Goals and Expectations

man dunking the ball
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There are two words to begin thinking about prior to beginning your first year of college. Two questions I like to challenge my students into asking themselves are “What am I hoping to gain from my college degree?” and, “What sort of expectations will I have for myself during school?” New students who take the time to ask themselves these two important questions will have an opportunity to gain more from their time in college than students who begin with no future outlook in mind.

“What am I hoping to gain from my college degree?” (Some might say a Diploma)

Seems like an easy question, right? I challenge you to think about this a little deeper. Without the right attitude a college degree can be just that- a piece of ‘paper’. But, by taking all the right steps at all the right times you have the opportunity to make it so much more! When you ask yourself, “What do I want to gain from college?” you are really looking steps ahead and laying out the path for your future. Think of college like building a house; once an idea is had, it is then put onto paper before the building even begins to take place. Exact dimensions are drawn, material to be bought is laid out, potential costs are noted and road blocks are assessed. All of this must be done before the builder can begin creating the house. Why shouldn’t your college education be the same way? First visualize your end goals then put down on paper exactly what it is going to take to get you there.

“What sort of expectations will I have for myself during school?”

Oh, how I love this question! Has anyone ever told you to post pictures of your dream car or dream house on the refrigerator or bathroom mirror? Well this is the same idea.  Surviving your first year of college is almost a miracle because first year students are confronted with so many obstacles.  If you take the time, prior to entering college, to write down 5 expectations you have of yourself during college, and then put those expectations somewhere visible you will have a much better chance of overcoming those obstacles.  Here are 5 examples:

● I will take the time to ask questions when I do not understand something
● I will make school and studying a priority
● I will stay active within my University
● I will maintain relationships with my Professors
● I will not let small failures take me away from my end goals

By laying out your goals and expectations you are setting the foundation for a successful college education.  It is important that you remember you are not in this alone so if you find yourself struggling with one of the questions, be sure to find a mentor and ask for help. Good luck!


Andrea Cook

I am an Academic Advisor at Ottawa University and work specifically with online adult students. I absolutely love the benefits of working in higher education and would recommend this career choice to anyone. Watching my hard working adult students achieve their academic goals and walk across that stage at graduation is a very gratifying profession. I am also a pretty big book nerd and love reading anything I can get my hands on (though I am a bit embarrassed to say that some of my favorite books are within the Twilight and Harry Potter series).

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