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Resources for class

Download the entire document: Goal setting resources for class (PDF)


In order to prepare students for the module on goal-setting, it is useful to have them do some pre-work prior to the class period. Either have them bring it to class, or put each question on the discussion board of your class site in mycourses and have them respond to it. This can be done anomalously to encourage response.

  1. Explain the expected learning outcomes for this module:
    • Students demonstrate an awareness of goal setting processes by establishing a goal for the academic year.
    • Students: a) articulate a vision of their self-management behaviors and skills post freshman year; b) establish goals; c) plan objectives; d) implement action plans; and e) communicate the above to others.
    • Students assess their progress toward their stated goal and develop appropriate steps in order to achieve it.
  2. Ice Breaker: Tape on Wall (or other)
    The instructor will give everyone two pieces of painters tape. The instructor will and ask them to go to the wall and stick one piece as high as they can. After they have completed the task the instructor will ask how could they make it go higher. Stand on a chair, get someone taller to help, etc... We are often stuck in our own context or perception... We want students to dream bigger... Ask the students to write a dream or goal they hope to achieve while at UMass D on the other piece of tape and then the class will mingle around a few moments looking at the dreams and sharing their own.
  3. Lecture Content (SMART Goals, Vision, Goals, Objectives, Action Plans). A PowerPoint Presentation is provided and points to readings in this module that will provide content for you to talk to students about...
  4. In-Class Discussion - Semester in Review: There are suggestions provided in the PowerPoint for class discussion/activities. If time allows, you can also have students reflect on where they have been this semester and where they are going next semester through the lens of “five variables correlated to academic and career success”.
  5. Personal Development Plan: This is a homework assignment that students should have a few days to complete. Tell them to keep the original and hand the copy in to you. This is the only assignment for this module and it is important that they complete it. 

5 Variables that contribute to academic and career success

Looking back and looking ahead are actions that will help you determine what your next steps should be. So before you lay out your Personal Development Plan for following semesters, reflect on the questions below related to your first (and your next) semester in college. It is important to incorporate the five variables below into your planning because they are significantly correlated to achieving success in college and careers.

  1. PLACE: Connect with supportive cultures – home, school, community.
    • Think about transition... What culture shock or challenges did you face adjusting to the college culture of UMass Dartmouth?
    • What connections did you make at UMass Dartmouth that expanded your comfort zone?
    • What steps do you need to increase your sense of connectedness at UMass Dartmouth?
  2. POWER: Identify, develop and use your personal and academic strengths.
    • What internal and external resources (e.g. strengths) supported and motivated you?
    • How did you utilize, develop and improve on the resources available to you?
    • What resources do you need to use and/or develop for further support and motivation?
  3. PURPOSE: Express your unique values, strengths and mission through purposeful choices
    • State your mission statement and explain how it relates to your purpose in college and in life
    • How do your values/strengths affirm and demonstrate your core beliefs and passions?
    • What courses, work experience, co-curricular/community activities and relationships:
    • Have helped you demonstrate your skills and strengths already?
    • Will help you express who you are and develop whom you want to be?
  4. PASSION: Visualize exciting/energizing majors, careers, and lifestyles to inspire you’re long term goals.
    • How and why have your major/career interests and goals changed or stayed the same?
    • How have your community and personal interests/goals changed or stayed the same?
    • What steps do you need to take to move closer to your goals in these four areas: Major, career, personal and community?
  5. PREPARATION: Develop competencies by setting short term goals and implementing success strategies.
    • What were the biggest obstacles you faced in achieving success?
    • What strategies were most helpful in overcoming these obstacles?
    • What challenges to you anticipate facing and what strategies will help you achieve success

Goal Setting Pre-work

The week before the Goal Setting Session, the instructor should ask students to reflect on the following questions... Students will post their thoughts on a central web board?

  • Why am I in college?
  • How am I making a successful transition to college?
  • Who am I?
  • What is my life purpose?
  • Where am I going?
  • How do I get there?



Image of the ideal. It is future looking, inspirational, and creates the most desirable scenario.


A brief, clear, concise statement of the reasons for an organization’s existence, the purpose and function it desires to fulfill, its primary customer base, and the primary methods through which it intends to fulfill the purpose.2 It is somewhat uplifting but more practical than the vision.


Statements of desired future states, long-term and possible, and based on mission and vision. Typically few in number, with a target date.


Short-term, specific, measureable outcomes statements.


What a person will know or be able to do following an activity or event.

Action Plans

Series of short-term tasks to be completed that will result in the achievement of the objectives or outcomes.

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