Based in the Netherlands, LAUNCH is an Independent Education Consultant-led advising service focused on providing expat and international families school and university guidance. Founded by Chicago native, Lauren Joyce Hensel, LAUNCH aims to help students reach their potential through educational opportunity and adherence to five core values. Lauren is currently an Associate Member of the Independent Education Consultants Association and pursuing Professional Membership. Lauren is also a member of the International Association of College Admissions Counselors.
My whole life, I’ve been a professional dabbler and played nearly every sport available (soccer, basketball, swimming, track and field, and field hockey), but I was never excited about any of them. During my junior year of high school when I discovered my high school rowing team, the first of its kind in my home state of Delaware, I instantly fell in love with the sport and quickly climbed the ranks of the team. My coach suggested that I list my erg scores online so that college coaches could find me. It wasn’t long before a few showed interest, including Lehigh University. I went on an official visit, fell in love with the school, and decided to apply Early Decision.
As I finished my application, more rowing opportunities became available. I applied to and was accepted by, a number of other colleges and universities, but I still felt drawn to Lehigh though I did wonder if I rushed my application process. My concerns were negated as I was accepted to Lehigh in January of my senior year and enrolled that fall.
Although inspired by my time at Lehigh where I developed some of my closest friendships, at times I felt overwhelmed and challenged, and to this day, I wonder if there was a university better suited to my strengths and ambitions. At 17-years-old, I conquered my university search alone and only superficially understood what I needed from my school. Had I received more personalized, holistic guidance, I likely would have made a different decision as a student-athlete.
In 2010, I emigrated to the Netherlands to build my life with my partner. These days, you’ll find me reading my book club’s latest selection, cheering on the sidelines of a soccer field, staying active through fun runs, bike rides, and fitness classes, and spending quality time with my partner and two children.
While in high school, I received 15 minutes of university counseling despite being a first generation university student. My family and I found the process overwhelming, stressful and challenging, thus leading me to apply only to universities where I knew I would receive acceptance. After graduating with a bachelor of science degree, I immediately started working in university and prep school admissions and athletics. I fell in love with helping students from diverse backgrounds reach their potential, discover their gifts, and launch their futures.
I returned to university in 2015 to obtain a masters and hone my ability to research and connect with people. I was able to put these improved skills to use to conduct an in-depth school search for my own children when my husband and I relocated with our children to The Netherlands.
With my experience in preparatory school and university admissions and athletics and expat experience, I possess valuable knowledge which can help expat, international, and third culture families and communities. I believe in serving my clients with compassion, empathy, and realism to help them achieve educational success.
Currently, I am pursuing a certificate in Independent College Counseling from the University of California Irvine. In my free time, I enjoy traveling around Europe, sampling coffee, riding my bakfiets, and enjoying time with my husband and two children.