10 College Goals Every Student Needs to Succeed

The goal for many high school students is to get accepted into college. They think about it all throughout their high school career and maybe even have their dream school already picked out. But what about your goals after you’ve reached that one? It’s important to think about short-term and long-term goals as a college student. Here are clear goals for college students to consider before and during their college career to set them up for success in their future career path.

Why Set College Goals?

Though having goals and writing them down can seem cliche and cheesy, it really does make a difference. Knowing what your goals are will help you bring them to life. It can be more difficult to accomplish things when you don’t set up goals for yourself because you don’t really know what you’re working towards. As a college student, you can have short-term, long-term, educational, and career goals that you can work towards during your college experience. 

Short-Term vs. Long-Term Goals 

Short-term goals are goals you want to accomplish in a smaller time frame. This can be daily, weekly, and monthly goals. Tasks like getting your assignments done on time, getting good grades throughout this semester, and attending office hours are considered short-term goals for college students. Long-term goals are goals you want to accomplish over a span of the next few years or even a decade. Graduating college and getting a job are considered long-term goals. 

Short-Term Goals for College Students

1. Declare a Major/Find an Internship in Your Major

If you’re a freshman or sophomore, declaring your major early on will help you plan out the rest of your college courses. Once your general education classes are over, you’ll focus more on your actual major so having it declared will be helpful. You’ll save yourself a lot of stress for the rest of your college career. 

If you have already declared a major, finding an internship within your major is another short-term goal to have. Internships will allow you to dip your toes into a job within your chosen major and you’ll see if you actually enjoy it. You’ll also meet a variety of people and be introduced to multiple companies who may be interested in hiring you after you graduate. 

2. Do Well this Semester

Of course, you’ll want to do your best throughout the semester you’re currently in. This short-term goal can turn into even shorter-term goals. Getting your assignments done on time, studying a few hours a week, and doing your assigned readings will help you do well. It’s easier said than done, but creating a list of smaller tasks will help keep you on track for a high GPA. 

3. Join a Club

Not everything has to be about academic goals in college. Joining a club will help you focus on something else besides your education. Clubs are a great way to meet people you normally wouldn’t meet and even pick up a new hobby. Joining clubs aren’t typical goals for college students but it is something we encourage students to do to relax and put themselves out there more. 

4. Use Campus Resources

You pay to go to your college but are you really getting your money’s worth? Another goal for college students is to use their campus resources. You can create a well-written resume, get free tutoring, take advantage of study rooms, and more by attending college. These campus resources are included in your tuition costs so it’s important to use them all for your benefit. You’ll be able to reach other goals like getting a job and making better grades because you decided to use the resources you have at your disposal. 

5. Keep Your Dorm Room Clean

This may seem like a silly goal, but keeping your personal space clean will help you have a clear mind throughout the semester. They say your room is a reflection of your mind, so if it’s cluttered then you may be more stressed. Keeping your dorm room or college apartment tidy will help you focus on your schoolwork and give you a clean space to come home to. Relaxing in a neat space is appreciated during a tough semester. 

Long-Term Goals for College Students 

1. Connect with the Department Head and Staff

Networking with staff and faculty within your major will help you a lot throughout college. You can be the first to know about internship and fellowship opportunities. The faculty and staff will also have their own network of peers with whom you could be introduced. They’re also great mentors!

2. Graduate 

All college students have the goal of graduating. Whether it takes 4 years or 8 years, a degree is a degree. It’s a long-term goal for students to look forward to and it is truly the light at the end of the tunnel when you’re worried about your current course. Graduating with a degree is the ultimate goal of going to college. 

3. Apply for Graduate School

If you plan on seeking higher education, applying for graduate school is a great goal! Not all jobs require a graduate degree but your dream job may. Once you graduate with your bachelor’s degree, you can wait a year or two before applying to get some experience. Or you can apply immediately. If you decide to apply immediately, mark your calendar for the submission date. 

4. Get a Job

College students go to college to get a degree and then use that degree to get a job! Using your degree to get a job that you are passionate about is one of the most important college goals students should consider to succeed. If you accomplish your short-term goal of getting an internship, see if they will hire you right after you graduate. 

5. Make a Difference

Making a difference with your degree is a huge goal for college students. Whether you get a job in your related field or not, you have the knowledge to make a difference. You can invent something new, discover something unknown, or simply be a good employee or boss to make a difference in the world. 


Setting your goals as a college student can be intimidating if you don’t know where to start. Use our list to get started on accomplishing your goals and achieving your dreams. If you’re still looking for the right college to attend, use College Raptor’s college search tool to find the best match.


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