For UWM student Kayla Jackson and MATC student Izzabella Zupet, the transition to college life started months before they stepped on to their respective campuses for their freshman years.
Taking part in the M3 Early College program while finishing their senior years in high school last spring taught the former MPS students important lessons, like the value of time management and the importance of devoting time for homework.
They’re proof that the M3 partnership between MPS, MATC and UWM continues to work to fulfill its mission of transforming the future of Milwaukee through education. The Early College program is one the collaboration’s flagship initiatives, allowing participants the chance to earn college credits while still in high school.
“When I got into the program, it really showed me that it can really impact your grade if you don’t get (your homework) done in time,” Jackson said recently at the UWM student union. Jackson and Zupet were two of 32 then-MPS students who comprised the initial M3 Early College class that graduated last May.
“It made me prepared for that college feeling,” Jackson said. “I learned in the Early College program that college is really different from high school.”
Zupet, who is now a freshman at MATC, considered the program a life-changing course.
“If I didn’t go to M3, I wouldn’t even be going to college right now,” said Zupet, a criminal justice major.
“I never thought that I was smart enough, but getting through the first three Early College courses made me realize that I can do this, that college is a place I want to be and experience,” Zupet said.
Building on a solid foundation, M3 expanded programs this academic year. Enrollment doubled to more than 60 students in the Early College program, with participants taking 19 college credits over the course of the school year.
The work has earned local and national recognition. Most recently the Milwaukee Urban League honored M3for educational leadership in December for its work to boost student achievement and close equity gaps in the city.
The success of students like Jackson and Zupet might provide even greater incentive for M3 stakeholders.
Jackson hopes to attend medical school and specialize in dermatology. Zupet has decided to pursue a degree in criminal justice. She’s hoping to gain more experience this summer through an internship or part-time job at a law enforcement agency.
What is Zupet’s advice to current and future Early College students?
“This M3 program, it’s something you’ll never be able to experience again in your life. It’s worth all the time that you have and it gets you away from high school, it gives you a new experience,” Zupet said. “It makes you see more than what you did before. It makes you really believe in your future.”