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Tina Kruse, PhD

Informing & inspiring
academic wellbeing in high school,
& beyond


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.

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Tina Kruse, PhD

I am an educational psychologist with 20 years of experience teaching and advising 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 children: 2 in college and 1 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 featured in :

grown & flown
united nations organisation
tina kruse
college prep podcast



Perfect time to build academic skills toward success! Adolescents thrive

using this system. My coaching & advising helps:

  • prep for college apps

  • make choices about college

  • manage stress

  • develop leadership

  • thrive in school


Excellent time for targeted strategies for success. It’s cost-effective: don’t waste tuition simply treading water. My coaching & advising 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 & advising helps:
  • direct efforts toward longer-term
  • transition living patterns
  • aim for health and happiness
  • connect personal strengths to opportunities and launch new career

Improve grades in high school & college

Target and apply to college

Define academic pathways in college

Plan for professional success after college


1:1 Student Support: Coaching & Advising Packages

Family Programming:

Apply Well, a family-health approach to college admissions 

School-year programs for families on academic wellbeing topics through the high school years

Speaking Engagements for schools & communities 

Packages & Pricing


Student Success Package
For high school & 
college students​​
Strong Start Package
For new or returning
college students​​
Life design for Students & others
For people 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
  • 3 months
  • 5 sessions
  • 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.


Tina helped me realize the real reason

I wasn't getting things done.

--Jason S., college sophomore, U of Iowa

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?!

--Jason's parents

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, Southern Methodist University 

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

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

We want to thank you for all of your work with our son. It is crazy to think back to last year when he would not even begin to discuss post-high school plans with us and would shut down anytime the topic was brought up! Now, he is open about his feelings, showing excitement, talking about possible majors, and confident that there will be life after high school! 

We are all so grateful for your kindness and the guidance you gave our son.

--parents of 12th grader, St. Paul, Minnesota

I am thrilled with not only the outcome in terms of grades, but also Sadie's overall wellbeing and confidence since she started working with you.

She came home from school today and told me she heard from a classmate, one of the high achieving, stressed out kids in IB: Sadie, how are you getting the same marks as us but you're 100% less stressed?!?


She often brings up little tidbits she learned from her sessions with you, so I know your coaching has resulted in new awareness that will continue to help her succeed with any challenge she chooses to take on.

--Johanna, mother of grade 11 student in Toronto, Ontario

 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

As a person who gets overwhelmed easily, I'm glad that Tina helped me transition from high school into university with less stress than if I were alone. She gives tips for keeping me motivated and organized, which reduces my overwhelm.

--McGill University student

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 and includes mentoring and 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 high-school and college, as well as recent college grads. I believe the "sweet spot" for my academic life coaching is ages 16-22 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 Zoom. In person: in the Minneapolis west or south metro areas.

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.



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