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How many conferences did you submit to before you had an accept?


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I have just started submitting abstracts of a very shortened version of my MA thesis to conferences - but so far 3 rejects. Anyone else have trouble getting into their first conference?

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I'm going to guess my advisor's name being on the author list had a big influence during my undergrad (one of the most well-published, and former president of both of our national societies), but I was 6/6 for applications/acceptances.

I have yet to submit anything during graduate school since my research is a HUGE departure from what I did back then.

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I've been pondering this question, and I think that everyone's experience is going to be different. Because really, you have to take into consideration the application process itself. Before coming back to school, I was a grant writer with a very high success rate. Honestly, that high success rate is largely because I chose very carefully where to spend my time and energy applying. I guess the reason I'm mentioning this is because if you are feeling low because of your acceptance rate, don't necessarily attribute it to your topics/writing. It could just be that the conferences were not the right conferences.

I've only applied to one conference since starting my M.A., and I got accepted to that conference...but the theme was pretty much tailor made for a paper I had already written for a seminar, so it was a very good fit. (read: high chance of success)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I started with small conferences during my UG, student ones held at my uni. I felt comfortable with starting out at smaller student conferences since the audience was more on "my level" and I was among familiar faces. It's helped to build up my confidence.

Then I aimed to present at smaller, regional or specialized sub-fields' conferences. In two weeks I have my first professional conference - it focuses on a sub-field of anthropology. I received help from one of the professors I did research for. To help me get started he made me a co-author in the paper I am presenting (there will be 4 of us, our professor and three of us research assistants on the paper as co-authors. But since I'm the only RA left I am going to present it.)

I don't think it's too difficult. I'm an UG still and the paper I am presenting focuses on research I did as an UG. But, I agree with the above post - it depends on the field and what kind of conferences you're hoping to get into.

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Thanks LadyT for the encouragement. I guess I have been aiming pretty high with the conferences I have been submitting to, although they have all been graduate student conferences. I have also been submitting to general conferences in my field (art history), not specific to my topic. I guess I was also wondering if the fact that I haven't presented yet is making it harder for me to get accepted. I have had to submit a CV with every abstract, and I can't figure out if they consider how far along a person is in their studies or their publication/conference record.

It is nice to hear other people's experience with this.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hugh10: I have submitted abstracts to six conferences so far, and received only one rejection. The one rejection is for the national conference in my field, but I have had sucess at submitting to other national conferences (two in fact), two regional conferences, and one graduate conference. I did start off though with applying to a graduate conference then to a regional conference, and then finally to a national conference. I don't think it's necessarily about not having experience presenting at conferences, but how much your research fits with the parameters of the conference, especially if there are other people at the conference presenting on similiar topics to group you in a panel. You might even think about forming your own panel for a conference and submitting that way.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ignore the other post if it's here because it was no worded well. I submitted 2 abstracts to the biggest conferences in my field (2 years in a row) as an undergraduate and with the work I did as an undergraduate. Because I didn't know that these things could be rejected (!!), that shows me that my PI really helped me a lot. Do you have an advior who's name you could put on your work as an author?

Edited by NeuroGal
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FWIW, I am two for two. The first was a conference hosted by school. In the grand scheme of things, the conference and my presentation were very minor affairs. The second was a regional conference co-hosted by the professional association most relevant to my field of study. Although I felt like I got eaten alive by the moderator--he snarled and sneered at me :huh: --I was offered a standing invitation to come back and present at future conferences.

I attribute the acceptance of my proposals to having research interests that fit nicely into the themes of the two conferences.

I've heard and read that, at least in the field of history, the way to go is to organize a panel and to fit your paper proposal as part of the plan.

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  • 1 month later...

I have submitted to two regional conferences which match the region of my focus and have been accepted to both. Now, I am helping prepare a panel proposal for a national conference. I think my experience is similar to Sigaba's in that both of my presentations were accepted because they fit in with the sub-field of the conferences and the conferences' themes. Like murkyama alluded, submitting to conferences is much like applying to graduate school in the sense that fit matters above else.

If you have had multiple submissions rejected, ask your advisor (or even a few of your peers) to look at your abstract/submission. After all, like muc of academic writing, conference proposals have their own accepted formula and formatting. You should also try Googling "how to write a conference proposal." Good luck!!

Edited by natsteel
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I am just entering a Ph.D. program, but have done work in behavioral economics and I am 2 for 2 on submissions as a solo author (following the completion of my Master's in Econ - I felt this would add to my CV when applying, and I am certain it did).

I echo a few sentiments expressed by others:

1. Submit to conferences that are very relevant to your work.

2. Write a compelling abstract. I think academicians can be too stiff in their abstract writing. I have submitted many abstracts for conferences in the industrial world with a very high acceptance rate and find that many authors don't spend enough time fine-tuning the abstract.

3. As an unknown - follow the rules of submission (cover pages, length, file formats, deadlines) to the "T" and be especially courteous and thorough in communications.

IMHO, with the exception of the most select conferences, a good paper topic, with a well-written abstract stands a good chance of acceptance even by a lesser known (or even unknown) author.

Edited by TheFez
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  • 1 month later...

This varies dramatically from field to field. For example, I've heard in computer science that conference presentations are prestigious, journal articles matter less. In my field, social psych, it's relatively trivial to get a poster accepted at the national conferences but very hard to get papers published. (Conference talks, however, are very competitive.)

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This sounds like something that varies from field to field too -- I haven't heard of anything being rejected from a physical science conference (although not everyone will get an oral presentation slot, but everyone seems to get a poster presentation at least). Not counting student-run conferences, I'm 2/2 for oral presentations and 2/2 for poster presentations. Also science conferences tend to have very short talk slots -- they can be as short as 7 mins + 3 mins questions but many are about 12 mins + 3 mins questions. And with lots of parallel sessions, there are enough time slots for many people to go!

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