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Career Connections

ACTIVATE: Summer Internship Program

Lake Forest College’s ACTIVATE: Summer Internship Program is an all-access Chicago summer internship program that puts you in the career driver’s seat. You’ll stay in Lake Forest College’s stunning Chicago Loop campus, receive cutting-edge career preparation and mentorship, and benefit from a guaranteed internship at a premiere Chicago internship location. You’ll live and work in the city that works, and the ACTIVATE experience will kick-start your post-graduate career as only Chicago can.

Kick-Start Your Career

The ACTIVATE: Summer Internship Program is a selective enrollment program, where admitted students participate in professional development opportunities before and during the program, receive personalized guidance to secure an internship, and earn up to two academic credits. 

ACTIVATE is 8 - 10 weeks, depending upon the internship:

  • 8-week session: Tuesday, May 29 - Tuesday, July 24
  • 10-week session: Tuesday, May 29 - Tuesday, August 7

Students reside in downtown Chicago and explore distinctive aspects of the city through professional co-curricular activities. 

This program is open to students from all majors who are interested in clarifying personal/professional goals, gaining career-building experiences, and getting to know fellow interns, as well as gaining access to alumni and friends of the College who are leaders in their chosen fields. While students will intern at many sites throughout the city, during your non-work time, you’ll have access to activities designed specifically for students in this program. Unlike doing an internship on your own, you’ll be surrounded by people with similar experiences, as well as program staff able to help you maximize the value of your summer. *This program is offered during the summer only and is separate from Lake Forest College In The Loop. Students may do both programs. 

It’s a Guarantee

That’s right. Admitted students will receive a guaranteed premiere Chicago internship upon successful completion of a preparation program administered by the Career Advancement Center. Our professional staff will assist you in honing your career goals and collaborating closely with you on the internship search and selection process throughout the spring semester to ensure you have the training and skills to make a great impression on your summer employer. Once you have your internship in hand, you’ll continue to receive mentoring and professional development throughout the summer.

Where You Want to Work: Internships

An ACTIVATE summer internship can give you a jump-start on your career. The ACTIVATE program comes with the support of your own career success team. Your ACTIVATE: Summer Internship Program Internship Supervisor will put learning front and center with well-designed assignments that will lead you further along your path toward defining and reaching your personal and professional goals. While participating in the ACTIVATE: Summer Internship Program, you will complete an internship of up to two credits, totaling 300 hours over the course of the summer.

You may also elect to complete 1, 1.25, 1.5, or 1.75 credits upon approval of the program staff. Given the experiential/immersive nature of the program, the internship is a key component of the ACTIVATE program. Where will you intern? Potential internship sites include:

  • 826CHI
  • American Diabetes Association
  • Booklist
  • Chicago Botanic Garden
  • CAIR Chicago
  • Chicago Mercantile Exchange *10-week program
  • Chicago Shakespeare Theater
  • Coyote Logistics *10-week program
  • Cumulus Chicago
  • Facets Multimedia
  • John Marshall Law School - Veteran’s Legal Clinic or other Admin Offices
  • Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine (Research Laboratory)
  • Pro Sports Experience
  • Ravenswood Media
  • State of Illinois – Insurance Regulation
  • Toroso Investments
  • XPO Logistics 

And others…

Where You Want to Live: Chicago

Beyond sharpening your career goals, you’ll have opportunities to take full advantage of the cultural, social, and intellectual diversity of the city. Students live on the fifteenth floor of The Flats, the College’s Chicago Loop campus, and within walking distance a majority of Chicago’s top museums and attractions, including Millennium Park, Lake Michigan and Museum Campus. 

Up to 16 students may live in double-occupancy bedrooms, two to three bedrooms in each apartment.  Each bedroom is equipped with desks, beds, wardrobes, and dressers. Each apartment contains a common area, bathroom, and kitchen. Apartments are provided with cable TV in the common room and internet/wi-fi throughout the apartment. Rooms provide views of Lake Michigan, Museum Campus, Buckingham Fountain and/or the city skyline.

At the Right Price

The fee for the ACTIVATE program includes tuition, orientation, housing, internship supervision, professional development activities, and a U-Pass for unlimited CTA travel (bus and El).

Here is an estimated budget for the 2018 program:

ACTIVATE tuition, including 8 weeks of housing, is $8,700. 

ACTIVATE tuition, including 10 weeks of housing, requires an additional $500 fee.

ACTIVATE includes two credits of internship for 300 hours over the course of the summer.

Financial Aid

ACTIVATE grantLake Forest College students who currently receive either a merit scholarship or need-based aid will receive an automatic ACTIVATE Grant of $2000.

ACTIVATE PLUS grantHigh-need students may be eligible to receive an ACTIVATE PLUS Grant of up to $2300.

An additional ACTIVATE BONUS award will be available by application essay. The timetable will be announced to those admitted to the program.


To be eligible to participate in the ACTIVATE program, students must have:

  • A strong interest in experiencing the many resources offered by an immersive Chicago experience.
  • Good academic and judicial disciplinary standing during time of application and time of participation in program. Student must also receive Dean of Students and Academic Advisor approval to participate.
  • A minimum GPA of 2.8. for the academic program. Certain internships may require higher GPAs or specific coursework/experience. Students with a lower GPA may still apply for conditional acceptance.
  • Junior status or above at time of participation and have completed at least one semester of study at Lake Forest College.

Students must be:

  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s start date.
  • Able to stay for the duration of the 8-week program (or 10-week if opt into the longer program).
  • Willing to participate actively in pre-departure activities during the spring term.

Students who have already secured an internship on their own and wish to participate in program activities, including living at The Flats, are encouraged to apply.

What Lake Forest College students say about Chicago

“Participating in the In The Loop program allowed me to further establish my Chicago ‘roots’. It also helped me become much more comfortable navigating the city. While participating in my internship, I learned how to network and so much more.”

“The In The Loop program is definitely a worth-while experience. It prepares you for ‘real-world’ living (compared to living on campus), while still providing a strong support structure.”

“I would highly recommend the In The Loop program. It taught me a lot about myself as a person and helped me identify future goals.”

“I loved living in Chicago! Seeing new places, trying new foods, shopping - all while having an internship! The residence hall was pretty awesome, too.” 

Application Instructions

To apply for ACTIVATE, follow these easy steps immediately:

  1. Complete the Stage 1: ACTIVATE Eligibility and Internship Questionnaire*
  2. Interview with the ACTIVATE committee. Schedule your interview with Hannah Frei on ForesterLink or call 847-735-5235.

*If you have already secured a summer internship in Chicago and think that you could benefit from the career exploration and professional development programs you would participate in as part of ACTIVATE, please submit this modified internship questionnaire for step 1.

Application Deadline

The application is open through November 15, 2017. You must complete all steps of the application process in order for your application to be considered. 

Contact for More Information

Laura Williams
Loop Program Coordinator,
Center for Chicago Programs