Goal Setting for Academic Success

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29 November 2010
Goal Setting for Academic Success
Goals are like road maps; they get a person from one point to another. Goals provide the direction one needs to reach a destination. The best way to get results is to plan for the future, but live one day at a time. Think about the future; how does one define success? What makes one happy? What drives a person? What makes a person get out of bed in the morning? Does success mean family, money, security, helping others, improving the environment, solving problems, a career, or a degree? Whatever a student decides, the key to academic success is to strengthen one’s will to succeed and to do this one must set academic goals.

The first step in setting an academic goal is to define an attainable, relevant goal. A student must ask himself about his own core values, what motivates the student, where does the student want to be tomorrow, next week or even a few years? What does the student want to do? Be very specific with academic plans. If a student’s desires are specific, goals will be specific. Never ask the questions, "What if", or "What would happen if". Make the questions a positive affirmation of what the student will do. While developing a relevant goal, make sure to also ask if what is desired is attainable. After some thought write out a clear description of a goal (Carter et al. 100).

The second step in academic goal setting is to defining a specific path. The student must think about what the most important goal is, and what is the first thing to do to start towards that goal? Then plan backwards in time and outline. Start by creating a rough outline or some type of map that includes specific steps in regard to the academic goal. The beginning of the student’s road map is this map being personalized just for the student. Outline specifically the steps towards goals, keeping in mind behaviors and life events that are under one’s control. In this outline define a specific educational path; most importantly begin creating new rules for life especially giving thought to what one will do with events and behaviors that cannot be controlled (Carter et al. 100).

Once the student has the big picture in mind, the third step in goal setting is setting a time table. Ask when do you want to have a goal complete, being realistic in regard to the goal and the time that will be involved to accomplish it. Think about deadlines for the steps defined in the plan of action. Finally, begin keeping track of progress perhaps by blogging or writing in a notebook to keep track of progress towards reaching the goal. Think of short -term goals towards academic achievement ranging from daily to weekly, even monthly or as far up to one-year. Long term goals can be set up to take 5 years to accomplish. Make sure to set deadlines for each step in a plan and keep track of those (Carter et al. 100).

The fourth step in academic goal setting is for the student to measure them self. The student should be learning more at this point and what makes them tick. The student needs to keep a written record of progress and set backs as well as finding a confidant to talk to; someone the student can count on to help keep them on track (Carter et al. 100).

The fifth and one of the most important steps is not getting “stuck” If a bump in the road to academic goals get in the way, the student shouldn’t panic! The student needs to be aware that staying on track with a specific academic or any other personal goal can be rocky and may place un needed stress on them. The student should try to anticipate problems and think of ways to make changes to the plan of action if they run into trouble. If the student gets stuck, now is the time to reach out to family, trusted friends, school counselors and maybe even instructors for support. Plans aren’t always etched in stone and it’s important that the student understands that plans can be altered, they...
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