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Abigail Samuelson

“When I decided to transfer schools, I knew I wanted the rest of my college experience to be spent somewhere with a genuinely tight-knit community, a diverse student body, and strong academics. From the moment I stepped on campus, I knew Lake Forest was just that.”

Why did you choose to attend Lake Forest College?

I chose Lake Forest College because I wanted somewhere with a diverse student body in every sense of the word—socioeconomically, ethnically, interests, everything. I thrive off meeting people from different countries and backgrounds who challenge you to grow. I decided to leave Dayton during my first semester freshman year. I knew immediately it wasn’t the right place for me. I started looking at Loyola University in Chicago and Lake Forest College. Right when I stepped on the Lake Forest campus, I met with Melissa Naughton, the transfer advisor in the Office of Admissions, and she took a lot of time to get to know me. I felt like I was more than just a number, like she really cared about me and wanted me to attend Lake Forest College. When you feel wanted, you’re more inclined to want that, too. Then, on my tour, I loved everyone I met. They were all so nice and sat down with me at lunch. It was so welcoming, especially coming from a bigger school where people weren’t even inclined to say hello. I sat in on a class during my visit and I loved that, too. Choosing Lake Forest College turned out to be a really good decision for me.

What has surprised you the most about Lake Forest College?

That I’m able to get two minors and a major in just four years. I’m double minoring in gender, sexuality, and women’s studies and also in entrepreneurship and innovation. I decided on the entrepreneurship minor after taking the intro class and loving it. I chose the gender studies minor because that’s something I’m really passionate about. Both these areas interest me and each present a lot of opportunities for me on campus and beyond.

Did you feel welcome as a transfer student?

Yes, I did feel welcome. It was a hard transition at first, I will say that, having left Dayton after one semester—I started at Lake Forest in January—but it turned out to be great. People were saying “hi” to me all the time at Lake Forest right from the beginning, even when I didn’t know them. Everyone was super nice. And I got involved right away. I joined Alpha Phi, which is something that has made my experience at Lake Forest really enjoyable. I don’t know a better way to integrate yourself on campus than to rush a sorority and have a ton of friends just like that. For me, that was super great. Now I’m the president of Alpha Phi. I’m also a Student Ambassador and I’m a programming chair for It’s On Us, which works to fight sexual assaults on campuses. I’m also a Forester Guide. 

What do you like best about Lake Forest College?

What I like about Lake Forest College is that you are not a number. You are a valuable, special, important piece of the Lake Forest College puzzle. If you’re not there, someone notices. If you’re not in class, your professor emails you. If you’ve been acting weird, your friends notice. If you’re not at lunch one day, people wonder where you were. That’s why I say Lake Forest College is a puzzle and every piece is critical to the strength of the community. The pieces change every year, but it’s still a Lake Forest College puzzle. 

Have you made use of the Career Advancement Center?

Yes, I meet with Joe Chmura, who’s helping me because I have zero idea of what I want to do after college. He’s helpful because he knows me, he knows my GPA, my co-curriculars, and my strengths. Career centers at other schools wouldn’t know you like that. They wouldn’t know your strengths, they’d just see the resume. But Joe knows me as a person and knowing someone as a person is much more helpful when trying to look for a job and getting help than just looking at a resume.