St. Lawrence stands out in many ways—from its remarkable sense of campus community to the quality of its liberal arts education. I believe the greatest asset that comes with the SLU experience is the value of lifelong connections gained through the personal and professional interactions with other students, alumni, and faculty.
In 2020, the Princeton Review ranked St. Lawrence number four in the country for alumni connections. This is supported by the fact that 97% of St. Lawrence students are employed or enrolled in graduate school within seven to 10 months of graduating—a remarkable and comforting figure for current students.
One of the top predictors of career success is having a solid backbone of relationships and connections with individuals of all ages and industries in a university's community. Having personal connections with alumni is a major advantage in today's world, especially when they work in your field of interest. According to Julia Freeland Fisher, education research director at the Clayton Christensen Institute, about 70% of jobs are never offered publicly and about 80% of jobs are filled through personal connections and networking.
SLU truly understands the importance of having a network and incorporates opportunities to connect to academics and programs outside the classroom. The First-Year Program (FYP) is a unique and creative way of integrating students to make personal connections with peers as soon as they get to campus. Often, these relationships last throughout their time at St. Lawrence and beyond. The Laurentians Investing in Networking and Careers (LINC) program is also a great example. It is offered to current sophomores and connects them with SLU alumni in their field of interest.
The LINC program also offers information sessions on how to market your skills and professional experiences online. There are workshops on how to polish your profile on LinkedIn, Laurentian Connection, and Handshake. Each of these is an excellent platform to take advantage of, and knowing more about them can help boost your knowledge and confidence going into the professional world.
As a current member of LINC, I can say that so far this program has been tremendously helpful in exposing me to honest, first-hand information and feedback on everything from job interviewing tips to exploring specific interests within a job field. My mentor has helped me gain a better sense of how to navigate the professional world in terms of job searching, narrowing my career interests, marketing myself professionally, and learning more about the history of the job field as well as emerging trends. My mentor even set up a mock interview for a specific job at his company and followed up by giving me tips on what I did well and how I could improve.
Most of all, I have developed a personal connection with my mentor, who is well-respected in a field I see myself exploring, which will be helpful as I enter the working world. For all these reasons, I believe the LINC program presents a tremendous opportunity for sophomores to expand their knowledge and experience while developing connections that can help them get a head start and set themselves apart from competing applicants. I have also met alumni on Laurentian Connection, and I can testify that it is another easy and helpful way to connect.
SLU is built around the concept of helping others and being there to support one another as a community. The above-and-beyond assistance from professors and alumni, as well as opportunities to expand your practical career knowledge, helps SLU students to successfully navigate the job market after college. They also encourage us to eventually give back and help other Laurentians in the future. This constructive feedback loop makes St. Lawrence such a recognized university in alumni connections and drives the cherished sense of community that we know and appreciate.