ presentations and the Women of Distinction Awards ceremony, you will hear inspiring stories of how these women became the leaders they are today. Do your research on the speakers before the conference so that you know what you want to ask them when you have the opportunity to meet them in person. And find out what to bring and how to prepare by reading the NCCWSL Frequently Asked Questions.

These are just a few tips for a how to have a successful NCCWSL experience. If you’ve been to NCCSWL before, what suggestions do you have for 2012 attendees?

This post was written by AAUW Leadership Programs Intern Nzinga Shury.

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