From an early age, children talk about their dreams of becoming doctors, scientists, astronauts, teachers, or even presidents. For some, they set and commit to an early path that leads them towards their career goal by creating small steps that are achievable and specific.

It is also critical that the plan allows for the twists and turns that life throws at them since many find that setbacks create other unknown opportunities. So how would this apply to your dream of college and career?

When building your plan, there are three types of goals you should consider: short-term, Intermediate, and long-term goals. The examples below build on improving grades, although they can be applied to any number of items related to personal and academic improvement.


Create goals that are realistic, and can be completed in the next month.

As an example, “For the next month, I will spend one hour each weekend organizing and understanding my upcoming homework and testing assignments for the week ahead, resulting in me being organized and anticipating what I need to get done.” 

Time management is the key to success.


Building on the short-term goal, intermediate goals might be looking at what one hopes to accomplish by the end of the semester.

“By being better organized in the upcoming semester, I hope to achieve a grade of “X” in my math course.”

You must be confident that you can get to this level and be willing to put in the time to study, prepare, and participate in your class.


Incorporating short and medium-term goals may seem hard, but you want everything moving forward together to achieve your dream, whether it involves attending a certain college or working in a specific career.

If we build on prior examples, the goal here would be, “To achieve a cumulative grade average of “X” for all my classes by the end of my junior year, resulting in a greater chance of being admitted to College “Y.”

When the timeframe for each short, intermediate, or long-term goal ends, take time to review each goal to see if it was accomplished. Evaluate, adjust, and make any changes needed to your plan by revising your goals. 

Completing a goal is satisfying, so celebrate the little victories along the way. Falling short of a goal may be disappointing, but do not take it as a setback. Use these experiences to build your next set of goals that will be added to the plan that leads you to your dreams.