One of the perks of Chuck Erickson’s job is that he gets to tour up to 20 colleges per year. As an Independent Educational Consultant for College Connectors, Erickson helps middle and high school students pave the way to their best undergraduate experience.
A graduate of Lawrence University, he worked in the admissions office while pursuing degrees in Spanish and music education. Working in a high school after graduation, he found himself helping students with college searches and applications in his free periods and after school.
Recognizing that many students needed extra help locating and applying for a college that would fit their specific needs, Erickson decided to specialize his skill set with a graduate degree. At Iowa State University he completed a master’s in education, focusing on underrepresented populations like LGBTQ students.
Following his time at Iowa, Erickson served at Grinnell College as Residence Hall Director and Director of the LGBT Center before returning to Lawrence. After working in the admissions office for over a decade, the Minnesota-based organization College Connectors reached out to offer him a position serving Appleton and the Fox Valley region of Wisconsin. Having read over 5,000 college applications throughout his 15 years experience in higher education, he was the perfect fit.
There aren’t many educational consultants in the Midwest–predictably, most are located on the coasts. However, College Connectors isn’t just for top students destined for Stanford or Yale. Erickson’s clients have GPAs that range from 2.0 to 4.0, and ACT scores from 17 all the way to 36. Serving a diverse population of students, Erickson considers every factor when advising clients on where to apply: Academics, finances, and social life each play a part. His approach has a proven success rate: 100% of his clients have been accepted to at least one undergraduate program.
Erickson joined the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce after Executive Director Jason Rae reached out to businesses in the Appleton area. In addition to the growth and networking benefits offered by the Chamber, Erickson likes being involved because he feels that it’s important for the LGBTQ+ community to know that there is a college consultant who identifies as queer.
He wants to be available for same-sex parents who would prefer not to explain their relationships, LGBTQ+ students who are concerned about finding queer-friendly campuses, and anyone else with siblings or friends in the community who need educational advice or support.
Erickson uses the analogy of a cupcake to describe the counseling services available to Wisconsin students. Some are more than happy with a plain, frosted cupcake (the high school counselor). But many could use a few rainbow sprinkles on top–sprinkles that represent the extra time and assistance Erickson can provide with specifics such as sports recruiting, performing arts auditions, and resources for LGBTQ+ students.
Plain cupcakes are okay–but here at the LGBT Chamber of Commerce, we’ll take the rainbow sprinkles any day.
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Profile by Clare McKinley