The beginning of the school year can be a busy time.  It may take students awhile to “get settled” and understand all that’s expected of them. The transition from fall to winter quarter can be a great time to apply more effective strategies for success. Goal setting strategies and expert tips on becoming a more effective student.  

Nicole Swisher, St. Francis DeSales guidance counselor, recommends using SMART Goals for improved outcomes. 

Goals should be:
Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic
Time Sensitive

Fellow guidance counselor, Dan Rotella, agrees. “I encourage students to try to achieve a 3.5 or higher for the second quarter. Having a specific goal is a lot better that just saying ‘I want to do better.’ ”

Counselor Katie Shelton stresses the importance of measurable and attainable goals.“'How will I know when my plan is working? What will I do if it's not? ’Goals must be written down to be measurable.” Shelton continues, “setting goals that are too big or having too many goals isn’t helpful. It is helpful to break down a large goal into smaller steps, (this) makes them attainable.”

Rotella also recommends prioritizing the tasks students need to accomplish each and every time they sit down to work. “Put off distractions like the phone, video game or social media time until after school work is finished.Have an agenda for what you plan to accomplish and a specific amount of time to reach those goals and then go after it.” 

Once the process of setting goals is established in a student’s routine, the St. Francis DeSales guidance team suggests:

If something isn’t working, re-evaluate and redirect. You can’t expect a different result if your actions are the same.

Surround yourself with people who are goal oriented and are who continuously working to achieve their goals.

Use the resources available to you to be more successful. These can include collaborating with your teachers and using technology apps like Google Classroom and Powerschool to track your progress. 
Reward yourself for your success with incentives you’ve set for reaching your goals.

Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out. ~ Robert Collier, Author

Be positive about reaching your goals and visualize reaching them.  Reflect on your efforts and modify your plan as needed to determine what is or isn’t working.