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5 Tips for Creating Realistic College Goals 

5 Tips for Creating Realistic College Goals

Statistics show that only 41% of those who earn Bachelor’s Degrees do so within 4 years.

Staying within that 4-year timeline can have far-reaching effects. The longer you spend on school, the more it costs you. It also affects how soon you get into the workforce.

Learning how to set college goals is an important tool when planning for college. 

Read this article for 5 tips on setting realistic college goals. 

1. Be Specific

You are more likely to achieve your goals if they are specific. Subjective goals such as “Do better in English” don’t have the weight and direction that will help you accomplish the goal.

Structure the goal using more specific language such as “Get an A in English” or “Spend an hour a day studying for English”. 

You will be more productive if your goals are specific. Write them down in a planner and refer to them often.

2. Be Realistic While Playing to Your Strengths

An important aspect of being realistic when learning how to create college goals is recognizing your strengths and weaknesses. 

Expecting perfection is not realistic, so play to your strengths. If Math is hard, but you are good at scheduling and keeping appts, then make your goal something such as “Meet with a math tutor twice a week”. 

Part of being realistic is giving yourself room to consider all options. If you feel the need for some space to think before jumping into college, you might take time to read about a gap year

3. Make an Action Plan

Knowing what you are going to do to work on your goals is just as important as making them. Give yourself some structure by using an if-then statement. 

“If my goal is to get an A in English, then I will ___________”. You have a specific goal, and you can play to your strengths to set yourself up for success to accomplish it. 

4. Check-in Regularly and Be Flexible

Set up check-in points for yourself, as often as you need but also give yourself time to make an effort as you work on how to stick with college goals.

When you have these self-check-ins, look at your goals and action plan. Ask yourself:

  • “Am I on track?”
  • “Am I doing what I said I would with my action plan?”
  • “Do I need to adjust?”

If you are doing well and your action plan is keeping you on track, then keep going! 

If you are struggling and not making the progress toward your goal that you had hoped for, then take time to restructure your goal and action plan. 

5. Reward Yourself

Having something to look forward to after you achieve your goal can be an important motivator. You can have small rewards throughout, a big reward at the end, or a combination of the two. Make the reward something that will motivate you. 

College Goals Are for You and No One Else

Remember that setting college goals is meant to help you succeed in a way that works for you and plays to your strengths. Following these tips can help you during college planning and beyond. 

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