Tips for Writing Your ASHA Convention Proposal

Thinking about submitting a proposal to present at this year’s ASHA Convention? Don’t let the thought of entering as a student feel daunting or out of reach—you got this!

With the help of my research team, I wrote my first Convention proposal during my undergraduate junior year. There was a lot of information and I was a bit unsure on how to go about navigating through the process. So, I organized the materials required for the submission and charged forward!

Here are some tips you might find helpful when writing your submission:

Getting Started

  • Know your deadlines and review the submission guidelines! The Call for Papers is open now and closes on April 3, 2018.
  • Submitting a proposal as part of a team? Collaborate often and discuss their preferred order of authorship. Make sure all authors complete a disclosure agreement. If they don’t, they’ll be removed from the presentation.
  • Utilize your team and assign tasks! One person may be strong in writing, another in editing, and a 3rd in generating ideas—take advantage of everyone’s strengths!

Digging In

  • Write your 1st draft in a Word document. The boxes on the submission form are small and hard to write in.
  • Write your proposal before writing your abstract. It’ll help you organize what’s most important.
  • Dive into the purpose of your proposal within the first few sentences. You don’t get a lot of space to make a first impression—get to the point quickly! And it may help you stand out to proposal reviewers—they have a lot to review!
  • Don’t forget the details:
    • Explain how your work will benefit others. Make that personal connection.
    • Discuss your research methods—how and what information was collected. And provide preliminary results, if available.
    • Provide suggestions and direction for future research.
  • Write in a technical style similar to research articles you’ve read for all of your course work.

 Wrapping It Up

  • Unsure about something? Consult with your faculty mentor, co-authors, or someone who’s successfully submitted a proposal before.
  • Cite your references appropriately … this is very important in our field!
  • Get a 2nd pair of eyes to edit your proposal for grammar and spelling errors—mistakes happen to the best of us!
  • I received a decision about my proposal around mid-July. You can probably expect the same.

I gained a lot of confidence through writing my first proposal—which was accepted! My presentation experience in the Poster Sessions was so incredible that it led me to present three more times—two more Poster Sessions and one oral presentation—at three different ASHA Conventions.

Through these presentations, I practiced my public speaking skills and demonstrate knowledge that I’d acquired throughout the research process. I loved presenting my ideas and sharing research within our professional community. Plus, they’re great to put on resumes!

The best tip I have for you is to go for it! If you’re on the fence about submitting a proposal—try it. It’s a great opportunity! What do you have to lose?!

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