Kari Hatridge ’21

Class Year


Area(s) of Study



Salem, Missouri

Graduate Study

Doctor of Optometry
Midwestern University

What made you choose Lake Forest College? 

I chose Lake Forest College for many reasons. Academically, I felt that Lake Forest College could give me an education that put me first. With smaller class sizes, the chance to build connections with professors, internship opportunities, and the well-rounded education the school had to offer, made me excited to attend. The most important reason I attended, however, is that Lake Forest College felt like home the moment I stepped foot on campus.

How did a liberal arts education make a difference for you? 

I feel that a liberal arts education made me more culturally aware, gave me strong communication skills, and an overall well-rounded education. This has helped me now inside and outside of the classroom. 

What experiences outside of the classroom helped prepare you for Doctor of Optometry studies?

The internship opportunities at Lake Forest College are very unique. Outside of the classroom I obtained an internship with a local optometrist. The internship was a semester long and it helped me to make connections with professionals and better understand my field of interest. 

How did your time at Lake Forest College help you prepare to apply to graduate school? 

I was able to build relationships with some of my professors due to the smaller class sizes. Building these connections allowed me to perform mock interviews and obtain recommendation letters. Both were crucial in the application process. Another resource at the College that helped me during the application process was the Career Advancement Center. Again, they helped with interview questions and gave mock interviews. 

What do you think of the new Health Professions Program? I think that the new Health Professions Program is a great way for students interested in any healthcare path to explore new options and gain hands on experience. It is a unique opportunity for all students, even for those outside of the natural science majors.

What do you think of the new 4-4 Dual Degree BA-OD Optometry pathway with Midwestern University?

This new pathway sounds like a great opportunity for any high school student who is passionate about the field of optometry. The pathway sets students up for a great pre-optometry education. The DAP pathway should be especially noted for exempting students from taking the OAT and going through the OptomCAS application process, and the fees that come along with both. 

What skills and experiences at Lake Forest do you believe will help you be successful as a professional? 

One of the most important skills I learned at Lake Forest was how to work in a group. It taught me how to communicate in a team, how to step up as a leader, and forced me to use critical thinking skills.  Interprofessional collaboration is becoming more prominent and being able to work with colleagues from all fields and knowing when to step up is important. Lastly, the internship opportunities and events allowed for networking and hands on experiences, all of which has made me a better professional. 

What advice would you give a high school student looking to pursue health professions and is considering Lake Forest College? 

The advice I would give is do your research. If you are set pursuing one specific field in the world of healthcare, still explore more options when in school. Lake Forest College is unique in allowing you to obtain many different experiences, utilize those opportunities when attending. Gain as many experiences as you can because it will help you in the long run.