In higher education, it is common to sometimes feel confined within the walls of our institution and focus solely on the initiatives specific to our respective campuses.

Attending professional conferences provides opportunities for us higher education professionals to step outside our own worlds to network with — and relate to — peers in the industry, learn cutting-edge strategies and gather innovative ideas to bring back to our own campuses. Conferences are also great opportunities to share success stories and learn how other leaders are approaching new opportunities and challenges.

To that end, we created a list of six higher education conferences happening in 2015 — and a big one during the first part of 2016. Just be sure to register early, especially if you’re thinking about being a presenter.

Higher ed conferences on marketing & enrollment management

NACAC (National Association of College Admissions Counselors) Conference

  • When & where? Oct. 1-3, 2015, San Diego, Calif.
  • Who’s going? Admissions/enrollment leaders and counselors
  • Why attend? Great opportunity to share best practices and learn what other schools are doing to serve the needs of prospective students during the admissions process. The event is also attended by many high school counselors, allowing opportunities to build new relationships in key recruiting areas for your institution. NACAC is the largest admissions organization and conference in the U.S. with over 4,400 attendees from hundreds of schools across the country. Follow NACAC on Twitter: @NACAC


  • When & where? Oct. 4-7, 2015, Milwaukee, Wis.
  • Who’s going? Marketers focused on the “.edu”
  • Why attend? The “webmaster” can sometimes feel like he or she is on an island. HighEdWeb is the forum for web-focused marketers to learn everything from “how to pick the right CMS for your school” to the latest trends, from programming and marketing to management, usability and design. Follow HighEdWeb on Twitter: @HighEdWeb

AMA Higher Education Symposium

  • When & where? Nov. 15-18, 2015, Chicago, Ill.
  • Who’s going? Higher education marketers from all disciplines: digital, social, brand, communication and web
  • Why attend? As the leading force in marketing best practices, the AMA hosts an annual symposium that offers an array of best practices for anyone working in the marketing department at a college or university. Recent conferences focused heavily on digital marketing, social media strategies and best practices that illustrate the evolution in focus areas for college marketing leaders. Follow AMA on Twitter: @AMA_Marketing


  • When & where? April 13-16, 2016, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Who’s going? Graduate enrollment management, marketing and admissions professionals
  • Why attend? If you are in the graduate admissions world, you understand that the needs of the grad student are much different than that of the traditional undergrad. NAGAP offers the opportunity to network with more than 900 peers from graduate admissions teams at universities and colleges across the country. In recent years, the conference has focused on key trending issues, such as international recruitment and retention strategies. Follow NAGAP on Twitter: @NAGAPorg

Higher ed conferences on technology


  • When & where? Oct. 27-30, 2015, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Who’s going? Higher education IT and leadership
  • Why attend? This conference offers varying tracks specific to different roles on campuses. “The CIO Experience” offers intensive networking opportunities and a focus on IT leadership. This year’s new “Senior Directors Seminar” is a professional development program for current and would-be IT senior directors. “Innovative Solution Providers” allows you to engage with corporations offering products and services specific to higher ed. The “Digital Poster Gallery” allows for short presentations to share campus experiences. Simply put, EduCause is the Super Bowl of higher education IT conferences. Follow EduCause on Twitter: @EduCause

Higher ed conferences on nontraditional students

UPCEA (University Professional & Continuing Education Association) Marketing & Enrollment Management Seminar

  • When & where? Nov. 4-6, 2015, Denver, Colo.
  • Who’s going? Marketing and enrollment leaders serving adult, professional and online learners
  • Why attend? Adult and online learners are now more prevalent than the “traditional college student,” and this trend is projected to continue well into the future. Celebrating its 100th anniversary, UPCEA is the leading association for professional, continuing, and online education. This seminar focuses on best practices and strategies to attract and serve this growing and critical segment of students. Follow UPCEA on Twitter: @UPCEA

CAEL (Council for Adult & Experiential Learning)

  • When & where? Nov. 18-20, 2015, Baltimore, Md.
  • Who’s going? Higher education professionals focused on adult learning
  • Why attend?  The 2015 conference focuses on “Where to Grow from Here: Scaling What Works for Adult Students.” With higher education shifting to serve more and more post-traditional students, CAEL’s event this year will focus on strategies for institutions to reach more of these adult students. CAEL is the leading voice in serving adult students and has a strong reputation as a forward-thinking organization. Follow CAEL on Twitter: @CAELnews