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A Student Guide to Setting Long-Term Goals

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goal, S.M.A.R.T goal, goal setting, CoFo

Setting and achieving goals is a crucial skill for college success. Having goals related to academic and career aspirations will help guide you throughout your college journey and degree plan. Setting and attaining goals for yourself doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Follow this guide and complete the associated worksheets to set some excellent goals for yourself!

 

First, let’s explore some guidelines for drafting a good goal. College Forward recommends using the S.M.A.R.T goal format. 

S.M.A.R.T. Goals: When crafting your goal, you may use the S.M.A.R.T. goals approach to give more clarity to your vision. S.M.A.R.T. goals are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Specific – specify how you will accomplish your goal.

Measurable – establish requirements for how your goal will be achieved and determine how you can measure your progress.

Attainable – ensure that your goal is realistic and action-oriented. 

Relevant – ensure that your goal is addressing your needs. 

Time-bound – allow a reasonable amount of time to accomplish the goal and set a deadline; breaking up your goal into smaller tasks and deadlines can increase attainability (Hint: fill out the table below in detail to complete this section).

Next, after drafting your goal, let’s work on getting it into a format that makes it easier to follow. We’ll use the table below to add some details about our objectives, tasks, timeline, and follow-up steps.

Objectives: What results will you achieve once you reach your goal?

Tasks: What steps do you need to take to achieve your goal?

Timeline: Are there deadlines for each task?

Follow-Up: Set up “check-in” dates with your CoFo Coach to ensure you are on the road to success! Once you have achieved your goal, use this section to reflect.

Let’s get started! Check out these 3 steps to drafting a great goal, and their examples, and then use the worksheets to create your own goals! 

STEP 1: Reformat Your Goal Using the S.M.A.R.T. Format.

Example:

Draft Goal: I want to transfer to The University of Texas at Austin.

Specific Transfer to UT’s College of Education after completing transferable coursework from ACC in Child Development.

Measurable Maintain at least a 3.5 GPA in my current ACC program to apply as a transfer to UT in 2-3 semesters.

Attainable Register for coursework in child development at ACC for 2-3 semesters, with the plan to transfer to UT’s College of Education. Maintain a 3.5 GPA in all coursework. Work on an action plan with my CoFo Coach.

Relevant Create a coursework plan with my academic advisers to take coursework in child development that will transfer credits to UT’s program for obtaining a Bachelor’s of Science in Applied Learning and Development.

Time-bound Work with my professors, advisers, and CoFo Coach to prepare to transfer after 2-3 semesters at ACC.

S.M.A.R.T Goal: 

I will transfer to UT’s College of Education with a 3.5 GPA from ACC to obtain a B.S. in Applied Learning & Development after taking transferable, child development classes at ACC for three semesters.

STEP 2: Use the Table to Simplify Your Goal into More Attainable Tasks and Deadlines.​

Example:

STEP 3: Once You Have Completed Your Goal, Schedule a Follow-up with Your Mentor or Cofo Coach!

Follow-Up:

Example:

I made an action plan to check-in with my CoFo Coach about this goal at the beginning and end of each semester while also checking in with my academic advisor about transferable courses and requirements to transfer from ACC to UT. I am starting my first semester with a forward focus!

Download our S.M.A.R.T Goals worksheet below!

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