How I Prepared for Competitive College, Interview with Lauren Patrick

This week on HSHSP Ep 167: How I prepared for competitive college, interview with Lauren Patrick. This post is running concurrently on Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

HSHSP Ep 167: How I Prepared for Competitive College, Interview with Lauren Patrick. Lauren shares how she developed a rigorous and well-rounded transcript in homeschool high school. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #HomeschoolTranscript #HomeschoolToCollege #LaurenPatrick

HSHSP Ep 167: How I Prepared for Competitive College, Interview with Lauren Patrick

How can teens prepare for a competitive college? Join Vicki and Lauren Patrick to find out how she prepared for college and was accepted at Mount Holyoke College.

Lauren moved to Texas from England in her sophomore year. Lauren’s mother (our friend, Kat, who gave us interviews on Shakespeare, Research Papers and Homeschooling in Britain) was from Texas but her father is British (he teaches at Oxford University). She has often visited extended family in Texas, so she adjusted easily to the culture and environment in the United States.

Lauren’s family knew she was competitive college material so they began developing a competitive transcript in late middle school (for instance, she took Algebra 1 in eighth grade).

At high school level, developed her strong transcript in several different ways:

  • Lauren leaned into her interest in English literature. She took Dreaming Spires Literature and Writing courses, which are rigorous and helped build her love of the topics.
  • She also took Spanish and many other courses at her community college through their dual-enrollment program. When she graduated from high school, she had earned 36 dual-enrollment credits.
  • Took courses that made her transcript look stronger, even though they were out of her interest. These included courses such as Physics and Calculus.
  • She was active in extracurriculars and built her skill in swimming to become competitive.
  • Lauren developed her entrepreneurship interests through a self-published a children’s book series. She also created and runs an editing and book-formatting service.

How did Lauren make connections with peers and teachers in online courses?

Made sure she took advantage of the ongoing chatbars in the *classrooms*?

What did Lauren do to make connections with peers and teachers in her dual-enrollment courses?

Wait for professor to finish talking and ask questions.

Which process did Lauren use to start her college search process?

  • Created a spread sheet and added colleges of interest.
  • She added: Name of school, population, accept dual enrollment credit, location, where exchange students who go to Oxford start out in US (her father’s suggestion), etc
  • Discussed each possible choice with her parents. (Her mother knew her personality and was familiar with some of the colleges she listed.)
  • Discussed with her parents colleges they also added.
  • Toured top choices from the spread sheet during junior year.

She eventually applied to 6 colleges: Trinity University, Southwestern, Hendricks College, Vassar College, Smith College, Mount Holyoke College.

How did she narrow the choices?

College tours, special college days.

She loaded her swim times, GPA and SAT scores on the NCSA National College Sports Association website. Through that she was recruited by Mount Holyoke’s swim coach. When she visited she found that “there wasn’t anything I could hate about it”. Then she found that the schools she visited later, didn’t compare to Mt. Holyoke for her. The main decision point was the highest respected college that accepted all her dual credits.

What did Mount Holyoke like her?

  • The swim coach liked her, that she swam the 400 meter, and her SAT scores.
  • She had solid rigor of the courses on her transcript.
  • Her college application essay. (She wrote about an experience she had when she lived in Britain, where she helped lobby for homeschooling. Not only that, but while lobbying, she talked to her Member of Parliament and Prime Minister, David Cameron. Then she wrote about that experience and learning that good leadership is about listening to the people they lead.)

The school gave her a scholarship for her entrepreneurship. (She mentioned in her application she wants an entrepreneurship minor, something her college considers their specialty.)

What tips would Lauren have for homeschool high schoolers?

We’re excited for Lauren’s adventures as she heads off to college at Mount Holyoke. Join her and Vicki for an inspirational chat.

Here’s a timeline of important things to cover each year in high school to get ready for college and tips for finding scholarships. Also, our friend and Cousin, Cheryl Carter shares what college bound teens should do now.

You will also enjoy these posts about homeschool graduates.

Homeschool Swimmer Goes to Harvard

Homeschool Highschool Podcast Ep 110: What’s it Like to be a Homeschool Senior?

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HSHSP Ep 167: How I Prepared for Competitive College, Interview with Lauren Patrick


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Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

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