Today’s students must have clearly-defined goals — things they hope to achieve and toward which they conscientiously work. But goals should not be confused with outcomes. That’s because goals often arise organically as an expression of an individual’s character, motivations, and values. Outcomes can further the attainment of goals, but goals are bigger than accomplishments. As such, goal-setting requires self-awareness, and the process of determining and stating goals is an education in and of itself.

Why is it important to set goals?

Reaching a final destination takes hundreds if not thousands of steps, not one giant leap. Goal-setting instills both discipline and patience in students. It also teaches them the importance of forming a big picture.

When your student understands that progress is often incremental, he or she can gain a better appreciation for how what might otherwise feel like insignificant developments are actually minor victories. While an A+ may stand out on a report card, the extent to which your student has raised his or her grade — even if from a C+ to a B — may be a sign that he or she is making efforts to improve his or her academic performance.

Goal-setting also teaches students how to prioritize. Without goals, students may find themselves wasting time on things that don’t move them any closer to their true objectives. Goals give students a focal point around which to organize their time and energy.

Finally, goals help students become nimble thinkers. Goals are not “set it and forget it” phenomena. If your student wants to stay on track, he or she must learn how to commit to regularly reviewing both his or her goals and the paths that lead to their achievement.

What makes for a good academic goal?

A useful goal is concrete, sincere, and attainable. If your student’s goal is too vague, it risks being resistant to both strategy and tactics — the methodology and specific actions necessary to attain the goal. “I want to be a wealthy CEO” is an example of an aspiration. However, “I want to earn a business degree from Harvard University” is a specific, measurable long-term goal.

Goals should also be genuine, since a desire to please or impress other people will not be enough to carry your student through the hard work and setbacks that come with undertaking any worthwhile endeavor. Genuine goal-setting also entails your student being honest about the amount of time he or she is willing and able to commit. Finally, realistic goals are those that set your student up for success by encouraging him or her to continue establishing, working toward, and achieving future goals.

KD College Prep can help your student set and achieve his or her academic goals

Everything we do at KD College Prep is goal-oriented. For example, is your student having trouble narrowing down his or her list of top colleges? Our college counseling services can help your student make wise choices based on the criteria that matter most to him or her, including how schools will prepare him or her for an eventual career.

We can also help your student transform a broad desire such as “I want to get a great test score” into specific, measurable, and achievable benchmarks. Big dreamers are welcome, too. At KD College Prep, we view each goal as unique to each student and nurture the critical thinking and problem-solving skills young people need to cultivate to thrive well into adulthood.

Of course, identifying goals is only the first step. Once students have established their goals, KD College Prep helps them map the best routes to those destinations. By having a student take a PSAT/NMSQT®, SAT®, or ACT® practice test, for example, we can pinpoint areas of strength as well as concepts that will require more concentrated study.

Finally, we guide students toward their goals by providing in-person, interactive instruction. Our college prep courses and relevant, up-to-date curricula are designed to prepare and equip students for any challenge they may face on test day. We are so committed to helping students succeed that we guarantee to continue working with them until they achieve the scores they need or graduate from high school. You can learn more about this commitment by reviewing the details of our Complete Program.

If your student is ready to take action and take control of his or her academic destiny, contact KD College Prep today. We’ll be happy to schedule a campus tour and tell you more about our process for helping students learn the value — and power — of setting worthy goals.