Why Is it Essential to Set Educational and Career Goals?

Having a goal motivates most college students.
Having a goal motivates most college students. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

When setting out on your journey toward a career, it is essential to set goals. When establishing your goals, conduct research to help you make informed decisions about what career and educational paths you need to take. It is not simply enough to just establish a goal and hope to achieve it. Real success comes through careful planning.


Motivation is one of the primary reasons to set goals for education and your future career. Writing down goals and reviewing them regularly is just as important as establishing the goals in the first place. Having career and educational goals mapped out will give you a sense of the direction you should be heading. Write or print your goals and hang them in several locations throughout your home. Keep a copy in your wallet or purse and in your car.

Staying on Track

Establish short-term and intermediate goals that move you toward your long-term goals. For example, if your goal is a bachelor's degree, write a year-by-year or semester-by-semester degree plan with the classes you intend to take and the minimum grade you want to achieve in each course. Check the classes off your list as you progress toward the long-term goal of a bachelor's degree. The same is true for moving from entry-level to more advanced positions in your career.


Establishing goals puts you in control of where you are going and how you are going to get there. Having goals gives you an instruction manual that you have established. Not setting goals can make you a passive follower that has no direction or control over the future. Goals serve as a road map that allow you to choose each turn you will make along life's highway.


Setting goals gives you a greater sense of accomplishment when you reach them. If you just happen to wander upon success, you're going to feel lucky but you will miss out on the satisfaction of knowing that you put your mind to something, created a plan and followed it to get where you wanted to be. Having that sense of accomplishment will inspire you to reach for more in your education and career.

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