6 Key Ingredients for a Successful Education Conference

6 Key Ingredients for a Successful Education Conference


Business Development Executive Nik Lajeunesse joined our team 6 months ago, and we immediately put her on the conference circuit. Here’s what she learned along the way! See this article in its original form on LinkedIn.

What a whirlwind six months it’s been! Since joining the iTEP team, I’ve been to a total of 4 conferences including ASCD CEL in San Diego and TABS in Boston. I’ve made a lot of great connections and learned a ton.

In fact, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to get the most out of educational conferences. My combination of seeing these conferences with fresh eyes and going to so many in quick succession enabled me to identify these key guidelines.

  1. Be prepared

    Make sure you know your audience. If you’re attending a conference for boarding schools, make sure you know some common terms that the attendees will be using frequently.

  2. Expect the unexpected

    Just because you’re attending a boarding school conference, does not mean attendees will by default only ask questions X, Y, and Z related to boarding schools. You may run into someone who is attending the conference from a different perspective and who will want different things from you.

  3. Everyone loves a free lunch

    Even if you can’t sponsor a conference luncheon, you can offer freebies to give to conference attendees. So many people are drawn to the exhibition table because they want the neat flashlights we’re handing out or they want a chance to with a Kindle Fire. Regardless of what you’re giving away, have something that you can give to anybody to help start a conversation.

  4. Printing is your friend

    You never know how much you’ll need to bring materials-wise. Having easy front/back documents to print on demand is very handy. Make sure you know where the closest print shop is!

  5. Be a good sport

    No matter what happens, remember that you are getting exposure. Your time may not pay off immediately, but you never know what the future holds in terms of making connections.

  6. Yearn to learn

    Even if you go to conferences with a mission to sell, there’s no limit to what you can learn. It may be something you pick up in a conference session or it may be a very informative discussion with an attendee. Whatever it is, you’re bound to learn more about yourself, your company, and your clientele when you attend a conference.

The next conference where you can catch up with iTEP and discuss the future of English language assessment (or anything else!) will be the EnglishUSA PDC January 21-22 in Monterey, CA. See you there?

AIRC Conference: How iTEP Helps International Student Recruiting

Mark Lucas, Managing Director of IAE Global, discusses agency-based international student recruitment strategies at the AIRC Workshop at CSU Long Beach, while Dr. Jeet Joshee, host and facilitator, and Mary Marquez-Bell of SUNY Old Westbury, observe from the side.

Last week’s American International Recruitment Counsel (AIRC) Workshop at CSU Long Beach drew about 40 directors and managers of international programs and IEPs (Intensive English Programs) from around the country for a productive day of sharing recruitment strategies for international students. With our headquarters a short drive away, iTEP staff had the chance to connect and reconnect with many talented people.

One of the themes of the day was branding awareness and how institutions’ budgets for international recruitment typically do not allow for any major marketing campaign. This forces enrollment managers to find creative ways to familiarize potential students with their schools. With free promotion at 180+ test centers around the world and on the iTEP website, iTEP partner schools are able to elevate their brands without placing any burden on their budget.

“Some administrators have a hard time believing just how simple and beneficial it really is to accept iTEP results for admissions,” says iTEP Academic Director, Lee Rabideau. “It was helpful having some great partner schools in attendance, such as SUNY Old Westbury, CSU Fresno, and Cypress College, to drive this point home.”

The Sweet Sounds of the AISAP 2013 Conference

We at iTEP love to travel and meet educators around the world. This often entails going to some pretty cool places. But what could be cooler than Nashville, complete with live entertainment in the shadow of the iconic “Batman” building?

The AISAP (Association of Independent School Admission Professionals) Conference was full of creative people. It was great hear the song stylings of Doug Johnson, Nathalie Stovall, Marshall Altman and Ruth Collins. In a way, independent schools (which come in all varieties including boarding schools, day schools, single-sex or co-ed) are like singer-songwriters. They’re out there doing their own thing.

Independent schools often value being on the cutting edge of best practices and innovations. The independent schools we encounter are often excited to learn that institutions using iTEP exams for international admissions are promoted on our website and at our test centers around the world. Independent schools are eager to expand their applicant pool and grow their international programs.

Interestingly, however, many of these schools use TOEFL, even though this test is designed for college admissions. iTEP SLATE is the only widely available, Internet-based English assessment test created specially for the middle and high school age range. Using a test for the wrong age bracket is like trying to play a guitar part on a fiddle. It’s all going to work out better if you simply have the right tool.

iTEP Distributors Gather at NAFSA

At iTEP, we love working with our distributors around the world. Their inventiveness and dedication never ceases to amaze us. In fact, we decided we had to get as many of them as possible together in one place!

The first annual International iTEP Distributor Conference will take place on May 28th in St. Louis, Missouri, in parallel with the NAFSA Conference, the largest gathering of international educators in North America. Some 20 iTEP Distributor representatives from all over the world will be attending the Distributor Conference to exchange ideas, discuss successful strategies and case studies, and collaborate around future opportunities.

This conference will also mark the launch of some exciting new enhancements to the iTEP exams and BES’s services. These announcements will include extra detail and precision in score reports and new services to facilitate global communication and coordination among iTEP partners.

We look forward to this exciting conference and offer our thanks to our distributor partners who are responsible for many of iTEP’s numerous successes this year.

iTEP Makes “Impression” at CCID Conference

iTEP representatives, particularly Academic Director Lee Rabideau, have been hitting all sorts of conferences recently. He’s been to six since October, including the  California TESOL Regional Conference at USC last week.

The week before that, iTEP exhibited at the  37th annual Community Colleges for International Development ( CCID) Conference in Atlanta. This one really stood out because community colleges serve an increasingly international student body, and more and more of these institutions are turning to the only English proficiency test with the flexibility to meet their needs.

It also stood out because Lee did an early morning a capella Elvis impression. Yes, really.

He gave a presentation on best practices in recruiting, and, since it was over breakfast, figured the group could use a little rock ‘n’ roll to get warmed up. Judging by the applause, it worked.

It also brought a lot of people to the booth. That, and learning how registering with iTEP is a no-cost way for community colleges to promote their international program, increase their qualified applicant pool, and make the process more convenient and affordable for their applicants. Many representatives sought out the iTEP booth and enthusiastically joined the iTEP family. They found the different versions of the test, ease of access to scores, and on-demand scheduling suits their educational environment perfectly.

Image: Lee poses with Zepur Solakian of the Center for Global Advancemnt of Community Colleges ( CGACC), who organized the breakfast presentation and was kind enough to ask iTEP to participate.



tabsAt the annual TABS (The Association of Boarding Schools) Conference last week in Washington D.C., many schools arrived without a way to evaluate the English skills of international applicants. They were thrilled to learn about iTEP SLATE.

Since the SLEP exam was retired earlier this year, many at the conference were looking for a new English proficiency exam tailored to the secondary level. Upon discovering how secure, convenient, and affordable iTEP SLATE is, many institutions signed up to become partner schools.

“Now that SLEP is gone, I’m so glad we’ve discovered SLATE.” says Peter Gieseke, Director of Admission at Monte Vista Christian School. “It’s going to be a great fit for us.”