NCFR Conference FAQ for New Attendees

New Attendee Info Conference Terminology  |  Frequently Asked Questions  |  Tips for Students


Click on each question to jump down to the answer. More questions? Email the staff at NCFR and we'll be happy to help you.

Frequently Asked Questions


Are there any sessions specifically for new attendees at the conference?

There are! The Newcomers Welcome is a social and informational event for first- and second-year attendees.

At the Newcomers Welcome, new attendees will get a little primer about the conference and about NCFR, be able to chat with representatives from NCFR's members groups (sections, focus groups, affiliate councils), and meet each other.


Are there mentors or hosts for new attendees?

While NCFR doesn't provide a formal mentoring or host program for new attendees, NCFR's International Section does offer a mentor-matching service for its section members who are coming from countries outside the U.S. and Canada.


Are there sessions specifically for students?

There are! NCFR's Students and New Professionals (SNP) group plans several conference sessions geared toward students at all different levels. Look for sessions marked SNP. Don't forget to check out the many other types of sessions offered. 


Can I earn continuing education credit at the conference? What's the procedure?

Yes, you can earn continuing education hours for several organizations by attending NCFR conference sessions. More information will be posted.

***Note: You must add continuing education hours to your conference registration!


How do I create and find my personalized conference schedule online?

In 2017 you'll have access to NCFR's conference app (coming this fall), which you can use to assemble your personalized itinerary for the conference. The app will be available in the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, and as a web app that you can open via mobile or desktop browser.


How do I decide which sessions to attend?

The NCFR website has a few resources to help you sort through all the events at the conference and find which ones look interesting to you.

See the conference schedule to browse and search conference sessions by session type, keyword, organizing group, and more. Interested in the major sessions at the conference? Check out conference highlights.


How many sessions / for how long should I attend?

That's really up to you. If you have requirements for your job or your school program about which or how many sessions you need to attend, then certainly follow those. It's technically possible to attend conference events from about 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. every day, but it's likely that you'll want to take breaks, and that's absolutely fine. Plan your schedule to fit your preferences.


I want to bring a guest to the conference. What can they attend?

Everyone planning to attend any part of the conference must sign up for an appropriate registration option — no conference-crashers allowed!

There is a $50 guest badge option for a guest to attend receptions with you (does not permit attendance at other conference sessions or meetings). You can purchase this online along with your own conference registration.

If your guest would like to attend conference sessions other than receptions, they would need to purchase the appropriate conference registration (e.g., full registration or one-day registration).


What are all the labels / lingo / abbreviations used in the conference program?

Check out our glossary of conference terminology to help you decipher all the lingo used at the conference.


What should / shouldn't I do as an attendee at a session?

Here are a few tips about what is appropriate behavior for attending a session in case you're not sure:

Arrive on time. If you're going to be late, enter quietly and try to find a seat without disrupting the proceedings. If the room is full you can stand in the back.

Move in toward the middle of seating rows. This helps make room for more attendees on the outer edges as they enter the room.

Remain quiet during the presentation. Turn cell phones and other devices on silent (or turn them off).

Ask questions! But do wait for the appropriate time to do so. Any attendee — students and new attendees included — may ask a question of a presenter. Usually there will be an allotted time at the end of a presentation for questions, and the session facilitator should make it clear when that is.

Not sure what or how to ask? Here are just a few people who have posted online with their thoughts about question-asking at conferences

Approach presenters after their session. If you have a question or would like to discuss something with a presenter about his or her presentation or work, you can approach them after their session to see if you could email or talk with them (likely at a later time). After all, a big part of the conference is networking and making connections, and most presenters are happy to see people take interest in their work and discuss it further.

Remember that another session will probably start in the same room shortly, so it's usually best to move out of the room if possible so the next session can be set up.

Be mindful if eating during a session. Whenever you feel you need to eat while at the conference, please eat. You may bring food and beverages to sessions, but be aware enough to avoid making lots of noise or messes during the session proceedings; usually something small / quiet works well, and please do clean up after yourself. If food is provided at the session, certainly feel free to eat.

When in doubt, check with others who have attended conferences before!


What's an NCFR Section? What's a Focus Group?

Sections are the 10 main, broad topic-interest groups within NCFR. Members join Sections to better communicate and interact with NCFR members with similar professional interests.

All the presentations at the NCFR conference are filtered through and sponsored by one of NCFR's Sections. Members of the Sections review and select which proposals to accept for the conference, plan invited special sessions, and serve as presiders and discussants.

Learn more about each Section and how you'll see it listed in the conference program (each has an abbreviation) in our conference glossary.

Focus Groups are similar to Sections in that they're topic-interest groups for NCFR members. The topics are more specific than Section topics (e.g. families and technology, adoption), and so they tend to be a smaller group of members.

Sections and Focus Groups have annual meetings at the NCFR conference. Even if you aren't currently a member of one but you're interested in the topic and potentially becoming a member, feel free to attend those meetings to get information.


Where can I access Wifi?

Wifi will be available in the conference meeting spaces at the Rosen Centre Hotel.

Password: families


Where can I find all the online resources I need while attending the conference?

On our Conference Central webpage, which will be set up closer to conference time. Check back for a link. There, you'll find:

  • a link to the conference app, where you can create your personalized conference itinerary
  • live-streaming session videos
  • last-minute changes to the conference schedule
  • the floor plan of the hotel meeting rooms
  • a live feed of tweets using the conference hashtag, #ncfr17

All the conference information on the NCFR website will stay posted throughout the conference.


Where can I find options for entertainment / fun while in town for the conference?

Orlando has great attractions and activities for all ages and interests if you'd like to take a break from conference activities. Check out ideas from Visit Orlando.


Where can I print something at the conference?

The Cyber Cafe room at the conference will have computers and a printer for any of your last-minute printing needs.

There's also an on-site business center at the Rosen Centre Hotel.


Where do I find ________ at the conference?

We've post a marked floor plan of the meeting rooms at the Rosen Centre Hotel to help you can find whatever you're looking for during the conference.

When sessions have been assigned meeting rooms, you'll see the name of a meeting room next to each session on the conference schedule. This also goes for non-meeting locations like the registration desk, the Cyber Cafe (computers and printing), exhibit hall, poster location, etc.

When on site at the conference, you can also look for people with a Staff ribbon attached to their conference name badge; these are NCFR headquarters staff members who can help you.


Where do I get food at the conference? Are meals included?

It's generally up to each conference attendee to find meals / food on their own during the conference. There are a few refreshments provided at receptions, but rarely is a meal provided. If you're attending a small committee meeting where food will be provided, you will be notified in advance.

You can find dining options inside the Rosen Centre, the conference hotel. If you'd like to venture out a bit, there are a number of restaurants near the hotel.


Where should I go if I need help on-site at the conference?

For help or questions about something conference-related, the conference registration desk is the best place to try first. An NCFR staff member will always be there and can call other staff members or hotel staff if needed.

NCFR headquarters staff also should be able to help you on-site. They will have a Staff ribbon hanging from their conference name badges.


Which sessions can I attend? Which can't I attend?

Most sessions that are presentations about research or professional skills topics are open to all attendees.

Also open to all:

  • the exhibit hall
  • sessions sponsored by the Students and New Professionals (SNP) group — veteran professionals are also welcome
  • the NCFR Annual Member Meeting

Here are some other types of events/meetings/sessions to check prior to showing up:

Section and Focus Group meetings — open to members and those interested

  • Sections and Focus Groups — topic interest groups of NCFR members — hold member meetings at the conference. If you're not a member but are interested in their activities or becoming a member, feel free to attend.

Committee / business meetings — usually closed

  • Certain smaller groups of people schedule business/administrative meetings at the conference (e.g., a meeting of NCFR's journal editors). On the online conference schedule, most of these meetings should say in the description that they are for the committee / invited members only.

Receptions — open, unless designated for a certain group

  • There are several receptions at the conference. If they are not labeled as being designated for a certain group of people, all are welcome to attend.
  • Open to all: President's Reception and University Receptions
  • Closed: Newcomers Welcome (for first- and second-year attendees), Legacy Circle Reception (25+ year members), CFLE Reception (Certified Family Life Educators)

TCRM — separate registration required

  • The Theory Construction and Research Methodology workshop sessions (labeled with "TCRM" in the title) are for those who have specifically registered for TCRM participation.

Preconference workshops, Affiliate Councils Workshop — separate registration required

  • Our preconference workshops held on Tuesday of the conference week need to be added to your overall conference registration if you'd like to attend. The Affiliate Councils Workshop, for members of NCFR's local chapters, also requires registration but is free (no additional fee).


Conference tips for students, from students

New student attendees to the NCFR Annual Conference, take note! These tried-and-true tips from other students will help you make the most of your conference experience (and even if you're a veteran attendee, they're not a bad refresher!).


Glossary of conference terminology

For each session at the conference, you'll see labels and abbreviations about the type of session, the group sponsoring the session, and the participants and presenters for that session. Here's what it all means.


NCFR's Sections — topic interest areas

All the presentations at the NCFR conference are first "filtered" through one of NCFR's Sections, which are groups for our members who are interested in a particular family topic area. Here's more about each Section.


Roles at a session

Each NCFR conference session has a presenter(s), but there might be a few other people around helping make sure the session goes as planned. Keep these roles in mind for your potential involvement in future conferences, too!


    Types of sessions

    Learn the types of sessions that make up the program at the NCFR Annual Conference.