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Welcome, Idealist Grad Fair exhibitors!

To see what the Idealist Grad Fairs are all about, check out this brief video taken at our New York City fair.

Registration and payment

What is the registration process for the Idealist Grad Fairs? 

In an effort to give every school a chance to meet the Idealist community at at least one Grad Fair, registration for the 2016 season will take place in three stages.

Stage 1: APRIL 19, 11:00 AM PST | 2:00 PM EST, ALL schools will be invited to register for 1 Idealist Grad Fair. Please use this opportunity to register for the fair that is most important to your recruitment strategy.

Our goal here is to give every school the opportunity to participate in at least one fair, especially if the one fair they want to attend is the one in their city. This has worked very well in previous years where every school has gotten the fair they wanted.

Stage 2: APRIL 26, 11:00 AM PST | 2:00 PM EST, a limited number of schools who have participated in the most fairs since this program's inception will be invited to register for additional 4 fairs.

If you are among these schools, you should have received a separate email from Idealist letting you know that you are eligible on April 12, 2016.

Stage 3: APRIL 28, 11:00 AM PST | 2:00 PM EST, registration for all Idealist Grad Fairs will be open to all schools, subject to availability.

*In the event that the fair(s) you wish to register for become unavailable, you will be able to add yourself to the waitlist. If table space becomes available, Idealist will alert those on the waitlist in the order that they were added.

How do I register my school for a fair? 

There are a limited number of tables at each fair and the fairs usually fill up quickly, so be sure to sign up as soon as we open registration!

To register as an exhibitor, you must have a profile on Idealist as an individual and also be an administrator of your school's profile.

If your school does not have an account yet, you need to create a profile for your school after registering as individual.


1. Go to:
2. Log in to your Idealist account (top right corner).
3. Select a fair you'd like to attend (the schedule is listed on the right side of the screen).
4. From the fair page, click on the gray "Exhibit at fairs" button at the top right of the screen.
5. You'll then be taken through the registration process, including a screen where you can select to register for multiple fairs. Check the boxes of the fairs you want to register for. (If a fair is full, the button will say "Add me to the wait list" instead.) After selecting the fairs, hit "Register" at the bottom.
6. After reviewing your registration details, click "Next".
7. Fill out the Contact Information form and click "Confirm" when complete.

If you have trouble registering, please contact us.

How can I add our school to the wait list when a fair is full? 

If a fair is full, you have the option to add your school to the wait list by going through the registration process and by selecting "Add me to the waitlist." You will receive an email for every fair you successfully add your school to the wait list for.


1. Go to:
2. Log in to your Idealist account (top right corner).
3. Select a fair you'd like to attend (the schedule is listed on the right side of the screen).
4. From the fair page, click on the gray "Exhibit at fairs" button at the top right of the screen.
5. You'll then be taken through the registration process, including a screen where you can select multiple fairs. If a fair is full, the button will say "Add me to the wait list" instead. Click on this button then hit "Register" at the bottom.
6. After reviewing your registration details, click "Next".
7. Fill out the Contact Information form and click "Confirm" when complete.

I'm on a wait list. When will I know if a table has become available? 

A table at a full fair only becomes available when a confirmed school cancels its registration. If and when a table becomes available for you and we reach your place on the wait list, we'll send an email to the administrators of your account inviting you to complete your registration for the fair.

We receive most cancellation requests in July. Consequently, tables become available only after we've processed cancellation requests. While we may contact you earlier, please give us until August 15, 2016 to contact you regarding your place on the wait list.

If you don't receive an email from Idealist by August 15, 2016, this means a table has not become available.

How much does it cost to exhibit at an Idealist Grad Fair? 

Exhibitor registration for an Idealist Grad Fair is $595. This fee includes one table, two chairs, and a light snack.

There is no additional charge to bring more than two people to staff your table. However, food is provided for two representatives per school, so please plan accordingly.

How do I pay an invoice? 

We accept credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, and American Express) and checks.

If you're already an administrator of your school on Idealist, go to your school's page and click "View and pay invoices." Select one or multiple invoices that you'd like to pay, then click the "Pay invoices" button at the bottom of the page.

If you're paying an invoice with a credit card but your payment amount due is greater than your daily credit card limit, please send an email to

I don't see all the fairs I registered for on my invoice. 

There are two possible explanations for this:

First, your fairs may appear on separate invoices. This is the case any time you register for fairs at separate times. If you registered successfully for a fair as an exhibitor, you will have received a confirmation note via email. In that case, log in to your account on Idealist, go to your organization's page, and click "View and pay invoices." Your invoices and all fairs will be listed there.

Second, it's possible that you accidentally registered for a fair as a prospective student. If that happened, you will not have received a confirmation email from us. In this case, please contact us immediately.

What is the payment deadline? 

Payment is due upon receipt and must be received within 45 days of the invoice date.

If payment (or an update regarding payment) has not been received by August 1, 2016, any unpaid registrations will be cancelled.

What is the cancellation policy? 

Let us know about cancellations as soon as possible so we can offer your table to a school on the waitlist.

To receive a full refund for a paid table Idealist Grad Fair, you must notify us by July 31, 2016. Cancellations made after July 31, 2016 are non-refundable.

Notify us by sending an email to In the subject line, please put "Fair Cancellation in [CITY]."

Please note that for invoices older than 120 days, we will issue all refunds by check. Otherwise we'll refund according to your school's payment method.

Do you offer discounts for multiple registrations? 

No, we do not offer a discount for multiple fair registrations.

Which schools can and cannot register? 

The schools with the most success at our events are those that offer degrees relevant to public-service professionals, such as anthropology, applied math and science, conflict resolution, counseling, divinity, education, environmental sciences, global and public health, international affairs, nonprofit management, nursing, psychology, public interest law, public administration, public policy, social work, socially responsible business, sociology, urban planning... and the list goes on. Appropriate fellowship programs that partner with grad schools (so that fellows earn a graduate degree) are welcome to register.

Some schools and organizations cannot register for a table. These include:

  • for-profit schools
  • any institution that does not offer graduate degrees
  • fellowships through which fellows do not earn a graduate degree
  • post-baccalaureate programs
  • undergraduate programs
  • non-school organizations
  • certificate programs
  • for-profit third party recruiters

Schools we discourage from attending include programs that do not support the general career aspirations of social-impact professionals, such as hotel administration programs.

If you're not sure whether the Idealist Grad Fairs are a good fit for your school, just ask us using the contact form.

What to bring and what to expect

May I ship materials to and from the fairs? 

Please see instructions on the exhibitor pages for each fair, or refer to our Shipping Page for city-specific information.

At most fairs, we will accept packages within a few days prior to the event. At some, we will not be able to receive packages at all. Please check specific instructions for each fair before sending your materials.

Due to space availability, host schools will only receive packages for a certain period of time. We have indicated receiving dates for each fair – packages delivered before and after these dates will be refused.

At some fairs, particularly in New York and Washington, DC, the venue will charge a fee to receive and handle packages prior to the event. After reviewing the rates, complete and fax the necessary forms.

We suggest traveling with extra materials as, on the rare occasion, a package or two can get lost in the mail. Idealist is not responsible for lost materials.

If you plan on sending materials back to your school after the fair, come prepared with payment information - either a courier account or credit card number.

Idealist is not responsible for shipping fees. If you prefer not to incur charges, we suggest shipping packages to your hotel instead or carrying them with you.

I'm sharing our table with another school. Does Idealist need to know? 

Yes, please inform us if you're sharing your exhibit table with another program to ensure that both are listed on the fair handout. Notify us by sending an email to In the subject line, please put "Table sharing in <CITY>"

We are only able to list the primary registered school on the online fair event page but, if you inform us at least one month before the fair, we will be able to list both schools sharing the table on the handout.

What is the table setup and arrangement? 

Each exhibiting program will have one table (usually three by six feet) and two chairs (more on request). If you plan to bring more than two table staff there is no additional charge. However, we only order catering for two representatives per school.

Also, at some events there will be no table linen or plastic cloths, so please bring a school banner to cover your table.

The tables will be arranged in alphabetical order by university name and then school name.

Please plan to arrive at the event space around 3:30p to allow your staff enough time to set up your booth

What kind of display and materials should I bring, and how many? 

Because of the limited space around each table, we encourage schools to bring a branded table cloth, table top materials and giveaways, and small table top displays.

We discourage schools from displaying large floor, stand-up banners. Consider bringing fliers, pamphlets, or articles about your school; descriptions of available degrees; and a banner or other eye-catching items for your table instead.

If you must use a stand-up banner, please bring one that is no larger than 25.5" x 71.5" Also, be considerate of your neighbor and check with them before setting it up.

Will we have access to the Internet and electricity? 

Please do NOT count on these amenities.

Will food be available for school recruiters? 

We provide a light snack for two staff members of each school exhibiting at the Idealist Grad Fairs. We always include a vegetarian option.

What kinds of prospective students attend the fairs? 

The fairs attract prospective students who are interested in programs that look to solve social and environmental problems. Attendees include people who are at different stages in their careers: professionals, recent college grads, current members and alumni of service corps (such as Peace Corps and AmeriCorps), interns, and undergrads.

The average number of attendees is between 350-400, but the numbers vary depending on the size of the city. At our largest events in New York, Boston, Washington, DC, and San Francisco, we see an average of 1000 attendees.

Our school couldn't make it to an Idealist Grad Fair we were registered for. Are we eligible for a refund or credit for next year's fairs? 

Sorry, but no. Each fair comes with fixed costs that we pay in advance and which your registration fee helps to cover. If you are not able to exhibit on fair day, we will not be able to find a replacement on such short notice. Thanks for understanding.

Promoting the fairs

How do you market the fairs to school seekers? 

We do the following:

  • Promote the fairs to our community by sending targeted emails to Idealist members in each city/region.
  • Advertise on Idealist Email Alerts that go out to over 350,000 subscribers each day.
  • Provide ideas to our host schools who work hard to publicize the event through their local and campus networks.
  • Implement a comprehensive outreach strategy through social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) and local media (event listing websites, local news weeklies, student newspapers, and career services and student organizations) in each of the cities where we hold events.
  • Work with national and local partners who also help get the word out to their networks in each city.

Do you have an idea for a local outreach channel we should be sure to try in your city? Please email

How can I help promote the fairs? 

The success of these fairs rely on your efforts, too. We encourage you to help spread the word to your prospective students. We'll provide some boilerplate language so you can share information about the fairs with your alumni and community. To make outreach easier, we developed a resource materials for each fair with short links, sample email and Twitter updates, flyers, postcards, and media advisories.

Who hosts

How do you decide where to hold the fairs? 

In addition to a core set of cities we return to every year, we survey participating schools about cities they are most likely to come to for a future fair. We consider regional representation and the demographics of the city to make sure we'll have enough interest and attendance from prospective graduate students. We also consider factors such as location, accessibility by public transportation, capacity, available break out space, and date availability.

How can we host an Idealist fair? 

If you are interested in hosting an Idealist fair, feel free to write to us. Hosts are responsible for providing an event space for 60 to 100 exhibit tables and a room for catering, and the necessary equipment such as tables and chairs. Fairs are most successful when the venue is centrally located and easily accessible by public transportation.

Further Questions?

I need some assistance. How do I contact Idealist? 

If you have read all the FAQs above and you still have questions or need assistance, please contact us. Here is a quick guide on where to find information about the fairs and how to contact the grad fair team if you have an issue.

To register, locate information about, and learn how to promote the events, such as:

  • fair details and logistical information
  • information on our partners and sponsors
  • print-ready media kits us at: or 503.985.6657.

For help managing your account and invoices, such as:

  • for assistance in accessing and updating your school's account
  • for assistance in registering for a fair
  • to request a copy of your invoice
  • to be added to our grad fair mailing list
    ...write to us here through our contact form.

For inquiries related to table cancellation, such as:

  • to cancel for a fair (Use "Table Cancellation [City]" in the subject line.)
  • to request a refund because you cancelled your table
    ...write to us here: or 503.985.6657.

Other questions?

Didn't find what you were looking for? Contact us.


2016 Grad Fairs Schedule

September 8: New York
September 20: Philadelphia
September 22: Boston
September 27: Washington, DC
September 29: Houston
October 4: Minneapolis
October 5: Chicago
October 10: Seattle
October 17: Los Angeles
October 19: San Francisco