Here's How to Join the Online Platform — Even if You're Joining Us In — Person in Atlanta!

September 8, 2021

For online and in-person participants, COE's virtual Annual Conference is hosted on the virtual conference platform OpenWater. Login using your COE credentials at

All participants can live stream the entire conference or specific sessions via the OpenWater video platform, in virtual meeting rooms powered by Zoom.

You must be registered for the 2021 COE annual conference to participate. You will be able to log-in using single sign-on credential to the conference hub. To make the most of your time 'on-site,' take an hour or two before the conference begins to play around in the event hub. Your experience is in your control.

  • 1) Click on the Login button on the top menu to be directed to the login page.
  • 2. Enter the email associated with your registration.

If your email is registered, you will receive an email from "" with your unique access link. Click on the link to be automatically redirected back to the 2021 COE annual conference virtual platform.

The session gallery is your hallway to the conference. Attendees and speakers will be able to browse through the schedule and find the session they need to join. Here's how to find and join a session under the Virtual Sessions menu:

  • Click the title of the session you wish to join.
  • If you arrive early, you'll see the session button will not yet be active. The page will refresh every 15 seconds and will change to 'Join Session' when the meeting room opens, and you can enter.

By default, all participants will be in listen-only mode for most sessions. For some sessions, you will be unable to un-mute yourself, however. We encourage participation via the chat box during most sessions.

Now we welcome you and enjoy! Block off time in your day to attend live and interact with other attendees and have your questions answered directly by the speaker.

We hope our online participants treat a virtual conference as you would an in-person conference with respect to your calendar and task load. Prioritize the time to be truly present in the experience, engage with the sessions and presenters, and use the chat and other networking tools regularly to connect with other participants.

Join from anywhere and on almost any device!

Great news! Software requirements for participating in the annual conference are the same as those for joining Zoom! Click here for more information about software requirements, recommended microphone/headsets and webcams, and supported operating systems, tablets and mobile devices.

Zoom technical requirements include:

  • An internet connection — broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE). Minimum bandwidth is 600kbps (up/down) and recommended is 1.5 Mbps (up/down). Check your Internet bandwidth using Speedtest.
  • A microphone — built-in to your computer or USB plug-in or wireless Bluetooth.
  • Built-in headset jack from laptop or desktop — even if your laptop or desktop has speakers, you should plug in a headset so that the sound from the speakers does not cause an echo in the Zoom meeting. Any headset with a 3.5mm plug will plug in.

On-site participants, make sure you know about our COVID-19 prevention protocols before you join us at the Hyatt Regency.

Masks will be always required for all conference participants and exhibitors when they are not eating or drinking, regardless of vaccination status. Any person who refuses to comply with COE's mask mandate will be removed from the conference venue and will not be issued a refund. Read the latest update to our onsite COVID-19 prevention protocol here.

Engage with us on social media using #COEAC2021.

Network with more than 2,000 college access professionals from hundreds of institutions nationwide and share your big ideas during educational sessions, ED Talks, and other opportunities on social media using the official hashtag #COEAC2021.

Let peers know you're going with this profile picture frame.

One of the advantages of attending an in-person conference is the ability to reconnect with acquaintances, connect with new people, and discuss key information and insights. Although the methods may be a little different, you can reconnect during virtual conferences. Download your official annual conference profile picture here.

Register for the Fun Run, Fun Walk, or Sweating to the Oldies and join from anywhere.

This year, participants can choose either of the following:

  • 5k Fun Run (loop around nearby Centennial Olympic Park)
  • 2-Mile Walk (head to the park and back)
  • Sweating to the Oldies (in the hotel or virtually)

While supplies last, all registrants will receive a special edition COE Fun Run 2021 hat. Our virtual participants can also send a selfie of themselves working out from wherever they are in the country using #COEAC2021. Register here.

Bid to win in our online auction by Tues., September 14 at 8 p.m.

The auction will run through most of the conference, concluding on September 14 at 8:00 p.m. ET. This year, we appreciate the marvelous donations we're offering such as custom face masks, gift baskets, a tech tools kit, artisanal blankets, live streaming subscriptions, e-cards, and a whitewater rafting trip. You could be just one click away from bidding to win one or more of these fabulous items. Bid to win here.

Our Public Service Project helps this Atlanta middle school build its STEM curriculum.

This year for its public service project, the Council supports Crawford Long Middle School. Located in SW Atlanta, the middle school serves over 700 students in grades six through eight. Here's how you can help make a difference in their lives. Donate here.

Please note our community guidelines Document is available for download (.pdf).

Some of the goals of this virtual conference are to encourage strong and mutually beneficial ties between college access professionals and to stimulate interest and enhance involvement through increased opportunities for engagement. In order to meet these, it's important for participants to feel like they are in a safe place that is populated by people with shared interests. As such, we request that you read and adhere to the guidelines that follow.

  • Treat others online as you would treat them in real life. Be tolerant towards other's viewpoints; respectfully disagree when opinions do not align.
  • Communicate with courtesy and respect. Respect the privacy and personal information of other participants.
  • Use messaging/email responsibly. These tools are intended to keep participants in touch with one another, to help facilitate networking and to promote common interests.

By logging onto the conference platform and joining a virtual session, you are considered to be in agreement with the terms and conditions listed above.

Got Questions? Need Help During the Conference?

During a session, you can use the chat box if you're having any technical difficulties. If you have any technical difficulties outside of the sessions, contact COE via email at (