Setting Academic Goals

One of the key skills in achieving success at the university is learning how to set goals. Studies have shown that students who have set academic goals for themselves are more likely to complete their college education. Goals can be short term (an “A” in Psychology) or long term (graduate with Highest Honors in your major). Defining your goals helps you structure your time so that you can focus on what’s important to you.

The basic steps to setting a goal are:

  1. Identify your short and long-term goals and put them in writing. Think about what you’d like to accomplish; what skills you’d like to master; what connections you’d like to make at the university. Make sure your goals are realistic and fit your personality, lifestyle and values.
  2. Describe what each goal will look like when it is accomplished. For example a goal of finding a major that fits your interests would be accomplished when you formally declare your major. A goal of graduating with honors would be completed when you walk across the stage at graduation and hear your honors announced or when you receive your diploma.
  3. Keep your list handy for future reference and review it periodically.

This is obviously very brief. To learn more about setting academic goals, you can do your own research on setting academic goals or review some of these resources:

• Setting & Reaching Academic Goals from the Academic Development Office at Carnegie Mellon University:

• An example of setting academic goals for the quarter: