In the Zone


  • As a college student personably defining both short and long term goals may be beneficial for future success. Establishing clear goals can help students stay motivated, help with time management, prioritize energy, and a sense of control in the college experience. Although important, establishing goals can be a difficult task. Establishing good, clear goals, however, is a difficult task.  It requires clarity of thinking and often a great deal of self-reflection.Goals may be broad and far reaching, or they may be short term and specific. 

Consider your end goals

  • What do you want to achieve during your time in school? These goals can be big and broad (graduate in 4 years) or small and specific (receive a 3.4 gpa or higher this semester).

Be realistic

  • If you struggled in your first semester classes, found yourself barely passing, and are now on academic probation, setting a goal of straight A’s next semester may be overreaching. Spend time considering what makes sense for you as a student as well as a person. If you're not a morning person, for example, setting the goal of waking up at 6:00 a.m. every morning to hit the gym is probably not realistic as well. But setting goals of improving to, say, at least a C if not a B- and getting in a good workout after your Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoon class probably is.

Think about a realistic time line

  • Setting goals within a time frame will help you set deadlines for yourself. Set goals for a week, a month, a semester, each year (first-year, sophomore year, etc.), and graduation.See More in Time Management section

Incorporate your strengths into goals

  • We all possess strengths, use yours and try not to sell yourself short. When setting goals, then, use your strengths to make sure you have a plan and a way to get there.

Hold yourself accountable by checking your progress.

  • How will you know if your goal is working? When will check in with yourself to see if you're making the smaller steps you need to take along the route to reaching your big goal?

Be flexible

  • Have a way to adapt to change. Something may happen that can derail your goals. Being flexible will allow for adjustment to stay on track.

Reward Yourself

  • Hard work and dedication to your goals deserves praise. Reward yourself to keep your motivation up and to continue your good work.