GRIT Program

Growth | Resilience | Initiative | Transformation

  • Meet one-on-one with a personal success coach
  • Create an individualized career plan with a career coach
  • Learn about campus resources available to you at MSUM
  • Gain tools and strategies for academic success
  • Set goals and highlight the actions steps you can take to accomplish them

What is GRIT?

MSUM’s GRIT Program is an opportunity to learn the best success strategies and insights at the very beginning of your college career. GRIT stands for Growth, Resilience, Initiative, and Transformation. You will be able to foster these characteristics through intentional mentoring and advising relationships.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will I benefit from participating?
By participating in GRIT, you will be assigned to a personal success coach and receive direct coaching throughout your first 2 semesters at MSUM. You will also meet with the Career Development Center (CDC) and receive valuable information about planning for your future career.

How was I selected for GRIT?
The Undergraduate Admissions Appeals Committee reviews and rules on all students who do not meet admission criteria. Regardless the reason you have been selected, the MSUM community recognizes the strengths and talents you’ll bring to campus. We are eager to partner with you as you strive to reach your college goals.

Is it required?
GRIT is mandatory for students selected to be a part of the program because it provides the strategies and support that help with a successful transition into MSUM. Meetings with success coaches are critical and therefore students who are not fulfilling meeting requirements will have a registration hold placed on their account.

What is the cost?
Being a part of the GRIT Program comes at no additional cost. The services offered by the GRIT Program and the Academic Success Center (ASC) are free to each student.

What are my responsibilities in GRIT?

  • 2 meetings per semester with an assigned GRIT success coach during the first two semesters
  • 1 meeting per semester with a GRIT career coach from the Career Development Center during the first two semesters
  • Enrollment in UNIV 121 (3 credits) OR an FYE 101 (1 credit) substitute in the first semester
  • Enrollment in no more than 16 credits in the first semester
  • Students are strongly encouraged to sign up for a Learning Community

What is the UNIV 121 course?
UNIV 121 is a class that will help introduce you to the university and prepare you for academic success. This class counts in place of your FYE 101 requirement and will additionally count as a general education requirement for you. Please note that if you are part of a Learning Community, you will instead be enrolled in the FYE 101 class affiliated with your LC as it will be one of the linked classes you share with your Learning Community members.

What will I learn in the GRIT Program?
The 3 primary learning outcomes are as follows:

  1. Students will be able to set and achieve SMART academic and personal goals.
  2. Students will be able to navigate campus resources.
  3. Students will indicate an increased level of self-efficacy in navigating the University.

Why should I be excited about GRIT at MSUM?
You will meet other new Dragons, spend intentional time learning what it takes to be successful in college and life, reflect on your strengths and interests, look into possible careers, and partner with MSUM faculty and staff who care about you and your future. We are confident you will find GRIT both beneficial and an enjoyable part of your MSUM experience.

How long will I be in the GRIT Program?
The GRIT Program was created to help students in their first 2 semesters at MSUM have a successful transition to the institution. Although you will no longer be required to meet with your success coach or the Career Development Center (CDC) past your first 2 semesters, you are always welcome to! We are always here as a resource to help students and would love to hear life updates from you as well!

What are the rates of academic success for students in the GRIT Program?
Overall, Fall 2020 GRIT students were retained to Spring 2021 at a rate that was not significantly different that the retention rate of non-GRIT students (79.4% for GRIT vs. 83.7% for non-GRIT). Of particular note, GRIT students of color were retained at an overall rate of 85%.

73% of GRIT students completed the Fall 2020 semester in good academic standing, with an average GPA of 2.60. Additional data regarding first semester GPA and academic standing is available below.

Student Population Fall to Spring
Retention % (N)
Fall Sem
% in Good
Fall Sem
Student Population
GRIT Overall (N = 63)
Fall to Spring Retention % (N)
79.4% (50)
Fall Sem GPA (average)
% in Good Academic Standing after Fall Sem
Student Population
Non-GRIT Overall (N = 669)
Fall to Spring Retention % (N)
83.7% (560)
Fall Sem GPA (average)
% in Good Academic Standing after Fall Sem
Student Population
GRIT Students of Color (N = 20)
Fall to Spring Retention % (N)
85.0% (17)
Fall Sem GPA (average)
% in Good Academic Standing after Fall Sem
Student Population
Non-GRIT Students of Color (N = 71)
Fall to Spring Retention % (N)
69.0% (49)
Fall Sem GPA (average)
% in Good Academic Standing after Fall Sem
Student Population
GRIT Pell Eligible Students (N = 20)
Fall to Spring Retention % (N)
80.0% (16)
Fall Sem GPA (average)
% in Good Academic Standing after Fall Sem
Student Population
Non-GRIT Pell Eligible Students (N = 181)
Fall to Spring Retention % (N)
79.6% (144)
Fall Sem GPA (average)
% in Good Academic Standing after Fall Sem
Student Population
GRIT First Generation Students (N = 31)
Fall to Spring Retention % (N)
80.6% (25)
Fall Sem GPA (average)
% in Good Academic Standing after Fall Sem
Student Population
Non-GRIT First Gen Students (N = 251)
Fall to Spring Retention % (N)
80.1% (201)
Fall Sem GPA (average)
% in Good Academic Standing after Fall Sem
*significantly different from Non-GRIT GPA at p < .05


What do former GRIT students have to say about the program?
“I really enjoyed the GRIT program. It was nice to be able to meet with someone who helped me set goals for myself and showed me resources that would benefit me in the future. I also really liked that we met with the career development center as well because it helped me start to think about possible jobs and ways to start working or doing internships within my major.”

“I loved my Grit coach! She was super nice, understanding, and just a really helpful person to have help me through my first year in college.”

“I really enjoyed everything. My GRIT coach really helped me get my ducks in a row and everyone at the Career Development Center showed me resources that I never knew were on campus. 10/10 recommend!”

“This program is very helpful and very resourceful, and was great help for my first year in college.”

Advice from former GRIT students:
“Ask for help right away because there are so many positive resources on campus. I learned this the hard way.”

“Be patient with yourself and don’t be too hard on yourself. There’s enough grace for you today and you are stronger than you know!!!!”

“Use these meetings as an opportunity to set goals for yourself, and try to stick to those goals. Ask questions even if you think they are small, because your success coach is there to help you. Utilize the materials and tools that are shown to you as well because they will help you.”

“Holding yourself accountable can be really difficult sometimes, but it is 100% worth it.”

“It might seem silly that you have to go to all these meetings, but trust me they help so much! These are the people that are going to really help get you through your first year here.”

“It's okay if you have questions there will always be someone there to help you and no question is a stupid one I promise.”

Questions? Contact Us


GRIT Program Coordinator & Staff

Scott Westby (He/Him/His)
Academic Advisor/Program Coordinator
Academic Success Center
Send Email | Phone: 218.477.2704218.477.2704

Sara Juckem
Assistant Director of First Year Programs
First Year Programs
Send Email | Phone: 218.477.2601218.477.2601
CU 113

Julie Maahs (She/Her/Hers)
Assistant Director for Career Readiness
Career Development Center
Send Email | Phone: 218.477.2968218.477.2968
FR 151B
I’m energized by helping others feel confident in themselves and their accomplishments. Re...

Troy Schmidt (He/Him/His)
Assistant Dean of Students
Dean of Students Office
Send Email | Phone: 218.477.2174218.477.2174
FR 153C

JoLynn (Jody) Steile, M.Ed, BS
American Indian & Student Success Coordinator
George Soule American Indian Center | Diversity & Inclusion Office
Send Email | Phone: 218.477.4272218.477.4272
CU 120

*All fields required.

Email Sent

Thank you for submitting your email.

GRIT Graduate Assistant

Spencer Neisen
Graduate Assistant
GRIT Program