College Success Tip #3
Goal Setting
What is goal setting?
“It is difficult to act without a clear picture of where you are going” (Boldt 2001).  Goal setting is a process we use to define where we want to go and set up the steps it takes to get there.  Goals help us get to points in our lives where we want to be.  Students at College of the Canyons have both personal goals and educational goals, and they are long-term, mid-term and short-term. 
Why is goal setting important?
Students benefit from realizing the need for realistic goals.  They may not be able to get where they want to be fast enough, so they begin to work harder, their stress levels increase, and motivation soon decreases.  For students to be successful, they should identify clear, concise, and realistic goals.  Patience is important in goal setting.  Not only is it important to take classes at the recommended level and not to attempt courses that require skills the student has not yet attained, but to remember “life is a marathon, not a sprint.”  Plan accordingly, pace yourself, and don’t race unnecessarily to the finish. 
Examples of goal setting strategies
Successful goal setting can include:
  • Set and write the goals down
  • Look at the goals everyday
  • Identify obstacles that will hinder the achievement of the goal
  • Create an action plan to reach the goal
  • Prioritize goals
Internal links for goal setting
There are several campus resources that can help you with goal setting.  Counseling courses 111 and 150 will assist with goal setting and cover many other topics that promote student success.  The counseling department also provides online counseling, appointments, and online tutorials.  Visit their website for more information.
External links for goal setting
Upcoming workshops on goal setting
Cougar Mentors in the Student Development Office offer various workshops, some that address goal setting. For more information call 661-362-3141 or email or go to
  1. The Community College Experience by Amy Baldwin (Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2005).
  2. Cornerstone: Building on Your Best, 4th Ed., by Robert M. Sherfield, Rhonda J. Montgomery, and Patricia G. Moody (Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2005).
  3. Becoming a Master Student, 10th Ed., by Dave Ellis (Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003).
  4.  Study Guides and Strategies,
  5. Dartmouth’s Academic Skills Center,