I know, it is summer and you are having so much fun hanging out with friends or just taking some time off before you go back to high school in September. However, this is also the prime time to get ready and organized for the new academic year. In this article, we will help you set your academic goals and show you some available online resources to help you achieve your goals. For a detailed plan, you should consult with a student coach.

How to Set Academic Goals

By the last year of high school, you should have an inkling of an idea of what you want to do once you graduate. Like most high school graduates, you may be considering enrolling in university. In this case, you should have prepared for your major of choice, and taken all the prerequisite high school courses required to succeed in university. However, it is not too late to still prepare if you have not.

The best way to prepare for an academic goal, whether it is to excel on the SAT/ACT, to win a scholarship like the Ayn Rand Essay Contests (first prize for the Atlas Shrugged essay contest is $20,000), is to reverse engineer it and find out which steps you need to eventually achieve your goal. Here is a quick list to help you map your goals, but for a more detailed and comprehensive plan, consult with a student coach today.

  • Think about the goal you want to achieve. Make sure it is reasonable. Receiving acceptance packages from Wharton, MIT, and Harvard is not an achievable goal for most people. Improving your SAT/ACT scores by 100-200 points is an achievable goal. Make sure you have the ability to achieve your goals before setting them. You can, however, reach just beyond your perceived limitations. We are not as limited as we think we are.
  • Figure out how much time you have to achieve your academic goals. Any amount of time over a year is plenty, although you can achieve your goals, depending on what they are, in much less time. If you want to build a writing portfolio for journalism school, writing op-eds for a syndicated press is a great way to circulate your musings nationwide, which will lead to future writing opportunities at bigger media outlets if you write well.
  • Write out all the steps you think you need to accomplish in order to reach your goal. Ensure each step is achievable and that they are required. If you can skip a step, do so. For instance, if you want to excel in math and your plan is to complete MIT Open Courseware courses after high school everyday until your grades improve, you may be just as successful using Khan Academy and Math MOOCS on Coursera to cover topics you do not know or math problems you are having trouble with. The key is to avoid doing any unnecessary work to achieve your goals. Most students have volunteering requirements, part time jobs, university applications, and more, to deal with. Your time is valuable so it should not be wasted. For maximal time management to achieve your academic goals, speak with a student coach.
  • Start. Starting is often the most challenging step for most people when they attempt to achieve their goals. They procrastinate, feel they will have the time tomorrow or on the weekend, and generally just make excuses. If you want to prepare for next year, or the year after, when you enter university, you must start now. It can feel like the hardest thing in the world but, looking back, you will be glad you did. As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Do likewise.

Provided you excel in high school, or prepare seriously for your entrance into university, you will have little to worry about grade-wise in university, as long as you attend lectures, read the materials for each lecture beforehand, ask questions when you do not know something, and attend office hours to get to know your professors and their vision for the assignments and exams. Asking questions is crucial, especially since so many students are afraid that they will look stupid doing so. As long as the question is relevant, you will not. And, if you do not ask, you will not know.

Taking AP, or even just extra-credit, classes while still in high school can help you prepare for university. So can enrolling in Kumon Math, for instance, if you need math help and like the human interaction with a regular tutor. The key is, no one but you can know what you need to do to prepare for your goals. You need to take a reflective look at yourself, judge your abilities based on your goals, and then make the decision to succeed.

A student coach can help you make the process more efficient and quicker, but you are the one that needs to make the realization you will achieve, and you will succeed. If you have academic goals but you are unsure of your options or starting place, meeting with a student coach can help you on your way to your academic goals, whether you want to strengthen your college and university applications, prepare for your college major, and more. Contact one today for assistance.

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