How to Set Achievable Goals for the New Semester + Free Goal Planning Printable

August 13, 2017

It’s finally August and that means it’s time for (some) of us to go back to the college grind! I am feeling blessed because I don’t have to go back to school until September 6th, but the craziness of the back to school season is still getting to me! As you prepare to go back to college it’s super important to sit down and set out some amazing academic goals that you want to accomplish in the upcoming semester. Goal setting is the key for anyone who wants to chase that sexy 4.0! Many people know that they should be setting goals but they don’t quite know where to start. They either low-ball themselves by hoping to earn the same grades they’ve received in the past, or they go to high and set out to get a 4.8 while taking impossible courses! This post is here to walk you through how to set amazing yet attainable goals, from someone who’s had a lot of success with goal setting! I’ve also included a pretty & free printable goal setting worksheet and tracker! This little sheet will be your best friend throughout the semester and it will keep you on track to reaching your dreams. The printable does all of the organization for you, it’s up to you to supply the girl-boss ambition. If you want to have a grow academically and earn stellar grades keep reading because I’m going to show you everything you need to do slay all of your classes and have your most successful semester yet!

Flash Forward and Think About Your Future!

If you’re in college chances are that you’re hoping to earn a degree of some sort, and after college you probably hope to use that degree to land the job of your dreams. When planning goals for a new semester it really helps to evaluate where you want to end up at the end of your college experience. This information will inform your goal setting as you’ll be able to set academic standards that align with your post graduation hopes and dreams. So before you jump headfirst into blind goal setting give a little bit of thought to where you want to be in the next 2-5 years. Whether you see yourself entering law school, finding work right away or scoring an amazing research fellowship you need to ponder the future to make sure your present actions are in line with your long term goals!

You’ve Gotta Crunch Some Numbers!

As much as we’d like to forget it, grades and GPA’s are the measure of our academic success. In order to set quantifiable goals, you’ll need to do some computing to generate a few figures. You probably already know your current overall GPA offhand but if you’re thinking about any type of graduate or professional school it will be helpful to calculate your GPA for specific courses relevant to the graduate programs you hope to attend. For instance, if you want to go to medical school you need to calculate your current science GPA before you proceed to goal setting because the science GPA is a huge factor in evaluating your candidacy for med school! Once you figure out your current numbers you should try to decide how much you want to increase your current GPA’s (overall, science, humanities, etc.) to be a competitive applicant when the time comes! After this, you can use a calculator and your college’s method of determining GPA to calculate what GPA you will need to earn this semester in order to increase your current GPA by that set amount of points!

Start Off Thinking Big!

In my opinion, the best way to go about goal planning is to start off big. After pondering your future and crunching some numbers feel free to set the bar pretty high for yourself! Set a big, overarching goals like getting all A’s or raising your GPA by .5 points by the end of the semester. These big goals will give you a perfect jumping off point when you have to really think about how you’re going to go about having a very successful semester! Your big goal can also be more descriptive, like something along the lines of ” Become a better student by organizing all of my assignments with a planner” or “Have a better relationship with my professors in order to gain a better understanding of the material”. Your big goal should be whatever your heart desires – the sky’s the limit!

Once You’ve Set Your Biggest Goal Think Small and Reel it in!

After setting your main goal, take a minute to think about all of the things that will need to fall into place in order for you to reach that goal. This is when you should take time to think about each individual class you are taking and what grades you need to earn in each course to reach your goal (or to prove that your goal is being achieved if your goal is ultimately designed to raise your grades)! Think about the subject of each course, the course level and the overall time commitment. With these key factors in mind, set grade goals for each course that will set you on the path to reaching your big goal!

Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses!

Nobody’s perfect and the sooner you can recognize and call yourself out on your flaws the sooner you’ll start earning better grades! I for one know that I do a really poor job of reviewing my notes shortly after a lecture, therefore making more work for myself when I finally sit down to study the material after a few days. This is something I’ll be looking to fix in this upcoming semester. Chances are you too have some bad habits that are holding you back from reaching your full potential. Write them down and commit to trying to avoid them at all costs. The planning printable takes a constructive approach to making these improvements by asking about about ” 3 Skills You’ll Need to Improve to Reach Your Goals”!

It’s equally important to recognize and retain your strengths. Think about a few things you do very well and be sure to keep up the good work!

Learn About the Resources Available to You!

In college you’re probably surrounded by resources designed to help you succeed, after all colleges love to show off successful students! Your job is to do a little bit of research to find out about the academic resources that are available to help you stay on track and reach your goals. Everyone is susceptible to the occasional slip-up, but the most important thing is getting back on track quickly! That’s what academic resources are designed to help you do! I urge you to look into office hours, free tutoring, online study tools and tutorials, and study groups! Having a solid support system of helpful resources is sure to put you on track to getting your best grades yet!

Reflect Often!

One of the most crucial parts of reaching the goals you set for yourself is consistent and thoughtful reflection. How are you supposed to reach your goals if you don’t check yourself along the way? Make sure that you’re evaluating your own performance throughout the term, doing so will help you avoid any spooky surprises – like finding out you have a D in a class a week before the final. The goal tracking worksheet covers this base for you by offering helpful check-ins at crucial points during the semester! If you’re finding that at a given point your grades aren’t looking as great as you hoped they would you should turn to the resources you’ve lined up to put you back on the right path!

These are my best suggestions for having a very successful semester by setting attainable goals. They’re not complicated and they really shouldn’t be – goal setting should be simple and personal! Now on to the best part! Get your free printable and start planning those goals because you’re about to begin your most poppin’ semester ever, I for one cannot wait!



  • Sushmita

    August 15, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Love this post! I am going back for my last year of postgrad and I needed these tips. ❤️


      August 15, 2017 at 7:06 pm

      I’m so glad you found them helpful!

  • Elizabeth

    August 15, 2017 at 9:22 am

    This post is excellent! I especially like how you mentioned setting big goals and then planning on how to achieve them. 🙂


      August 15, 2017 at 7:06 pm

      Thanks! I always think it’s good to dream big!

  • Jiawun Phng

    August 17, 2017 at 10:59 am

    Great post!! I’m in Week 3 of my new semester. My ultimate goal this semester is to raise my GPA as much as possible, so these tips will definitely come in handy! Thanks for the great post xx


      August 22, 2017 at 7:48 pm

      That’s such a relatable goal! Good luck, I hope some of these tips help you out!

  • Annaliese

    August 17, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Ah you go back to school on my birthday! 🙂 Love these goal tips!

    xoxo A


      August 22, 2017 at 7:48 pm

      Thanks girl! Happy early b-day!

  • the sophia diaries

    August 17, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    definitely great tips! I don’t even know what else to add, these are so good xD


      August 22, 2017 at 7:49 pm

      Thanks, I’m so glad you enjoyed!

  • Southern & Style

    August 17, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    Gosh, I wish I had read a post like this before I started college. I’m two years post-grad now, but I still wish I had made use of all of the resources I had on campus while I had them!

    xoxo, SS

    Southern and Style


      August 22, 2017 at 7:50 pm

      I could have used a list like this too! That’s the main reason why I wrote this, so others can avoid my silly mistakes!!

  • Tori

    August 17, 2017 at 11:59 pm

    Goal setting is so important — when things get tough and you’re worn down, returning to those goals as a reminder is so important!


      August 22, 2017 at 7:52 pm

      I totally agree! It’s best to set goals in the beginning when you’re feeling ambitious!

  • Erica @ Coming up Roses

    August 18, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    This post is SO helpful! I lovelovelove that you emphasize setting big goals and looking ahead to what you want to do after graduation to make sure you’re on track for that!


      August 22, 2017 at 7:52 pm

      Thanks so much! I’m glad you found it helpful!

  • Molly

    August 21, 2017 at 10:30 am

    Love this post! It even makes me wish that I were going back to school again.

    Molly // Miss Molly Moon


      August 22, 2017 at 7:53 pm

      Haha thanks! I didn’t know it was possible to miss back to school season but I imagine I will too someday!

  • Amanda

    August 21, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    These are some great goals to get the school year started with a bang!


      August 22, 2017 at 7:53 pm

      Thanks Amanda! I’m so glad you thought they were helpful!

  • Lacey @wearetheglittergospel

    August 28, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    Starting out small is the best thing. That way you tackle your list one small thing at a time to build up to the larger end goal! Checking in is also so important. Actions always speak louder than words!


    The Glitter Gospel


      August 28, 2017 at 12:33 pm

      I totally agree! Action is the key to reaching your goals, I just wish it were easier said than done!

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