The Levels

Setting Goals

To get the most out of any experience involves the consideration of what you want to happen as a result of the experience. With a vision of the wanted result, you are empowered to structure the experience to maximize the benefit. You will spend less than twenty hours a week in class. The time you spend out-of-class is largely unstructured. How you use that time will determine your success in college and powerfully influence the rest of your life. A factor of such importance deserves some serious thought and careful planning. The following information is designed to help you establish goals for your out-of-class experiences. Remember to complete the self-assessment prior to writing your goals. Goal setting involves asking the following questions. We suggest writing your answers down and discussing your ideas with others.

1. What do I want to happen in each quadrant as a result of my out-of-class experiences? This question is designed to help you establish a broad vision of where to want to go, what you want to do and who you want to be. The answer to this question should be based on a careful assessment of your strengths, weakness, values, and beliefs. You should also explore the realities of the situation for which you are preparing. Whether you are looking forward to employment in a particular field, graduate school, or any other dream for your future, there are realities and circumstances that need to be figured into your goal setting. A useful answer to this question will involve not only dreaming and visualization but will also require some careful research.

2. What experiences and characteristics do I need to achieve my vision? You will need to take some action in order to get from where you are to where you want to be. With a clear vision of what you what to have happen, you can then identify intermediate steps between where you are now and where you want to be.

3. How can out-of-class experiences help me get from where I am to where I want to be? After a clear idea of the experiences and characteristics you need to develop to achieve your vision, you can explore the wide variety of out-of-class experiences available at Truman to aid you in the process. You might begin by checking out the links we have provided to learn more about activities like study abroad, student organizations, volunteer service opportunities and on-campus employment options. You might also talk to your advisor, a faculty member or other students to find out about the wide variety of options that are available to you at Truman.

4. What kind of goals should I set? The goals you set are entirely up to you. You may set goals to gain knowledge, change your attitudes, develop more desirable habits, perfect a skill, apply what you have learned in the classroom to a personal problem, or to integrate knowledge and/or skills in a new way. You can establish goals in a sequence beginning with learning a concept, then applying the concept, master and skill related to the concept and finally integrating the concept and skill with other skills and knowledge. Some people like written and formal goal setting, others prefer more flexible and open-ended goals. If the goal works for you, it is right.

5. How will I know if I have achieved the goal? Whenever you set a goal, you should consider what evidence will determine if the goal has been achieved. Review your progress against your vision often and adapt your goals and out-of-class as needed to make sure that you remain on track.

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