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Graduate and Professional School Fair

An event focused on graduate and professional school applications and networking with representatives of programs across the U.S.


About the fair

The Graduate and Professional School Fair is an in-person and hybrid event designed for those who are planning to apply to graduate or professional school in the near future. Summer interns, college students, and postbacs can gather information about how to apply to graduate or professional school, explore institutions and programs, and network with program directors and faculty members from institutions across the country.
This event is for NIH summer interns and postbacs. We also welcome college students and postbacs from outside the NIH.

Fair features

The 2024 Graduate and Professional School Fair includes two types of sessions:

  • Hybrid panel sessions that provide recommendations for getting into graduate or professional school.
  • In-person exhibitor sessions that are opportunities to learn more about participating institutions and programs by connecting with their representatives.

Additionally, registered students and trainees will be able to access prerecorded workshops, panels, and interviews covering career paths in a variety of disciplines.

Dates and schedule

The 2024 Graduate and Professional School Fair will take place in person in the Natcher Conference Center (Building 45) on the NIH Bethesda campus on July 17, 2024.

Exhibitor registration is closed - the sessions are full. Please see our information for exhibitors.

The agenda for the 2024 Graduate and Professional School Fair will be posted in June 2024.

How to attend

Lodging near NIH

If you are not local to the area and looking for lodging, Bethesda and Rockville both have a multitude of hotels that are conveniently located near the NIH campus. The NIH Clinical Center has compiled a list of hotels you can consider.

Getting to the NIH Campus

The Natcher Conference Center is Building 45 on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Bethesda Campus, about five miles from Washington, DC. Check out NIH Visitor Information for instructions on how to navigate to campus and go through security.

Food during the event

The cafeteria in the Natcher Conference Center will be open for lunch from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm. There will be food trucks offering a variety of options for breakfast and lunch. You are also welcome to bring your own food and drink.


American Sign Language interpreting services, CART services, and other reasonable accommodations are available upon request. Individuals who need interpreting services and/or other reasonable accommodations to participate in this event should contact OITE at or the NIH Interpreting Office directly at

Requests should be made at least five business days in advance, when possible, in order to ensure interpreter availability.

How to prepare

Prepare for the Graduate and Professional School Fair ahead of time so that you can get the most out of your experience.

Before the fair

Complete these four steps to prepare yourself to attend the fair:

  1. Register for and attend orientation. Use the link below to register.
  2. Make a list of schools and panels you want to visit. Use the event agenda and the list of participating institutions to plan your day. Research programs ahead of time. Make note of where and at what time sessions you are interested in are taking place.
  3. Practice your elevator speech. Be prepared to talk about yourself, your academic work and experiences, your skills and competencies, and what interests you about a program.
  4. Prepare a list of questions to ask the representatives. Make sure to prepare questions that are not including in the list of things you can find by perusing the institution's website. Your questions should be tailored and specific to a program.
  • Don't ask: "I’m interested in public health; can you tell me about your program?"
  • Do ask: "I see that you have the [name] program in public health/free clinic; can you tell me about how a first-year student can participate?"
  • Don't ask: "Tell me more about your school", " My GPA and test score are [#, #]; what are my chances of getting into your program?"
  • Do ask: "What are the components of a competitive application to this program?"

During the fair

Remember: this is an opportunity to introduce yourself to an insitution that you hope to attend in the future. Make a good impression by presenting yourself professionally in both demeanor and attire. Follow these three pieces of advice:

  1. Dress appropriately and be neatly groomed. In this context, appropriate dress means clothes and accessories designed for a professional workplace. Consider modest, well-fitting clothing that is free of images, graphics, rips, holes or stains. T-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops are not considered professional in this setting.
  2. Bring materials to share and to use. Bring copies of a one-page resume that is appropriate for the educational path you want to pursue (Check out our Guides to CVs and resumes for help). You should also bring materials to take notes. Write down names of panelists and list institutions you want to follow up on later.
  3. Give people your full attention. Introduce yourself by starting the conversation with a firm handshake. Put away your phone when talking to school/institution representatives. By doing this, you signal that you are paying attention and that you value their time.


Registration for the 2024 Graduate and Professional School Fair is now open!

Click here to register