As a high school student, you likely felt pressure to be involved in just about everything. After all, you had to present yourself as a well-rounded, high-performing student on your college applications. Success in college looks different than it did in high school. Now that you’re here, we still expect you to be high performing. But as a college student, you are allowed to focus your efforts and be a bit more purposeful.
And how do you do this? By setting SMART goals for what you hope to accomplish with your time here at Lubbock Christian University. Before you make any decisions about your major or extracurriculars, complete this goal exercise to help you determine what matters most. From here, you can develop your action plan.
Before we lay out how to develop your SMART goals, remember that goals should always have the following qualities:
- Goals should be positive and intended to move you forward in life.
- Goals should be personal. Make sure they are your own goals, not what others think you should achieve.
- Goals should be flexible. Remember that goals can change as your circumstances change.
- Goals should be written. Studies show that writing down your goals helps you stick with them.
Here’s how to set SMART goals to help you build a realistic college degree plan.
Setting SMART Goals
The SMART process empowers you to set goals that are Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
The first step to SMART goals is to make sure they are Specific. Specific goals answer the basic questions of Who, What, Where, When, and/or Why. A specific goal is much easier to achieve than a general goal. Here is what a general goal looks like versus a specific goal:
- General: I will double major in college.
- Specific: I will double major in Biology and Business at Lubbock Christian University to help me land a good career after graduation.
Next, add details to your goal to make it Measurable. To determine whether or not a goal is measurable, you must identify what success looks like for you. Be able to answer questions like: How many? How much? How will I know when it is accomplished?
- Non-measurable: I will make decent grades while in college.
- Measurable: I will maintain a 3.5 GPA while double majoring in Business and Biology at Lubbock Christian University.
Of course, we encourage each student to aim high. But all students also need to be realistic and consider limitations, such as time and abilities, when setting goals. Choose a goal that is attainable.
- Non-Attainable: I will graduate a year early from LCU with a double major in Business and Biology.
- Attainable: I will graduate on time with a double major in Business and Biology while at LCU.
Make sure that your goals contribute to the big picture. Each subsequent goal you set and action you take should be relevant to your end goal. If your goal is to graduate from LCU on time with a double major in Business and Biology, it may not the best idea to also volunteer to lead the creative writing club and lead your weekly devotional group and work part-time at the campus bookstore.
Prioritize your goals, then stick to the goals that benefit your primary goal and help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. The key is to stay focused and be purposeful with your decisions.
The final step to building SMART goals is to ensure they are timely, which means you assign a start and end point. This will motivate you to get started and achieve your goal on time.
- Non-Timely: I will double major in Business and Biology in college.
- Timely: I will meet with my advisor this week to discuss how many classes I need to take each semester to complete a double major in Business and Biology by the Spring of 2021.
The first step to creating a SMART goal for your degree plan is to declare a major–use this guide to help you choose.