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Day in the life of a College Possible coach: Milwaukee edition


A dusk view of the Milwaukee skyline offers a view of the Milwaukee Fine Arts Museum, the Lake Michigan waterfront, and a walking path lined with white rocks.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Milwaukee Public School District reported four-year high school graduation rates just under 64 percent in 2021. This number drops even lower, to 50 percent, for students from limited-income backgrounds. “Coming from the inner city of Milwaukee, not a lot of kids who look like me graduate college, especially those who are the first in their family to graduate,” says Nate, a College Possible student. “I did something that nobody in my immediate family has done. I did it.”


At College Possible Milwaukee, near-peer coaches help narrow the college graduation gap for high school students throughout the state, starting in the students’ junior year in high school and following them wherever they go to college. Let’s dive into some unique benefits of AmeriCorps service at the Milwaukee site, and see how College Possible Milwaukee coaches spend their time in and outside of their service hours.


Enjoy an AmeriCorps service year empowering college opportunity


College Possible Milwaukee offers AmeriCorps service positions supporting both high school and college students to and through college; these roles are called college access and success coaches. Running August through June, this service term averages 40 hours per week, with every Friday devoted to professional development for coaches.


As a college access coach, you work with an assigned cohort of students at various partner high schools throughout Milwaukee County. Your coaching runs Monday through Thursday and may include in-person support, tech-connected support, or both. During a typical school week, you’ll manage day-to-day interactions with students while logging student engagement data into Salesforce to track student progress. Time with students is spent helping them navigate key college milestones: college selection, test prep, applications, and financial aid. "Whether it is learning new platforms to help students with their online classes or picking up their school laptop while they are at work, I want students to be confident that they can lean on me,” shares Kishauna, a college access coach.


If you’re selected to serve as a college success coach, you’ll support a cohort of college students to stay on track through degree completion – typically with students spanning multiple universities and colleges. In this role, you’ll help students navigate common college barriers by helping them find study groups, directing them to campus and community resources, and strengthening their time-management and budgeting skills.

“My coaches helped me build the confidence to figure things out by myself,” says Daesy, a College Possible student. “They were so easy to talk to, and I learned to ask questions and look for answers. When I needed help with homework, I wasn’t afraid to ask the professor for support.”


Live in exciting and affordable Milwaukee neighborhoods


One of the best perks of serving at the College Possible Milwaukee site is living in the bustling city that sits on Lake Michigan. Known for Summerfest – the World’s largest music festival, lakefront views, and of course, cheese curds, in Milwaukee, there’s always something new to explore.


Most College Possible Milwaukee coaches have found that living with one or more roommates is the most affordable housing option in the city, while others have found studios or one-bedroom apartments in the East Side, Riverwest, or Bay View neighborhoods. If you’re looking to relocate to Milwaukee for your service year, you’ll receive a $500 relocation reimbursement to offset the cost. Funds can be used for a variety of expenses, including hotel fees while you search for your new apartment in the area, a lease deposit, or a moving truck, just to name a few.


Getting around the city to your assigned schools is a breeze with public transportation. Milwaukee City Transit System, the city’s public bus, stops just steps away from the College Possible Milwaukee office via the 57 Walnut - Appleton line and Green Line. Many Milwaukee partner high schools are also conveniently accessible via Milwaukee City Transit bus lines. Bike sharing is also available 24/7 through Bublr Bikes.


Explore Milwaukee with your fellow college coaches


An AmeriCorps service year with College Possible is one of the best ways to gain invaluable professional skills to jumpstart your career. It’s also a transformative time to build lifelong friendships with your cohort of college coaches. “My best advice for the next generation of AmeriCorps coaches is to be ready to work hard,” says Madeleine, a college coach. “Most importantly, have fun with the students you’re serving and with your fellow AmeriCorps members. This is an incredible time to meet new people and gain invaluable experiences. Enjoy every moment!”


When they’re not working with students, College Possible Milwaukee coaches can be found enjoying all that the city and its scenery have to offer. The Historic Third Ward, a common coach hangout, is a popular neighborhood located on the Lake Michigan waterfront. Stop for shopping or a bite to eat at the Milwaukee Public Market or take a stroll down the Milwaukee Riverwalk. Just one mile north of the public market is another coach favorite, the Milwaukee Fine Art Museum, whose wing-like architecture alone has attracted tourists from far and wide. Sitting directly on the lakefront, the museum boasts nearly 5,000 works of art and regularly hosts free admission days.


If fun in the sun is what you’re looking for, just two miles down the coast from the museum you’ll find Bradford Beach, a frequent summer destination for Milwaukee coaches. Claim a sand volleyball court, or lay out on the beach and enjoy a cup of MooSa’s frozen custard.


A service year at College Possible Milwaukee offers a unique way to empower college opportunity throughout the state, and it’s an excellent launching pad for those deciding between disciplines for master’s degree programs, or for those seeking tangible experience before entering into the nonprofit or education work field. If gaining invaluable professional skills and making a proven impact in your community sounds like a year well spent, please join us at one of our upcoming information sessions to learn more.


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