First Connection

This Pre-Orientation Program provides an excellent opportunity to get an early start on your life at Lake Forest College by getting connected with students, professors, staff, and on campus-resources

Students who identify as...

  • Black
  • Indigenous
  • International
  • Latinx
  • LGBTQ+
  • Pell Grant
  • Undocumented/
  • First
  • Allies

...are especially encouraged to apply!

Students and Mentors attending First Connection pose with campus leadership

Benefits of Attending

  • Early move-in!
  • Adjustment to campus!
  • Build relationships with Faculty and Staff!
  • Connect with peers and mentors!
Important Dates


  • July 5: Last day to apply
  • August 15: Arrival to campus
  • August 15-17: First Connection Program
  • August 17-21: New Student Orientation
FAQ - Upcoming Changes
  1. Student Affairs is working to reimagine and fashion a welcome experience for New Students. Student Affairs is collaborating with a wide array of campus constituents on creating this. We are currently in a small group phase. 
  2. Our plan embraces a Transformational Student Experience. Areas of focus:
    1. Orienting new students to campus and Lake Forest College
    2. Creating a tight knit community of First Year Students 
    3. Meeting CAS Standards for New Student experiences, educating students and families
    4. Honoring the experiences of a diverse group of First Year Students
    5. Developing tracks + cohorts for students to experience 
    6. Supporting students (particularly traditionally marginalized groups) to develop support systems and connections to resources
  1. Student Affairs is working with the Office of Communications and Marketing to share updates with campus
  2. This is a multi-year, phased-in roll out.
  1. We are planning workshops with constituents in April and July. More info to come!
FAQ - General
  • Is there a cost to attending First Connection?
    No, the program is free for participants. All activities and meals are provided free of charge for First Connection attendees.
  • Can students who commute attend?
    Yes! Commuting students are invited and welcome to attend First Connection. Our office will work with you to arrange for parking on campus during the program.
  • Can transfer students attend?
    Yes! Our program welcomes transfer students; our First Connection mentors often incldue transfer students who can help you get acquainted with life at the College.
  • Can students arrive early?
    No. Our residence halls will not open for incoming first-year students until the first day of the program, when students are shceduled to move in.
  • Can students arrive late?
    Although we do not recommend arriving after the program has started, we understand there can be travel delays. If you are unable to arrive in time for the first day of the program, pelase let us know ahead of time!
FAQ - International Students
  • Are international students required to attend First Connection?
    Yes! International students must attend the program.
  • Do international students still need to submit the application?
    Yes! The application will serve as your registration for the program. Please submit it ASAP to ensure you receive any communications from our First Connection team in a timely manner.
  • Can international students arrive early?
    No. Students are not able to move into the residence halls early. Students who are arriving to the United States ahead of the check-in day can find accommodations near O'Hare Airport and join us on check-in day at ORD for the airport shuttle. Otherwise, students can find accommodations near campus, and arrange for transportation to campus on check-in day. Please note the College will not cover the cost of alternative transportation or any accommodations for students.
  • What airport should I fly into?
    Students should arrange to fly into O'Hare International Airport (ORD). Our office will provide transportation from ORD to campus on check-in day, between 9:30 am to 5:00 pm.
  • How do I get from the airport to campus?
    Our office will provide transportation from ORD to campus on check-in day, between 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. Please be sure to complete the arrival form sent to you via email after you register to ensure we have your flight information!
First Connection made me feel more at home! It was a great way to transition to college life.

What to expect

The program provides students with opportunities to engage in conversations about the college experience, including how to acclimate to college life.

Students will participate in fun, community-building activities surrounding topics related to diversity, inclusion, belonging, and cultural understanding.

Please monitor your Lake Forest College email regularly for information, insights, and updates regarding First Connection or ask your admissions counselor for more info!

Free for participants!

Contact us:

UNIDAS co-presidents and First Connection Coordinator and Mentor celebrate at the Gala

Two of our Mentors share their words of wisdom with participants during the gala.

First Connection mentors and participants enjoy a meal before at the gala.

Enjoying a day at the Lake Forest Beach.

An impromptu game of badminton at the beach.

Participants get to know each other as they enjoy a sunny August day.

First Connection 2022 Mentor and participant group get a tour of campus.

Participants complete an Instagram Scavenger hunt in Downtown Lake Forest

Showing off their artistic side, participants complete the Frida Kahlo self-portrait activity.

Participants hear from Mentors, faculty, and staff who share their identities.

Enjoying late-night activities at the student center.

First Connection Mentors.