First Connection

The First Connection Pre-Orientation Program welcomes international students and students from traditionally and historically marginalized communities in higher education to campus for three days of fun and community-building to assist students in their transition to life at Lake Forest College, both in and outside of the classroom. 

The program is also designed to enhance the cultural awareness and understanding among its participants by providing meaningful intercultural information and experiences. Thus, students traditionally underrepresented and/or underserved in American higher education, including, but not limited to U.S. students of color, students who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community, first-generation college students, undocumented students and international students are especially urged to attend. 

Students and Mentors attending First Connection pose with campus leadership

Taking place  before New Student Orientation, this pre-orientation program facilitates the transition to the academic expectations and general culture of the College. Participants will be encouraged to develop a peer support network of staff and fellow students to provide additional support during their first semester here.

First Connection provides support regarding a number of transition issues, including the development of a genuine understanding of the College’s rigorous academic expectations, dealing with cultural adjustment, and gaining familiarity with the College’s various resources. 

In short, the objectives of the program are:
  • to provide experiences that will support incoming students’ academic and co-curricular transition to the college.
  • to create an opportunity for a meaningful intercultural experience for incoming students.
  • to allow incoming students to have community-building opportunities with other students, faculty, and staff who share their identities.
  • to familiarize incoming students with campus and local resources. 
First Connection made me feel more at home! It was a great way to transition to college life.

Important Information

First Connection 2023 will run from August 14-17. Please monitor your Lake Forest College email regularly for information, insights, and updates regarding First Connection. Ask your admissions counselor for the application link!

Admitted students can plan to arrive on campus August 14, 2023. This program is free of charge-all activities and meals for participants are covered by our office and the College.

If you have questions about First Connection, please contact the Office of Intercultural Relations at

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.