science of learning
to help students get the most
out of school.
Working with a coach is like having a personal trainer for academic health!
Education is an investment of time, money, and energy. Academic life coaching maximizes the student experience to make learning effective, enjoyable, and useful in the long term. Research shows that personalized, knowledgeable, motivated support leads to goal achievement and school success.
Improve grades in high school & college
Target and apply to college
Define academic pathways in college
Plan for professional success after college
Tina Kruse, PhD
I am an educational psychologist with almost 20 years of experience teaching college undergraduates at Macalester College. Both my PhD in the psychology of learning and my day-to-day interaction with college students gives me a clear vision about what teens and young adults need to succeed in their academic settings.
As a certified coach, I always build from the strengths of each student and facilitate their growth in the direction they want to go. I apply The Academic Life Coaching and the Designing Your Life models, which are well-supported by learning theory and well-proven in real lives of students. I am delighted to offer these coaching approaches to clients, guided by my own expertise in the education field.
The areas of focus in teaching and research inform my coaching. I specialize in social-emotional learning, achievement motivation, and youth leadership development. I authored an academic textbook Making Change (Oxford University Press, 2019) to inspire teachers and youth professionals about the many sources of positive youth development.
Last but not least: I'm a mom to three teenage children: 1 in college and 2 in high-school. This parenting role offers daily insight into the process of healthy and happy child development.
BA, English & Sociology, University of Notre Dame
MA, Educational Psychology, University of Minnesota
PhD, Educational Psychology, University of Minnesota
As heard on College Prep Podcast:
Perfect time to build academic skills toward success! Adolescents thrive
using this system. My coaching helps:
prep for college apps
make choices about college
thrive in school
Excellent time for targeted strategies for success. It’s cost-effective: don’t waste tuition simply treading water. My coaching helps:
select a major
choose a career path
keep grades up
manage stress & enjoy learning
Pivotal time in a young person's life. My coaching helps:
direct efforts toward longer-term
transition living patterns
aim for health and happiness
connect personal strengths to opportunities and launch new career
PACKAGES & PRICING
Student Success Package
For high school &
Strong Start Package
For new or returning
"Designing your Life" for Students
For students seeking clearer pathways into and through college and career
Uses a structured, tried-and-true program
4-5 months; 8 full sessions
Email/text communications between sessions
Written summaries after each session
Email/text between sessions
Written summaries each session
1-2 months; 3 sessions
Email/text between sessions
Written summaries each session
Based on the acclaimed "designing your life" program at Stanford
$1,550 or 3 payments of $575
$999 or 2 payments of $525
Discounts or need-based scholarships are available. Please inquire.
effective Jan. 1, 2022
WHAT CLIENTS ARE SAYING
"Tina helped me realize the real reason
I wasn't getting things done."
--Jason S., college sophomore
"Our son received his coaching with Tina over one semester and we stayed out of it. At the end of the semester, his grades had risen from a C average to straight A's! What more could we ask for?!"
"Tina, I’m just so impressed by you in every possible way. Your kindness, thoughtfulness, caring touches, combined with your brilliant coaching expertise is simply magnificent. With your help, Matt is not only getting by, but THRIVING. He has found new academic confidence and has developed, with your help, a toolkit for goal-setting and time management. Thank you for all you do, and I’m sure this won’t be the last you hear from me."
--Diane, mother of a college first-year
Thank you for a wonderful experience. I am so deeply grateful for your help over the summer and through the first semester. You really helped me build my confidence to manage my workload and believe in myself. You are brilliant!
--Madelyn, grad student
"Working with Tina throughout college completely changed the way I viewed myself as a student, learner, activist and professional...Her caring nature and unwavering passion for what she does make it impossible to not be comfortable in her presence.”
--Phoebe, college student
"She is superb."
--Diane's husband, a man of few words
"Initially, I was uncertain of what direction I wanted to go and she helped me clarify my goals and the possibilities for what I could do both while in college and in the years to follow. Tina helped me to articulate ideas and interests that I had not fully considered or explored and she helped me put them into action. She helped me translate my skills to guide my direction, as I went on to work and eventually to graduate school.”
--Leah K., MSW, former student & client
Entering a master's program in a new field, after an unsatisfying and stressful undergraduate experience, felt daunting. With Tina's help, we worked to shift my mindset about school and judgements about myself. She provided effective methods and strategies to help manage workload and stress, always customizing to my individual needs. TIna is such an affirming person with contagious positivity. I am so grateful to Tina for helping me create a foundation of academic and life skills that I will continue to practice through the rest of my schooling and onward.
Master of Architecture Student, 2022
College of Design, University of Minnesota
"As always, your time with Liam has been so helpful. He seems happier and more confident than I have ever seen before!! He really is thriving and growing as a result of your work with him."
--Sarah, mother of 15-year-old
Our son got a huge boost from your influence. I’ll definitely send potential students/clients your way!
--Caitlin, mom of high-school sophomore
What is academic life coaching?
Professional coaching means partnering with clients in a structured but flexible process so that the clients can maximize their own potential success. Academic life coaching is not tutoring, mentoring, or advising! Some young people need more academic coaching with a side of life coaching, while others need more life coaching with a side of life coaching. My approach allows me to deliver the right mix of coaching support to meet them where they are...and help them to level up.
What age are the students you coach?
My academic life coaching is effective for students in middle-school, high-school and college, as well as recent college grads. The "sweet spot" for my academic coaching is ages 15-20 years.
How long does coaching take to work?
Most students benefit from several months or more because time is an important ingredient in changing habits and mindsets. However, some clients only need a single session to "tweak" a particular issue. I offer flexible approaches to suit every student.
How do we know if it works?
The field of coaching defines success as internal and external changes:
Internal indicators include shifts in thinking, self-awareness and self-management and outlook, such as optimism. External indicators include outputs such as progress on school projects and grades; acceptance or selection into desired schools or programs; feedback from others, such as teacher or parent observations.
Where do coaching sessions take place?
I coach clients both in person and virtually. Both have been shown to be effective. Virtually: by phone or via Skype. In person: in the Minneapolis west metro area.
How do we get started?
After an initial contact with me, I follow up with parents or student to find out the primary goals of coaching at this time. Then, I set up a complimentary 30-minute call to give the potential client a sample of the coaching process. Once committed, the client and/or parents sign a contract for services and establish payment plans. We then arrange the scheduling of sessions for the contracted time period, based on mutual availability.
What if we change our minds?
Services can be cancelled with 30-day notice at any point in the relationship. A pro-rated refund will be issued, minus a $25 admin fee.
For more information or to set up a consultation:
contact me here!