Lake Forest Academy’s alumni network and student involvement

Lake Forest Academy has an incredible alumni network of entrepreneurs, New York Times best-selling authors, professional hockey players, politicians, musicians, and more. Current students love to meet them in order to hear about their college adventures, careers, and life after LFA, especially as these interactions were hindered by the pandemic. Last Spring highlighted the Young Alumni-Student Networking Night, where nine former LFA students returned to offer insight in a myriad of fields. Afterwards, students expressed their interest in more, or at least to know where the more is. 

For one, alumni provide a unique viewpoint on the colleges they’ve attended, especially for students that are eager to apply there. They can recount their applications and helpful tactics– tips LFA students can learn from whilst preparing for their highschool-to-college transition. Compared to admission officers or advertisers, alumni can relay their experiences without pretense and convey their genuine thoughts, including both the pros and the cons. 

Plus, as acceptance rates for colleges and universities slim, high school students are constantly looking to embellish their resumes and diversify what they recount in their interviews and essays. We even see this trend translate over into our LFA community as students pursue these opportunities in hospitals, with professors, at businesses, and in summer courses. No longer is the notion of “highschool internships” obscure– in fact, it’s the cherry on top for many applicants who deem it demonstrative of their interest and proficiency in a field. 

Yet, despite the plethora of interest, many don’t take advantage of what’s right beneath their noses: alumni. In fact, for many students, even knowledge as to where the alumni offices are located is foreign. 

 Consequently, the annual Networking Night may seem like the sole way to connect with alumni and because of this rarity, students often don’t even consider alumni as a tool to inquire about or pursue. To combat this, LFA should push and promote their alumni harder– for instance, have advisories give a guide on who and where to go to, feature alumni weekly or monthly on media or via email announcements. 

As for what students can do, they’ll find that one quick visit to New Hall and a swift conversation can open up key relationships and generations of individuals within LFA’s network. Spearheaded by Ruth Keyso, the Director of Alumni Engagement, students can gather and request for panels, like the one held on Venture Capital last spring and Entertainment during the pandemic where specific alumni will elaborate in-depth on their professional lifestyles. Seniors are invited to join LFA’s alumni group on Linkedin too, kickstarting their post-LFA endeavors.

 If student and alumni relations strengthen, then alumni too will become more aware of what the students want, whether it is advice, potential internships, shadowing, knowledge, or long-term learning relationships; there is a wealth of knowledge to be garnered from stronger connections. 

As Keyso said, “there’s a robust alumni community present, about six thousand in the world.” Make use of it.