Case Study

How Grand View University Bolstered Student Awareness And Confidence

Grand View University Sign

Case Study Summary

After successful pilots with academically at-risk students and two sections of inbound freshmen, Grand View University is looking ahead at integrating TruMotivate in its required first-year courses.

Empowering Students To Own Their Academic Path

Private liberal arts college Grand View University focuses heavily on student athletics — 57% of its incoming freshmen are involved in college athletic programs, and of those, 39% identify as first-generation college students. But on campuses where student-athletes are influential drivers of campus culture, academic development, personal growth, and career exploration can take a backseat to athletic skills. This leads to frustrating academic experiences, increased dropout rates, and major/career confusion, especially for first-generation students.

“It’s not sustainable for a college student to solely be motivated by sports. Students need to understand their motivations and learn how motivation impacts both their athletic and academic interests. We needed resources to help students choose which activities to get involved with, see what value their contribution brings to the world, and gain the verbiage to convey their hard-to-name feelings about it all.”

Sara Anderson, Assistant Director, Grand View University Career Center

— Sara Anderson, Assistant Director, Grand View University Career Center

To better engage and support students beyond athletics, Sara Anderson, Assistant Director of Grand View’s Career Center, sought to empower students to uncover their motivations, explore their goals, and find alignment with their academics and activities.

Getting At-Risk Students On Track

In Spring 2022, Anderson co-led a recovery credit course for academically at-risk students and incorporated the TruMotivate assessment as a pilot activity within the course.

She shared that, “TruMotivate allowed us to pause with students and hear what they were fired up about. It created an opportunity for students to relate to their motivations while beginning to identify the hurdles and trip-up points that might have caused low academic achievement.” 

After reviewing their personalized reports, students better understood what led to their at-risk status and why they felt disconnected from their studies and struggled to find their place within the college campus. This newfound awareness paired with additional course support led to students making improvements to their college plans and identifying better ways to motivate themselves and stay on track.

Empowering Incoming Freshmen

In Fall 2022, Anderson once again trialed TruMotivate — this time for two sections of incoming freshmen students, in a course centered around motivations and career. 

The assessment’s personalized reports:

Supported rich class discussions about “each student’s unique motivational contribution to the world.”

Helped students understand who they are and the value they bring to the table, and feel empowered and energized.

Provided new vocabulary — the words and phrases needed — to not only speak confidently about how they are motivated and what makes them unique but to also better listen and understand others.

Throughout the semester, a variety of course assignments, class discussions, and group work had students engaged with their motivations to gain clarity about their direction. 

Even when it wasn’t required or wasn’t part of the assignment, Anderson found that students chose to reference their motivations as a resource that provided influential personal clarity. She also shared that the peer-to-peer element promoted connection and relatability between students while building self-confidence.

A class survey revealed that 86% of students found their TruMotivate assessment results to be helpful, and 73% of students felt more confident exploring academic and career options after learning their motivations (MCode). 

Examples of student feedback include:

“I understand myself as a person today so much more.”

“TruMotivate gave me direction.”

“This was the steppingstone to confirming how I show up in the world.” 

“It gave me a new view of how I might be able to motivate myself for homework or other things I don’t really want to do.”

“This assessment tool creates the opportunity for students to connect in a way that’s powerful. It offers the opportunity for students to learn about themselves so they can go out and contribute to the world in meaningful ways. In college, that means building a foundational awareness and level of intentionality that goes deeper than just showing up to class or practice. TruMotivate helps students shift from a ‘random and reactive’ mindset to a focused and empowering college experience.”

— Sara Anderson, Assistant Director, Grand View University Career Center

Students also found TruMotivate’s career readiness tools incredibly useful — 80% agreed they were more confident in expressing their value and expressing themselves professionally on resumes and in interviews. 

Anderson reinforced these survey results by pointing out that greater self-awareness leads to making better matches when completing applications, searching for internships, and choosing positions to apply to. She reported that, “Whether a student is changing a major or struggling with big decisions around self-identification, TruMotivate offers activities to spur new thoughts and ideas about how a student impacts the world.”

Looking Ahead…

Anderson’s vision for TruMotivate is to integrate the assessment into required first-year courses, as students are more likely to benefit from connecting with peers and better understanding themselves early in their college experience.

To learn more about how the TruMotivate assessment and student guidebook can be used on your campus to enhance first-year experience programs, new student orientation programs, and campus-wide student engagement, reach out and contact our teamwe can’t wait to speak with you!

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Enhance student lives and elevate college experiences with TruMotivate. Reach out today to learn more about introducing our assessment to your campus community.