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Writing a paper: how to set a writing goal, how to set a writing goal.

Strong written communication consistently ranks among employers’ top desired skills. It is a skill that traverses disciplines, as most professionals need to know how to communicate clearly in writing. Yet knowing where to start building your written communication skills can be challenging. We recommend starting with setting clear writing goals. The following resources will guide you in forming clear, actionable writing goals.

Getting Started

The first step in setting a writing goal is getting to know yourself as a writer. What are your strengths and improvement areas as a writer? What stresses you out about writing? What is your typical writing routine, and are there ways to improve that process? To answer these questions, you may consider the following steps:

  • Take stock of your writing experiences—past and present—and reflect on what you know about your writing abilities and learning style
  • Sketch out your existing writing practice (i.e., where, when, and how you write) and pinpoint distractions (e.g., social media, noisy workspace , lateness in the day )
  • Outline your ideal writing process (i.e., if everything in your writing process worked out perfectly with no distractions) and highlight potential skills or techniques to model
  • Learn from other writers and explore what practices they have employed to keep the writing process running smoothly  
  • Identify personal obstacles to your writing process —whether it be your own self-consciousness or the blank page—and assess ways to alleviate these pressures

Once you have this information, ask yourself: What did I learn about myself as a writer, what specific patterns or practices in my writing or writing process would I like to change, and what steps do I need to take in order to develop those skills? You can use your responses to start setting writing-specific goals. 

Drafting Writing-Specific Goals

At this point, you may be asking yourself: What is a writing-specific goal and how do I set one? Let's start with what a writing goal is.

A writing goal is an objective you set to build on and enhance a particular skill or set of skills that influence your writing. Writing goals, in this regard, are about identifying skills in your writing or patterns in your writing process that need growth and development. 

You may find that, based on what you learned about yourself as a writer in the “Getting Started” section, your writing goals are related to mastering APA citations and references or establishing a better method for organizing ideas or improving your knowledge of academic writing and its impact on tone. This list is a quick preview of possible goals; however, there are countless, other writing-specific goals to consider, including but not limited to clarity, cohesion, flow, analysis, synthesis, paraphrasing, and grammar skills. Each of these areas is an excellent basis for establishing a writing goal.

The next step is to use SMART Goal Criteria to ensure your goal can be realistically achieved. 

Using SMART Goals as a Guide

The SMART Goals Guide is an excellent tool for ensuring you set clear, manageable writing goals. It helps to establish that your writing goals are:

S–Specific: Is your goal focused and specific? Does it avoid generalizations and abstractions?

M–Measureable: Can you track your progress and completion? What indicators will you use?  

A–Achievable: Is this goal within your control? Do you have the necessary resources for success?

R–Relevant: How does this goal impact your skills set and where you want to be? 

T–Timely: Does this goal have a reasonable timeline and completion date?

The Academic Skills Center has an excellent resource that walks you through how to develop SMART goals . Keep it on hand as you draft and revise your writing goals. 

Working Toward Goals in Paper Reviews

Once you have established your writing goals, keep in mind that you don’t have to set out achieving those goals all on your own. We are here to support your goal progress and overall writing skill development. We encourage you to set up a paper review appointment and share those writing goals with our writing instructors. Together, we can discover more ways to support your path to writing goal success. Click here to learn more about our paper review appointments .

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What Is Academic Writing? | Dos and Don’ts for Students

Academic writing is a formal style of writing used in universities and scholarly publications. You’ll encounter it in journal articles and books on academic topics, and you’ll be expected to write your essays , research papers , and dissertation in academic style.

Academic writing follows the same writing process as other types of texts, but it has specific conventions in terms of content, structure and style.

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Table of contents

Types of academic writing, academic writing is…, academic writing is not…, useful tools for academic writing, academic writing checklist.

Academics mostly write texts intended for publication, such as journal articles, reports, books, and chapters in edited collections. For students, the most common types of academic writing assignments are listed below.

Different fields of study have different priorities in terms of the writing they produce. For example, in scientific writing it’s crucial to clearly and accurately report methods and results; in the humanities, the focus is on constructing convincing arguments through the use of textual evidence. However, most academic writing shares certain key principles intended to help convey information as effectively as possible.

Whether your goal is to pass your degree, apply to graduate school , or build an academic career, effective writing is an essential skill.

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Formal and unbiased

Academic writing aims to convey information in an impartial way. The goal is to base arguments on the evidence under consideration, not the author’s preconceptions. All claims should be supported with relevant evidence, not just asserted.

To avoid bias, it’s important to represent the work of other researchers and the results of your own research fairly and accurately. This means clearly outlining your methodology  and being honest about the limitations of your research.

The formal style used in academic writing ensures that research is presented consistently across different texts, so that studies can be objectively assessed and compared with other research.

Because of this, it’s important to strike the right tone with your language choices. Avoid informal language , including slang, contractions , clichés, and conversational phrases:

  • Also , a lot of the findings are a little unreliable.
  • Moreover , many of the findings are somewhat unreliable.

Clear and precise

It’s important to use clear and precise language to ensure that your reader knows exactly what you mean. This means being as specific as possible and avoiding vague language :

  • People have been interested in this thing for a long time .
  • Researchers have been interested in this phenomenon for at least 10 years .

Avoid hedging your claims with words like “perhaps,” as this can give the impression that you lack confidence in your arguments. Reflect on your word choice to ensure it accurately and directly conveys your meaning:

  • This could perhaps suggest that…
  • This suggests that…

Specialist language or jargon is common and often necessary in academic writing, which generally targets an audience of other academics in related fields.

However, jargon should be used to make your writing more concise and accurate, not to make it more complicated. A specialist term should be used when:

  • It conveys information more precisely than a comparable non-specialist term.
  • Your reader is likely to be familiar with the term.
  • The term is commonly used by other researchers in your field.

The best way to familiarize yourself with the kind of jargon used in your field is to read papers by other researchers and pay attention to their language.

Focused and well structured

An academic text is not just a collection of ideas about a topic—it needs to have a clear purpose. Start with a relevant research question or thesis statement , and use it to develop a focused argument. Only include information that is relevant to your overall purpose.

A coherent structure is crucial to organize your ideas. Pay attention to structure at three levels: the structure of the whole text, paragraph structure, and sentence structure.

Well sourced

Academic writing uses sources to support its claims. Sources are other texts (or media objects like photographs or films) that the author analyzes or uses as evidence. Many of your sources will be written by other academics; academic writing is collaborative and builds on previous research.

It’s important to consider which sources are credible and appropriate to use in academic writing. For example, citing Wikipedia is typically discouraged. Don’t rely on websites for information; instead, use academic databases and your university library to find credible sources.

You must always cite your sources in academic writing. This means acknowledging whenever you quote or paraphrase someone else’s work by including a citation in the text and a reference list at the end.

There are many different citation styles with different rules. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago . Make sure to consistently follow whatever style your institution requires. If you don’t cite correctly, you may get in trouble for plagiarism . A good plagiarism checker can help you catch any issues before it’s too late.

You can easily create accurate citations in APA or MLA style using our Citation Generators.

APA Citation Generator MLA Citation Generator

Correct and consistent

As well as following the rules of grammar, punctuation, and citation, it’s important to consistently apply stylistic conventions regarding:

  • How to write numbers
  • Introducing abbreviations
  • Using verb tenses in different sections
  • Capitalization of terms and headings
  • Spelling and punctuation differences between UK and US English

In some cases there are several acceptable approaches that you can choose between—the most important thing is to apply the same rules consistently and to carefully proofread your text before you submit. If you don’t feel confident in your own proofreading abilities, you can get help from Scribbr’s professional proofreading services or Grammar Checker .

Academic writing generally tries to avoid being too personal. Information about the author may come in at some points—for example in the acknowledgements or in a personal reflection—but for the most part the text should focus on the research itself.

Always avoid addressing the reader directly with the second-person pronoun “you.” Use the impersonal pronoun “one” or an alternate phrasing instead for generalizations:

  • As a teacher, you must treat your students fairly.
  • As a teacher, one must treat one’s students fairly.
  • Teachers must treat their students fairly.

The use of the first-person pronoun “I” used to be similarly discouraged in academic writing, but it is increasingly accepted in many fields. If you’re unsure whether to use the first person, pay attention to conventions in your field or ask your instructor.

When you refer to yourself, it should be for good reason. You can position yourself and describe what you did during the research, but avoid arbitrarily inserting your personal thoughts and feelings:

  • In my opinion…
  • I think that…
  • I like/dislike…
  • I conducted interviews with…
  • I argue that…
  • I hope to achieve…

Long-winded

Many students think their writing isn’t academic unless it’s over-complicated and long-winded. This isn’t a good approach—instead, aim to be as concise and direct as possible.

If a term can be cut or replaced with a more straightforward one without affecting your meaning, it should be. Avoid redundant phrasings in your text, and try replacing phrasal verbs with their one-word equivalents where possible:

  • Interest in this phenomenon carried on in the year 2018 .
  • Interest in this phenomenon continued in 2018 .

Repetition is a part of academic writing—for example, summarizing earlier information in the conclusion—but it’s important to avoid unnecessary repetition. Make sure that none of your sentences are repeating a point you’ve already made in different words.

Emotive and grandiose

An academic text is not the same thing as a literary, journalistic, or marketing text. Though you’re still trying to be persuasive, a lot of techniques from these styles are not appropriate in an academic context. Specifically, you should avoid appeals to emotion and inflated claims.

Though you may be writing about a topic that’s sensitive or important to you, the point of academic writing is to clearly communicate ideas, information, and arguments, not to inspire an emotional response. Avoid using emotive or subjective language :

  • This horrible tragedy was obviously one of the worst catastrophes in construction history.
  • The injury and mortality rates of this accident were among the highest in construction history.

Students are sometimes tempted to make the case for their topic with exaggerated , unsupported claims and flowery language. Stick to specific, grounded arguments that you can support with evidence, and don’t overstate your point:

  • Charles Dickens is the greatest writer of the Victorian period, and his influence on all subsequent literature is enormous.
  • Charles Dickens is one of the best-known writers of the Victorian period and has had a significant influence on the development of the English novel.

There are a a lot of writing tools that will make your writing process faster and easier. We’ll highlight three of them below.

Paraphrasing tool

AI writing tools like ChatGPT and a paraphrasing tool can help you rewrite text so that your ideas are clearer, you don’t repeat yourself, and your writing has a consistent tone.

They can also help you write more clearly about sources without having to quote them directly. Be warned, though: it’s still crucial to give credit to all sources in the right way to prevent plagiarism .

Grammar checker

Writing tools that scan your text for punctuation, spelling, and grammar mistakes. When it detects a mistake the grammar checke r will give instant feedback and suggest corrections. Helping you write clearly and avoid common mistakes .

You can use a summarizer if you want to condense text into its most important and useful ideas. With a summarizer tool, you can make it easier to understand complicated sources. You can also use the tool to make your research question clearer and summarize your main argument.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

Use the checklist below to assess whether you have followed the rules of effective academic writing.

  • Checklist: Academic writing

I avoid informal terms and contractions .

I avoid second-person pronouns (“you”).

I avoid emotive or exaggerated language.

I avoid redundant words and phrases.

I avoid unnecessary jargon and define terms where needed.

I present information as precisely and accurately as possible.

I use appropriate transitions to show the connections between my ideas.

My text is logically organized using paragraphs .

Each paragraph is focused on a single idea, expressed in a clear topic sentence .

Every part of the text relates to my central thesis or research question .

I support my claims with evidence.

I use the appropriate verb tenses in each section.

I consistently use either UK or US English .

I format numbers consistently.

I cite my sources using a consistent citation style .

Your text follows the most important rules of academic style. Make sure it's perfect with the help of a Scribbr editor!

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Write Smarter: How to Set Effective Goals in Your Academic Writing

How often do you walk away from your computer after a writing session feeling disappointed at having not written more? This will be familiar to any academic, but ask yourself: What did you set out to achieve in the first place? One mistake too many of us make is that we approach writing with ill-defined goals. However, the research is clear: Setting effective goals is the first step toward making tremendous accomplishments. 1

Thankfully, there are plenty of methods to help you set practical goals, one of which is the SMART framework. Using this framework will help you not only keep on track but identify when a day’s work is complete. This means you can walk away from the computer feeling proud of what you have accomplished.

What does SMART stand for? The short answer is Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound. Each of these corresponds to a strategy you can use when setting your writing goals. Below, we explore each component in the context of academic writing.

Rather than being vague, a good writing goal will make crystal clear the particular task to be completed (and how), often using numbers.

Bad example of a specific goal: “I will write some of my introduction section today.”

Good example of a specific goal: “I will write five paragraphs of my introduction, focusing on the quantity of writing. I’ll go back and edit for quality tomorrow.”

How will you know that you are making progress toward your writing goal, and how will you know when you have achieved it? Ensuring you have quantifiable metrics against which you can benchmark your progress is essential for holding yourself accountable and knowing when it’s time to close the laptop.

Bad example of a measurable goal: “I will write up some of my discussion section today, stopping when I get tired.”

Good example of a measurable goal: “I will write 500 words of my discussion, after which I will stop writing and review my work tomorrow.”

It’s possible that being accepted by a top-tier publication on your first submission, or drafting an entire thesis in a day, is unrealistic. Take a moment to consider whether your goals are achievable. Seek support and keep your goals manageable.

Bad example of an achievable goal: “I will finish the last chapter of my thesis before editing and proofreading the entire manuscript in time for the submission deadline. I’ll squeeze it in around the other things I have to do. Everything will be fine! ”

Good example of an achievable goal: “I will take the next day to finalize the last chapter of my thesis and then send it to a professional proofreading service to get the language polished.”

It’s much easier to work on things that feel personally relevant to you. Ask yourself—ideally before you even commence writing—whether your current writing project feels meaningful and exciting. Goals that motivate us in and of themselves, irrespective of their material rewards, are much more motivating than goals we’re pursuing purely for a paycheck. 2

Bad example of a relevant goal: You see a call for proposals for an upcoming special issue. The issue is not on a topic that you find particularly interesting, but you’ve got some results that you think will fit the bill. You decide to write up a proposal but it feels like a chore. When the proposal is accepted, you dread the time you must now dedicate to writing the full manuscript.

Good example of a relevant goal: You have been offered the chance to submit a chapter to an edited book. The offer comes from a prestigious and reputable publisher, but the topic you would be writing about isn’t as interesting to you as your focal research. You decide to decline the offer and focus on your core research. Consequently, you enjoy sitting down to write much more than if you had pursued the opportunity, and are highly productive.

Lastly, the best goals are time-bound. Create a timeline of tasks that lead up to a final deadline, ensuring they are bite-sized and allow buffer room for any unexpected hiccups.

Bad example of a time-bound goal: “I’m going to finish that chapter of my thesis… eventually.”

Good example of a time-bound goal: “I will complete the first draft of my 3,000-word discussion section within seven days. Therefore, I will write 500 words each day up to the deadline, allowing one day for any delays.”

Consider setting yourself some SMART goals and watch as your writing productivity soars!

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  • Writing 101: Course Goals and Practices

Writing 101 introduces you to key goals and practices of academic writing. You choose from among Writing 101 courses that are designed and taught by scholars trained in disciplines across the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Thus, individual sections of Writing 101 often focus on different topics and readings, but all sections share an emphasis on writing as a social process and a commitment to helping students generate effective academic arguments.

While many features of academic writing vary across disciplines and genres, you will learn how to:

Engage with the work of others.

In pursuing a line of inquiry, scholars need to identify and engage with what others have communicated. To do this, academic writers:

  • Read, look, and listen closely to others’ arguments.
  • Attend to the context of others’ arguments.
  • Make fair, generous, and assertive use of the work of others.                                                                                                

Articulate a position.

The point of engaging with the work of others is to move beyond what  has been said before. To do this, academic writers:

  • Respond to gaps, inconsistencies, or complexities in the relevant literature.
  • Anticipate possible counter arguments or contradictory evidence.
  • Provide new evidence or interpretations.
  • Advance clear and interesting positions.                                                                                                                                                                                       

Situate writing for specific audiences.

In order to effectively advance their position within their fields of inquiry, scholarly writers need to be aware of disciplinary conventions and expectations. To do this, academic writers:

  • Apply discipline-specific conventions for using and citing sources.
  • Draw on appropriate and effective support for an argument.
  • Learn expectations and concerns of intended readers.
  • Integrate context-appropriate visual design elements.

Transfer writing knowledge into situations beyond Writing 101.

Even as scholarly writers situate their writing for specific audiences, they also need to transfer knowledge and practices across disciplines and contexts. Writing is an ongoing practice. To do this, academic writers:

  • Build on prior writing knowledge.
  • Adapt writing knowledge to new contexts.

Achieving these goals involves several integral writing practices. Through print, in-person, and digital interactions, you are offered practice in:

  • Researching. Research is often ongoing and recursive, rather than a discrete, initial step of the writing process. Depending on the field, this research may include locating primary and secondary sources; conducting fieldwork; questioning methodology; collecting, analyzing, examining, or organizing data/evidence; identifying social or political contexts; or considering the implications of an academic work.
  • Workshopping. Academic writers re-read their own writing and share work-in-progress with colleagues in order to reconsider their arguments. You learn how to become a critical reader of your own prose through responding to others in classroom workshops, seminar discussions, or conferences.
  • Revising. You are asked to rethink your work-in-progress in ways that go beyond simply fixing errors or polishing sentences in order to extend, refine, and reshape what you have to say and how you say it.
  • Editing. As a final step in preparing documents for specific audiences, you learn how to edit and proofread.

As a reflection of Duke’s commitment to intellectual inquiry, Writing 101 provides a foundation for you to learn new kinds of writing, preparing you to identify relevant questions and articulate sophisticated arguments in your future work, both inside and outside the university.

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An Introduction to Academic Writing

Characteristics and Common Mistakes to Avoid

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Olivia Valdes was the Associate Editorial Director for ThoughtCo. She worked with Dotdash Meredith from 2017 to 2021.

academic writing goals

  • B.A., American Studies, Yale University

Students, professors, and researchers in every discipline use academic writing to convey ideas, make arguments, and engage in scholarly conversation. Academic writing is characterized by evidence-based arguments, precise word choice, logical organization, and an impersonal tone. Though sometimes thought of as long-winded or inaccessible, strong academic writing is quite the opposite: It informs, analyzes, and persuades in a straightforward manner and enables the reader to engage critically in a scholarly dialogue.

Examples of Academic Writing 

Academic writing is, of course, any formal written work produced in an academic setting. While academic writing comes in many forms, the following are some of the most common.

Literary analysis : A literary analysis essay examines, evaluates, and makes an argument about a literary work. As its name suggests, a literary analysis essay goes beyond mere summarization. It requires careful close reading of one or multiple texts and often focuses on a specific characteristic, theme, or motif.

Research paper : A research paper uses outside information to support a thesis or make an argument. Research papers are written in all disciplines and may be evaluative, analytical, or critical in nature. Common research sources include data, primary sources (e.g., historical records), and secondary sources (e.g., peer-reviewed scholarly articles ). Writing a research paper involves synthesizing this external information with your own ideas.

Dissertation : A dissertation (or thesis) is a document submitted at the conclusion of a Ph.D. program. The dissertation is a book-length summarization of the doctoral candidate’s research.

Academic papers may be done as a part of a class, in a program of study, or for publication in an academic journal or scholarly book of articles around a theme, by different authors.

Characteristics of Academic Writing

Most academic disciplines employ their own stylistic conventions. However, all academic writing shares certain characteristics.

  • Clear and limited focus . The focus of an academic paper—the argument or research question—is established early by the thesis statement. Every paragraph and sentence of the paper connects back to that primary focus. While the paper may include background or contextual information, all content serves the purpose of supporting the thesis statement.
  • Logical structure . All academic writing follows a logical, straightforward structure. In its simplest form, academic writing includes an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The introduction provides background information, lays out the scope and direction of the essay, and states the thesis. The body paragraphs support the thesis statement, with each body paragraph elaborating on one supporting point. The conclusion refers back to the thesis, summarizes the main points, and highlights the implications of the paper’s findings. Each sentence and paragraph logically connects to the next in order to present a clear argument.
  • Evidence-based arguments . Academic writing requires well-informed arguments. Statements must be supported by evidence, whether from scholarly sources (as in a research paper), results of a study or experiment, or quotations from a primary text (as in a literary analysis essay). The use of evidence gives credibility to an argument.
  • Impersonal tone . The goal of academic writing is to convey a logical argument from an objective standpoint. Academic writing avoids emotional, inflammatory, or otherwise biased language. Whether you personally agree or disagree with an idea, it must be presented accurately and objectively in your paper.

Most published papers also have abstracts: brief summaries of the most important points of the paper. Abstracts appear in academic database search results so that readers can quickly determine whether the paper is pertinent to their own research.

The Importance of Thesis Statements

Let’s say you’ve just finished an analytical essay for your literature class. If a peer or professor asks you what the essay is about—what the point of the essay is—you should be able to respond clearly and concisely in a single sentence. That single sentence is your thesis statement.

The thesis statement, found at the end of the first paragraph, is a one-sentence encapsulation of your essay’s main idea. It presents an overarching argument and may also identify the main support points for the argument. In essence, the thesis statement is a road map, telling the reader where the paper is going and how it will get there.

The thesis statement plays an important role in the writing process. Once you’ve written a thesis statement, you’ve established a clear focus for your paper. Frequently referring back to that thesis statement will prevent you from straying off-topic during the drafting phase. Of course, the thesis statement can (and should) be revised to reflect changes in the content or direction of the paper. Its ultimate goal, after all, is to capture the main ideas of your paper with clarity and specificity.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Academic writers from every field face similar challenges during the writing process. You can improve your own academic writing by avoiding these common mistakes.

  • Wordiness . The goal of academic writing is to convey complex ideas in a clear, concise  manner. Don’t muddy the meaning of your argument by using confusing language. If you find yourself writing a sentence over 25 words long, try to divide it into two or three separate sentences for improved readability.
  • A vague or missing thesis statement . The thesis statement is the single most important sentence in any academic paper. Your thesis statement must be clear, and each body paragraph needs to tie into that thesis.
  • Informal language . Academic writing is formal in tone and should not include slang, idioms, or conversational language.
  • Description without analysis . Do not simply repeat the ideas or arguments from your source materials. Rather, analyze those arguments and explain how they relate to your point. 
  • Not citing sources . Keep track of your source materials throughout the research and writing process. Cite them consistently using one style manual ( MLA , APA, or Chicago Manual of Style, depending on the guidelines given to you at the outset of the project). Any ideas that are not your own need to be cited, whether they're paraphrased or quoted directly, to avoid plagiarism.
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11 SMART Goals Examples for Improving Your Writing Skills

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Good writing skills are becoming more critical, particularly in finding and maintaining a good job. As a writer, you are faced with several challenges. This has to do with your overall writing skills, not just with the profession in general.

A lack of vocabulary, issues with plagiarism, insufficient reasoning and cognitive skills, a lack of feedback, poor grammar and spelling, and a lack of research skills are problems you may face.

However, setting SMART goals is one thing that can help you significantly improve your writing skills. This article discusses SMART goals for writing skills.

SMART goals can help you set precise goals you can measure in realistic ways to monitor your progress over time.

Table of Contents

What Are SMART Goals?

To set usable SMART goals, knowing what they are is crucial. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable (or Attainable), Relevant, and Time-Bound (or Timely). These are five parts of a greater goal.

If you focus on the five letters of this acronym, setting and achieving goals becomes easier. So let’s look at the five letters of the SMART acronym and what they mean in setting SMART goals for writing skills.  

  • Specific: These goals need to be precise, concise, and unambiguous. Setting a goal is relatively meaningless if you don’t know what the goal is.
  • Measurable: The goals you set must be measurable in some way. The more accurately you can measure your progress toward a goal, the better you can judge what still needs to be done to get there.
  • Achievable: Any goal you set needs to be attainable or achievable. Setting unrealistic goals that are not readily attainable will demoralize and demotivate you.
  • Relevant: The goals you set need to be relevant to the specific skill you are looking to improve. For instance, while eating healthy is a worthy goal, it won’t help you become a better writer.
  • Time-Bound: These SMART goals should always be time-bound. These goals should have specific time limits or deadlines that they should be achieved by. This will help motivate you, and it will also help you monitor progress on a linear scale.

If you would like more information on setting and achieving SMART goals, we recommend checking out Ultimate Guide to SMART Goals . In addition, a vision board can help you determine what your biggest goals are.

Why SMART Goals Are Important for Developing Writing Skills

SMART goals help you create structure in a way that makes them easier to achieve.

It’s about setting specific goals where you can measure the progress over a certain period, goals that are relevant to your overall end goal, which, in this case, is improving your writing skills.

There are a significant number of challenges that today’s writers face . One of the most common is dealing with complex and unfamiliar topics and lacking practical research skills. But, of course, to write, you first need to research, which is easier said than done.

Another big challenge , once resources have been found, is to organize them, so they are easily usable for your writing. Also related to research and sources is ensuring that your writing hasn’t been plagiarized, which can land you in serious trouble.

goals as a writer and reader | goals of academic writing | list of writing goals

Moreover, perhaps one of the biggest writing challenges is forming a coherent argument that makes sense and is valid. It concerns using common sense, logical thought, and deductive skills within a solid writing structure to develop an argument that is accurate and easy to understand.

Another challenge writers face a simple lack of grammar and spelling skills , combined with an ineffective vocabulary. The cornerstone of assembling a good piece of writing is knowing the best words to use.

Other challenges you may face include a simple lack of feedback. To improve at something, you need constructive criticism. A lack of practice and experience are also issues.

We want to look at a series of SMART goals for writing skills to help you formulate a strategy that will help you improve.

We will help you set goals to tackle the challenges writers face, as laid out above. SMART goals are your plan of action.

11 Examples of SMART Goals for Writing Skills

Let’s go over a few examples of SMART goals that will help you tackle the challenges mentioned above faced by writers.

1. Read from Academic Sources

“To improve my vocabulary, I will spend at least 15 minutes reading from an academic source each day. All throughout, I will keep track of the number of words I do not know to judge my reading comprehension skills and vocabulary. My end goal is to fully comprehend any piece of writing within one year of the start date.”

S: This goal is specific as you aim to read from an academic source every day for a particular time to increase your vocabulary.

M: This goal is measurable because you can track how many words you are unfamiliar with over 15 minutes of reading.

A: This goal is achievable because spending 15 minutes per day reading is not very time-consuming, nor is making a list to keep track of unfamiliar words.

R: This goal is directly relevant to improving writing skills because having a good vocabulary is essential for writing well. Regularly reading is a great habit to have anyway.

T: This goal is time-bound to a certain degree because the aim is to engage in this practice for at least 15 minutes per day, every day, by the end of each day.

2. Learn New Words

“To help improve my vocabulary, I will spend 10 minutes each day making a list of words that I have heard but do not know the meaning of. I will then use a dictionary and a thesaurus to learn what these words mean and their synonyms. I want to shorten my list of unfamiliar words by at least 5% each week.”

S: This goal is specific as the aim is to make a list of unfamiliar words and then learn their meanings. The objective is to improve your vocabulary.

M: This goal is measurable to a certain degree because you can easily see the length of your list of unfamiliar words.

A: This goal is easy to attain because you can write down unfamiliar words as you read them and then set aside a few minutes each day to look them up.

R: As established above, having a strong vocabulary is essential to becoming a proficient writer.

T: This process is time-bound, as you are setting aside a certain amount of time each day to complete this task. It’s also time-bound as you intend to shorten the list of unfamiliar words within a set timeframe.

3. Ask for Feedback

“Whenever I complete a piece of writing, I will immediately give it to a friend or family member and ask them to provide me with realistic and relevant feedback. I will ask for feedback within three days. Then, I will examine the feedback immediately and make adjustments as needed by the end of the week (or within seven days of giving said person my piece of writing).”

S: This goal is specifically designed to seek feedback on your writing within a specific timeframe to have others tell you what needs improvement.

M: This goal is measurable to a certain degree, as you can use your judgment to determine how positive or negative the feedback is. The more positive feedback you get, the more you progress.

A: This goal is easy to attain because you simply have to find some people willing to engage in this feedback process. Here’s a good guide on how to motivate others to help you.

R: This is highly relevant because things sound different from somebody else’s perspective. You need to know how other people read and interpret your work.

T: This goal is time-based, as the aim is to get feedback and make adjustments within a specific time.

4. Join a Debate Club

“To improve my logical thought, deduction, and argument-formation skills, I will join a debate club within the next 14 days. I will aim to have at least one debate per week, with the overall goal of winning at least two consecutive debates within six months of joining the debate team.”

S: This goal is specific in using a debate team to improve argument-formation skills over a particular time to win consecutive debates.

M: This goal is measurable because you can judge your progress by your performance and overall results in your weekly debates.

A: It’s a relatively easy goal because argument formation skills also improve by practicing debating skills.

R: It’s a relevant goal because good writing requires clear and coherent arguments to be formed.

T: It is a time-bound goal because it aims to win two consecutive debates within six months of joining the team.

5. Learn to Read Faster

“I will read at least one chapter of a book per day and write a summary of the main points within the said chapter. The overall goal is to first increase the speed at which I read, and second, to detail the main points more clearly and concisely within each chapter. My aim is to read at least one word more per minute each day and be able to read at least 100 words per minute within 60 days of beginning this exercise.  I will then go back through each chapter to examine my analysis' accuracy.”

S: This goal is specific because you intend to read a certain amount, be able to read faster, at least one word per minute more each day, and to better comprehend what you’ve read over a period.

M: This goal is measurable because you can keep track of how many words per minute you read and count the main points you could remember and comprehend.

A: This is an easy-to-attain goal because by practicing, your reading speed and comprehension skills will improve over time.

R: A crucial reading and writing skill is to disseminate essential facts quickly and efficiently from large writing pieces.

T: This is a timely goal as the objective is to read a certain number of words more each day, intending to read at least 100 words per minute within 60 days of starting. This could be a part of a daily morning routine .

6. Hone Writing Skills

“I will join a professional writing class by the end of the month and complete it by the end of the year. The overall goal is to hone my writing skills, precisely the style, and type of writing required for my profession. My aim is to get at least a 90% score on all exams in this writing course.”

S: The specific goal is to first complete a particular writing class and, second, get a score of at least 90% on all exams.

M: This goal is easy to measure, as all of your work will be graded by the instructor.

A: This goal is attainable through hard work, practice, and studying.

R: It is a relevant goal because taking a course designed specifically for that end will improve my writing skills.

T: It is a time-bound goal, as writing classes only last for so long.

7. Identify Writers You Admire

“I will identify writers I admire whom I can learn from. By choosing one writer per month, I will have time to research that writer, identifying their trademark style, unique approach to topics, and literary style. I will identify one to three aspects of each writer’s style that I can adapt to my own writing style, practicing these over the last two weeks of each month per writer. I will then track to see which style adaptation works for me and which feels out of place.” 

S: This goal is specific in that you need to identify people who write in such a way that you admire. The task is specific and targeted at a predetermined outcome—finding writers you like. 

M: You can measure your success here by how many great writers you’ve researched and considered as writers you admire. 

A: Achieve this goal by reading up on one writer per month, which is achievable. 

R: Build the relevance of this goal by focusing on a skill (other writers’ writing ability) that you can apply to your own writing career. 

T: This goal has a time limit of one writer per month, which ensures you won’t get bored and will have enough time to research these writers, while still having time to write too. 

8. Developing Writing Tricks

“Having achieved my goal of identifying writers I admire; I will now learn their tricks or the shortcuts that help them create great content and captivating manuscripts. I will use the next month per writer, reading their best work and also their worst work, identifying what worked in the first while being missing in the latter. From my notes, I will then apply the x-factor that helps these writers be so great to help me be a better writer. Having found each writer’s success formula, I will apply this to my writing too.”  

S: Identify the specific traits or skills that a writer used to succeed that was missing from their poor work. This is a specific step.

M: Success can be measured by seeing whether you can identify what made a writer great in their work, while also spotting what made them not succeed, and then seeing if you have similar challenges. You can measure success by how many writers you can analyze in the given time.

A: Anybody can read what someone else wrote, but because you are a writer, you will be able to achieve a real analysis of their work and style through comparison. 

R: This is a relevant goal as it will improve your writing ability if you can see what tricks work and what doesn’t. You write relevant content by learning from someone else’s mistakes. 

T: There is a time limit to this goal because you have a month per writer, which is when you move on to a different writer. 

long term career goals statement examples | sample career aspirations statement for managers | how to write a goal statement for work

9. Develop Brilliant Self-Editing Skills

“I know I am not perfect, so I will sharpen my self-editing skills. I will make it a requirement to read my content at least three times before letting it rest for a week and then reading it again, but this time reading it from the bottom up (not in reverse) so I can check each sentence independently, and also then read it from start to finish to catch any errors and inconsistencies that need to be edited. I will also invest in a good grammatical tool such as Grammarly Premium for the next six months to suggest changes where necessary. By asking family members to check my writing, I can get an indication of my improvements and learning.”  

S: This goal is about improving the quality of your writing, which is a specific goal. 

M: You can measure this goal by looking at the grammar checking tool’s score, while also asking family members to report back on their perception of your writing improvement. 

A: You can achieve this goal as it has smaller micro-goals, such as editing from the bottom up and investing in a grammar tool for six months. 

R: As a writer, having quality content and captivating writing is vital to industry success, which means this goal is relevant to your career as a writer. 

T: With a time limit of reading content three times, resting seven days, then reading it again, you create a healthy time habit that will help you review your work with fresh eyes. 

10. Broaden My Knowledge Base

“To be a successful writer, I also need to be a great “reader” with a wide knowledge base, so I will read a new niche or topic each week. Instead of reading about things I am already familiar with, I need to read new and unusual topics that I know nothing about and possibly never even knew existed. For each new topic, I will create a list of 10 terms or ideas that are unique to that area of expertise, which I will practice referring to in the last week of each month.” 

S: The specifics of this goal are to broaden knowledge, which you can specifically do by reading a new topic each week and keeping notes on that topic.

M: You can measure your knowledge expansion by using industry-specific knowledge in daily discussions. Check off each term or idea each time you use them. 

A: Reading a book or blog each week is achievable, and it’s interesting too, so you will likely keep up the knowledge habit. 

R: Writing is about knowledge, so being informed about many different areas of interest means you will have a wide knowledge base, and this will keep you (and your written content) relevant. 

T: The time limit on this task is specific, helping to keep you on track in your goal to read a new book (topic) each week. 

11. Identify New Writing Markets

“To ensure I can earn a living from writing, I will explore different writing markets until I find one (or more) where I naturally thrive. A market can only be explored if you work in it, so I will choose a new writing market every three months, seeking out writing opportunities and clients in that market. When I am satisfied that I know more about that particular writing market, I will move on to the next (while still maintaining activity in the previous markets). Finally, I will choose the markets where I can enjoy the most success and hone my skills there.”

S: The specific goal is to find new writing markets that may help you write successfully and earn a living. 

M: Your success can be measured by the number of markets you explore and how you slot into each. 

A: You can achieve this goal by applying for new writing jobs or projects online in markets where you haven’t previously written, such as content writing, SEO writing, copywriting, fiction, non-fiction, and more. 

R: The goal is relevant as you want to build a successful writing career, but you may not yet know what market you and your writing abilities are best suited to. 

T: With a time limit of three months per market, you have enough time to investigate a market without forcing yourself to drown in any particular one. You can easily dip your toes into a market in three months, so the goal is reachable and timebound. 

Final Thoughts on SMART Goals for Writing Skills

The best way to hone your writing skills is to set specific goals. The best way to do this is by making them SMART goals, which enable you to set concise goals, achieve those goals, and when they should be completed.

This kind of structure and organization always makes achieving any goal easier. So make five or six SMART goals and start improving your writing today!

And if you want more SMART goal ideas and examples, be sure to check out these blog posts:

  • 7 SMART Goals Examples for Administrative Assistants
  • 6 SMART Goals Examples for Social Media Marketing
  • 7 SMART Goals Examples for Creatives & Artistic People

Finally, if you want to take your goal-setting efforts to the next level, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals .

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Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper

  • Academic Writing Style
  • Purpose of Guide
  • Design Flaws to Avoid
  • Independent and Dependent Variables
  • Glossary of Research Terms
  • Reading Research Effectively
  • Narrowing a Topic Idea
  • Broadening a Topic Idea
  • Extending the Timeliness of a Topic Idea
  • Choosing a Title
  • Making an Outline
  • Paragraph Development
  • Research Process Video Series
  • Executive Summary
  • The C.A.R.S. Model
  • Background Information
  • The Research Problem/Question
  • Theoretical Framework
  • Citation Tracking
  • Content Alert Services
  • Evaluating Sources
  • Primary Sources
  • Secondary Sources
  • Tiertiary Sources
  • Scholarly vs. Popular Publications
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Insiderness
  • Using Non-Textual Elements
  • Limitations of the Study
  • Common Grammar Mistakes
  • Writing Concisely
  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Footnotes or Endnotes?
  • Further Readings
  • Generative AI and Writing
  • USC Libraries Tutorials and Other Guides
  • Bibliography

Academic writing refers to a style of expression that researchers use to define the intellectual boundaries of their disciplines and specific areas of expertise. Characteristics of academic writing include a formal tone, use of the third-person rather than first-person perspective (usually), a clear focus on the research problem under investigation, and precise word choice. Like specialist languages adopted in other professions, such as, law or medicine, academic writing is designed to convey agreed meaning about complex ideas or concepts within a community of scholarly experts and practitioners.

Academic Writing. Writing Center. Colorado Technical College; Hartley, James. Academic Writing and Publishing: A Practical Guide . New York: Routledge, 2008; Ezza, El-Sadig Y. and Touria Drid. T eaching Academic Writing as a Discipline-Specific Skill in Higher Education . Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2020.

Importance of Good Academic Writing

The accepted form of academic writing in the social sciences can vary considerable depending on the methodological framework and the intended audience. However, most college-level research papers require careful attention to the following stylistic elements:

I.  The Big Picture Unlike creative or journalistic writing, the overall structure of academic writing is formal and logical. It must be cohesive and possess a logically organized flow of ideas; this means that the various parts are connected to form a unified whole. There should be narrative links between sentences and paragraphs so that the reader is able to follow your argument. The introduction should include a description of how the rest of the paper is organized and all sources are properly cited throughout the paper.

II.  Tone The overall tone refers to the attitude conveyed in a piece of writing. Throughout your paper, it is important that you present the arguments of others fairly and with an appropriate narrative tone. When presenting a position or argument that you disagree with, describe this argument accurately and without loaded or biased language. In academic writing, the author is expected to investigate the research problem from an authoritative point of view. You should, therefore, state the strengths of your arguments confidently, using language that is neutral, not confrontational or dismissive.

III.  Diction Diction refers to the choice of words you use. Awareness of the words you use is important because words that have almost the same denotation [dictionary definition] can have very different connotations [implied meanings]. This is particularly true in academic writing because words and terminology can evolve a nuanced meaning that describes a particular idea, concept, or phenomenon derived from the epistemological culture of that discipline [e.g., the concept of rational choice in political science]. Therefore, use concrete words [not general] that convey a specific meaning. If this cannot be done without confusing the reader, then you need to explain what you mean within the context of how that word or phrase is used within a discipline.

IV.  Language The investigation of research problems in the social sciences is often complex and multi- dimensional . Therefore, it is important that you use unambiguous language. Well-structured paragraphs and clear topic sentences enable a reader to follow your line of thinking without difficulty. Your language should be concise, formal, and express precisely what you want it to mean. Do not use vague expressions that are not specific or precise enough for the reader to derive exact meaning ["they," "we," "people," "the organization," etc.], abbreviations like 'i.e.'  ["in other words"], 'e.g.' ["for example"], or 'a.k.a.' ["also known as"], and the use of unspecific determinate words ["super," "very," "incredible," "huge," etc.].

V.  Punctuation Scholars rely on precise words and language to establish the narrative tone of their work and, therefore, punctuation marks are used very deliberately. For example, exclamation points are rarely used to express a heightened tone because it can come across as unsophisticated or over-excited. Dashes should be limited to the insertion of an explanatory comment in a sentence, while hyphens should be limited to connecting prefixes to words [e.g., multi-disciplinary] or when forming compound phrases [e.g., commander-in-chief]. Finally, understand that semi-colons represent a pause that is longer than a comma, but shorter than a period in a sentence. In general, there are four grammatical uses of semi-colons: when a second clause expands or explains the first clause; to describe a sequence of actions or different aspects of the same topic; placed before clauses which begin with "nevertheless", "therefore", "even so," and "for instance”; and, to mark off a series of phrases or clauses which contain commas. If you are not confident about when to use semi-colons [and most of the time, they are not required for proper punctuation], rewrite using shorter sentences or revise the paragraph.

VI.  Academic Conventions Citing sources in the body of your paper and providing a list of references as either footnotes or endnotes is a key feature of academic writing. It is essential to always acknowledge the source of any ideas, research findings, data, paraphrased, or quoted text that you have used in your paper as a defense against allegations of plagiarism. Even more important, the scholarly convention of citing sources allow readers to identify the resources you used in writing your paper so they can independently verify and assess the quality of findings and conclusions based on your review of the literature. Examples of other academic conventions to follow include the appropriate use of headings and subheadings, properly spelling out acronyms when first used in the text, avoiding slang or colloquial language, avoiding emotive language or unsupported declarative statements, avoiding contractions [e.g., isn't], and using first person and second person pronouns only when necessary.

VII.  Evidence-Based Reasoning Assignments often ask you to express your own point of view about the research problem. However, what is valued in academic writing is that statements are based on evidence-based reasoning. This refers to possessing a clear understanding of the pertinent body of knowledge and academic debates that exist within, and often external to, your discipline concerning the topic. You need to support your arguments with evidence from scholarly [i.e., academic or peer-reviewed] sources. It should be an objective stance presented as a logical argument; the quality of the evidence you cite will determine the strength of your argument. The objective is to convince the reader of the validity of your thoughts through a well-documented, coherent, and logically structured piece of writing. This is particularly important when proposing solutions to problems or delineating recommended courses of action.

VIII.  Thesis-Driven Academic writing is “thesis-driven,” meaning that the starting point is a particular perspective, idea, or position applied to the chosen topic of investigation, such as, establishing, proving, or disproving solutions to the questions applied to investigating the research problem. Note that a problem statement without the research questions does not qualify as academic writing because simply identifying the research problem does not establish for the reader how you will contribute to solving the problem, what aspects you believe are most critical, or suggest a method for gathering information or data to better understand the problem.

IX.  Complexity and Higher-Order Thinking Academic writing addresses complex issues that require higher-order thinking skills applied to understanding the research problem [e.g., critical, reflective, logical, and creative thinking as opposed to, for example, descriptive or prescriptive thinking]. Higher-order thinking skills include cognitive processes that are used to comprehend, solve problems, and express concepts or that describe abstract ideas that cannot be easily acted out, pointed to, or shown with images. Think of your writing this way: One of the most important attributes of a good teacher is the ability to explain complexity in a way that is understandable and relatable to the topic being presented during class. This is also one of the main functions of academic writing--examining and explaining the significance of complex ideas as clearly as possible.  As a writer, you must adopt the role of a good teacher by summarizing complex information into a well-organized synthesis of ideas, concepts, and recommendations that contribute to a better understanding of the research problem.

Academic Writing. Writing Center. Colorado Technical College; Hartley, James. Academic Writing and Publishing: A Practical Guide . New York: Routledge, 2008; Murray, Rowena  and Sarah Moore. The Handbook of Academic Writing: A Fresh Approach . New York: Open University Press, 2006; Johnson, Roy. Improve Your Writing Skills . Manchester, UK: Clifton Press, 1995; Nygaard, Lynn P. Writing for Scholars: A Practical Guide to Making Sense and Being Heard . Second edition. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications, 2015; Silvia, Paul J. How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing . Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2007; Style, Diction, Tone, and Voice. Writing Center, Wheaton College; Sword, Helen. Stylish Academic Writing . Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012.

Strategies for...

Understanding Academic Writing and Its Jargon

The very definition of research jargon is language specific to a particular community of practitioner-researchers . Therefore, in modern university life, jargon represents the specific language and meaning assigned to words and phrases specific to a discipline or area of study. For example, the idea of being rational may hold the same general meaning in both political science and psychology, but its application to understanding and explaining phenomena within the research domain of a each discipline may have subtle differences based upon how scholars in that discipline apply the concept to the theories and practice of their work.

Given this, it is important that specialist terminology [i.e., jargon] must be used accurately and applied under the appropriate conditions . Subject-specific dictionaries are the best places to confirm the meaning of terms within the context of a specific discipline. These can be found by either searching in the USC Libraries catalog by entering the disciplinary and the word dictionary [e.g., sociology and dictionary] or using a database such as Credo Reference [a curated collection of subject encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, guides from highly regarded publishers] . It is appropriate for you to use specialist language within your field of study, but you should avoid using such language when writing for non-academic or general audiences.

Problems with Opaque Writing

A common criticism of scholars is that they can utilize needlessly complex syntax or overly expansive vocabulary that is impenetrable or not well-defined. When writing, avoid problems associated with opaque writing by keeping in mind the following:

1.   Excessive use of specialized terminology . Yes, it is appropriate for you to use specialist language and a formal style of expression in academic writing, but it does not mean using "big words" just for the sake of doing so. Overuse of complex or obscure words or writing complicated sentence constructions gives readers the impression that your paper is more about style than substance; it leads the reader to question if you really know what you are talking about. Focus on creating clear, concise, and elegant prose that minimizes reliance on specialized terminology.

2.   Inappropriate use of specialized terminology . Because you are dealing with concepts, research, and data within your discipline, you need to use the technical language appropriate to that area of study. However, nothing will undermine the validity of your study quicker than the inappropriate application of a term or concept. Avoid using terms whose meaning you are unsure of--do not just guess or assume! Consult the meaning of terms in specialized, discipline-specific dictionaries by searching the USC Libraries catalog or the Credo Reference database [see above].

Additional Problems to Avoid

In addition to understanding the use of specialized language, there are other aspects of academic writing in the social sciences that you should be aware of. These problems include:

  • Personal nouns . Excessive use of personal nouns [e.g., I, me, you, us] may lead the reader to believe the study was overly subjective. These words can be interpreted as being used only to avoid presenting empirical evidence about the research problem. Limit the use of personal nouns to descriptions of things you actually did [e.g., "I interviewed ten teachers about classroom management techniques..."]. Note that personal nouns are generally found in the discussion section of a paper because this is where you as the author/researcher interpret and describe your work.
  • Directives . Avoid directives that demand the reader to "do this" or "do that." Directives should be framed as evidence-based recommendations or goals leading to specific outcomes. Note that an exception to this can be found in various forms of action research that involve evidence-based advocacy for social justice or transformative change. Within this area of the social sciences, authors may offer directives for action in a declarative tone of urgency.
  • Informal, conversational tone using slang and idioms . Academic writing relies on excellent grammar and precise word structure. Your narrative should not include regional dialects or slang terms because they can be open to interpretation. Your writing should be direct and concise using standard English.
  • Wordiness. Focus on being concise, straightforward, and developing a narrative that does not have confusing language . By doing so, you  help eliminate the possibility of the reader misinterpreting the design and purpose of your study.
  • Vague expressions (e.g., "they," "we," "people," "the company," "that area," etc.). Being concise in your writing also includes avoiding vague references to persons, places, or things. While proofreading your paper, be sure to look for and edit any vague or imprecise statements that lack context or specificity.
  • Numbered lists and bulleted items . The use of bulleted items or lists should be used only if the narrative dictates a need for clarity. For example, it is fine to state, "The four main problems with hedge funds are:" and then list them as 1, 2, 3, 4. However, in academic writing, this must then be followed by detailed explanation and analysis of each item. Given this, the question you should ask yourself while proofreading is: why begin with a list in the first place rather than just starting with systematic analysis of each item arranged in separate paragraphs? Also, be careful using numbers because they can imply a ranked order of priority or importance. If none exists, use bullets and avoid checkmarks or other symbols.
  • Descriptive writing . Describing a research problem is an important means of contextualizing a study. In fact, some description or background information may be needed because you can not assume the reader knows the key aspects of the topic. However, the content of your paper should focus on methodology, the analysis and interpretation of findings, and their implications as they apply to the research problem rather than background information and descriptions of tangential issues.
  • Personal experience. Drawing upon personal experience [e.g., traveling abroad; caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease] can be an effective way of introducing the research problem or engaging your readers in understanding its significance. Use personal experience only as an example, though, because academic writing relies on evidence-based research. To do otherwise is simply story-telling.

NOTE:   Rules concerning excellent grammar and precise word structure do not apply when quoting someone.  A quote should be inserted in the text of your paper exactly as it was stated. If the quote is especially vague or hard to understand, consider paraphrasing it or using a different quote to convey the same meaning. Consider inserting the term "sic" in brackets after the quoted text to indicate that the quotation has been transcribed exactly as found in the original source, but the source had grammar, spelling, or other errors. The adverb sic informs the reader that the errors are not yours.

Academic Writing. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Academic Writing Style. First-Year Seminar Handbook. Mercer University; Bem, Daryl J. Writing the Empirical Journal Article. Cornell University; College Writing. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Murray, Rowena  and Sarah Moore. The Handbook of Academic Writing: A Fresh Approach . New York: Open University Press, 2006; Johnson, Eileen S. “Action Research.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education . Edited by George W. Noblit and Joseph R. Neikirk. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2020); Oppenheimer, Daniel M. "Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly." Applied Cognitive Psychology 20 (2006): 139-156; Ezza, El-Sadig Y. and Touria Drid. T eaching Academic Writing as a Discipline-Specific Skill in Higher Education . Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2020; Pernawan, Ari. Common Flaws in Students' Research Proposals. English Education Department. Yogyakarta State University; Style. College Writing. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Invention: Five Qualities of Good Writing. The Reading/Writing Center. Hunter College; Sword, Helen. Stylish Academic Writing . Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012; What Is an Academic Paper? Institute for Writing Rhetoric. Dartmouth College.

Structure and Writing Style

I. Improving Academic Writing

To improve your academic writing skills, you should focus your efforts on three key areas: 1.   Clear Writing . The act of thinking about precedes the process of writing about. Good writers spend sufficient time distilling information and reviewing major points from the literature they have reviewed before creating their work. Writing detailed outlines can help you clearly organize your thoughts. Effective academic writing begins with solid planning, so manage your time carefully. 2.  Excellent Grammar . Needless to say, English grammar can be difficult and complex; even the best scholars take many years before they have a command of the major points of good grammar. Take the time to learn the major and minor points of good grammar. Spend time practicing writing and seek detailed feedback from professors. Take advantage of the Writing Center on campus if you need help. Proper punctuation and good proofreading skills can significantly improve academic writing [see sub-tab for proofreading you paper ].

Refer to these three basic resources to help your grammar and writing skills:

  • A good writing reference book, such as, Strunk and White’s book, The Elements of Style or the St. Martin's Handbook ;
  • A college-level dictionary, such as, Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary ;
  • The latest edition of Roget's Thesaurus in Dictionary Form .

3.  Consistent Stylistic Approach . Whether your professor expresses a preference to use MLA, APA or the Chicago Manual of Style or not, choose one style manual and stick to it. Each of these style manuals provide rules on how to write out numbers, references, citations, footnotes, and lists. Consistent adherence to a style of writing helps with the narrative flow of your paper and improves its readability. Note that some disciplines require a particular style [e.g., education uses APA] so as you write more papers within your major, your familiarity with it will improve.

II. Evaluating Quality of Writing

A useful approach for evaluating the quality of your academic writing is to consider the following issues from the perspective of the reader. While proofreading your final draft, critically assess the following elements in your writing.

  • It is shaped around one clear research problem, and it explains what that problem is from the outset.
  • Your paper tells the reader why the problem is important and why people should know about it.
  • You have accurately and thoroughly informed the reader what has already been published about this problem or others related to it and noted important gaps in the research.
  • You have provided evidence to support your argument that the reader finds convincing.
  • The paper includes a description of how and why particular evidence was collected and analyzed, and why specific theoretical arguments or concepts were used.
  • The paper is made up of paragraphs, each containing only one controlling idea.
  • You indicate how each section of the paper addresses the research problem.
  • You have considered counter-arguments or counter-examples where they are relevant.
  • Arguments, evidence, and their significance have been presented in the conclusion.
  • Limitations of your research have been explained as evidence of the potential need for further study.
  • The narrative flows in a clear, accurate, and well-organized way.

Boscoloa, Pietro, Barbara Arféb, and Mara Quarisaa. “Improving the Quality of Students' Academic Writing: An Intervention Study.” Studies in Higher Education 32 (August 2007): 419-438; Academic Writing. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Academic Writing Style. First-Year Seminar Handbook. Mercer University; Bem, Daryl J. Writing the Empirical Journal Article. Cornell University; Candlin, Christopher. Academic Writing Step-By-Step: A Research-based Approach . Bristol, CT: Equinox Publishing Ltd., 2016; College Writing. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Style . College Writing. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Invention: Five Qualities of Good Writing. The Reading/Writing Center. Hunter College; Sword, Helen. Stylish Academic Writing . Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012; What Is an Academic Paper? Institute for Writing Rhetoric. Dartmouth College.

Writing Tip

Considering the Passive Voice in Academic Writing

In the English language, we are able to construct sentences in the following way: 1.  "The policies of Congress caused the economic crisis." 2.  "The economic crisis was caused by the policies of Congress."

The decision about which sentence to use is governed by whether you want to focus on “Congress” and what they did, or on “the economic crisis” and what caused it. This choice in focus is achieved with the use of either the active or the passive voice. When you want your readers to focus on the "doer" of an action, you can make the "doer"' the subject of the sentence and use the active form of the verb. When you want readers to focus on the person, place, or thing affected by the action, or the action itself, you can make the effect or the action the subject of the sentence by using the passive form of the verb.

Often in academic writing, scholars don't want to focus on who is doing an action, but on who is receiving or experiencing the consequences of that action. The passive voice is useful in academic writing because it allows writers to highlight the most important participants or events within sentences by placing them at the beginning of the sentence.

Use the passive voice when:

  • You want to focus on the person, place, or thing affected by the action, or the action itself;
  • It is not important who or what did the action;
  • You want to be impersonal or more formal.

Form the passive voice by:

  • Turning the object of the active sentence into the subject of the passive sentence.
  • Changing the verb to a passive form by adding the appropriate form of the verb "to be" and the past participle of the main verb.

NOTE: Consult with your professor about using the passive voice before submitting your research paper. Some strongly discourage its use!

Active and Passive Voice. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Diefenbach, Paul. Future of Digital Media Syllabus. Drexel University; Passive Voice. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina.  

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How to Write Learning Goals

Main navigation, learning goals overview.

Specific, measurable goals help you design your course and assess its success. To clearly articulate them, consider these questions to help you determine what you want your students to know and be able to do at the end of your course.

  • What are the most important concepts (ideas, methods, theories, approaches, perspectives, and other broad themes of your field, etc.) that students should be able to understand, identify, or define at the end of your course?
  • What would constitute a "firm understanding", a "good identification", and so on, and how would you assess this? What lower-level facts or information would students need to have mastered and retained as part of their larger conceptual structuring of the material?
  • What questions should your students be able to answer at the end of the course? 
  • What are the most important skills that students should develop and be able to apply in and after your course (quantitative analysis, problem-solving, close reading, analytical writing, critical thinking, asking questions, knowing how to learn, etc.)?
  • How will you help the students build these skills, and how will you help them test their mastery of these skills?
  • Do you have any affective goals for the course, such as students developing a love for the field?

A note on terminology: The academy uses a number of possible terms for the concept of learning goals, including course goals, course outcomes, learning outcomes, learning objectives, and more, with fine distinctions among them. With respect for that ongoing discussion, given that the new Stanford course evaluations are focused on assessing learning goals, we will use "learning goals" when discussing what you want your students to be able to do or demonstrate at the end of your class.

A CTL consultant  can help you develop your learning goals.

For more information about how learning goals can contribute to your course design, please see  Teacher-centered vs. Student-centered course design .

Learning Goal Examples

Examples from Stanford’s office of Institutional Research & Decision Support and syllabi of Stanford faculty members:

Languages and Literature

Students will be able to:

  • apply critical terms and methodology in completing a literary analysis following the conventions of standard written English
  • locate, apply, and cite effective secondary materials in their own texts
  • analyze and interpret texts within the contexts they are written

Foreign language students will be able to:

  • demonstrate oral competence with suitable accuracy in pronunciation, vocabulary, and language fluency
  • produce written work that is substantive, organized, and grammatically accurate
  • accurately read and translate texts in their language of study

Humanities and Fine Arts

  • demonstrate fluency with procedures of two-dimensional and three-dimensional art practice
  • demonstrate in-depth knowledge of artistic periods used to interpret works of art including the historical, social, and philosophical contexts
  • critique and analyze works of art and visual objects
  • identify musical elements, take them down at dictation, and perform them at sight
  • communicate both orally and in writing about music of all genres and styles in a clear and articulate manner
  • perform a variety of memorized songs from a standard of at least two foreign languages
  • apply performance theory in the analysis and evaluation of performances and texts

Physical and Biological Sciences

  • apply critical thinking and analytical skills to interpreting scientific data sets
  • demonstrate written, visual, and/or oral presentation skills to communicate scientific knowledge
  • acquire and synthesize scientific information from a variety of sources
  • apply techniques and instrumentation to solve problems

Mathematics

  • translate problems for treatment within a symbolic system
  • articulate the rules that govern a symbolic system
  • apply algorithmic techniques to solve problems and obtain valid solutions
  • judge the reasonableness of obtained solutions

Social Sciences

  • write clearly and persuasively to communicate their scientific ideas clearly
  • test hypotheses and draw correct inferences using quantitative analysis
  • evaluate theory and critique research within the discipline

Engineering

  • explain and demonstrate the role that analysis and modeling play in engineering design and engineering applications more generally
  • communicate about systems using mathematical, verbal and visual means
  • formulate mathematical models for physical systems by applying relevant conservation laws and assumptions
  • choose appropriate probabilistic models for a given problem, using information from observed data and knowledge of the physical system being studied
  • choose appropriate methods to solve mathematical models and obtain valid solutions

For more information about learning goals, meet with a  CTL consultant .

See more STEM learning goal examples  from the  Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative .

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Check the dates for end-term feedback for the academic year.

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Academic Writing Success

How to Create Super SMART Writing Goals: 3 Easy Steps

by Suzanne Davis | Jan 14, 2021 | Writing Workshop

academic writing goals

How do you become an excellent writer?

You become an excellent writer the same way you become a top-athlete. Start with a vision of becoming the person (writer, student, gold medal figure skater, etc) you want to be.  Believe in yourself, set SMART writing goals that will help you reach your vision. Persist with the actions that will make you achieve your goals and make your dreams happen.

Setting writing goals is crucial to your success.  They inspire you to do the writing you must do to be a successful writer or high-achieving student.  They motivate you to write more and learn more about the craft of writing. However, to succeed at writing, you need the right types of goals: goals for completing writing projects and goals for advancing your talent.

How do you create those writing goals?  You write s pecific, measurable, achievable +, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals in 2 areas: writing projects and writing talents.  When you set goals in both areas (and act upon them) you’ll transform your writing. 

How to Create Super SMART Writing Goals

Step 1: start with a vision.

Imagine who you will be in 5 years.  What do you dream of being? Do you want to be a professor, teacher, best-selling author, journalist, entrepreneur, blogger, or any other professional?  Where do you want to live?  Who do you want in your life? Next, imagine where you want to be, who you want to be, and what you want to be doing a year from now.

Write your  5-year vision and place it somewhere you will see it.  Then add your vision for where you will be a year from now.  Read these every day.   Don’t skip writing your vision/or dream because it is how you will determine the goals you must achieve to make it a reality. 

Next, create 2 types of writing goals: 1) Writing Project Goals and 2) Advancing Your Talent Goals 

Step 2:  Create SMART Writing Project Goals for the Year

Writing Project Goals focus on something you need to complete so that you can reach your vision.  When coming up with these goals focus on your 1-year vision.

Take that vision and select writing projects that will help you realize it.  A project could be something you write such as a book, thesis, blog, or collection of poems.  It can also be a deadline for something you need to do such as take an exam like the SAT, GRE, TOEFL, IELTS, etc.

Your writing goals should be SMART? No, I don’t mean “A +” smart. SMART is an acronym for the 5 characteristics all good goals should have: they should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant , and Time-bound.

S = Specific –Effective goals have a narrow focus. They are specific and describe what you want to achieve.  They are not vague or general.  For example, “I will write a non-fiction book ” as opposed to “ I will write more “

M=Measurable —This aspect of a SMART goal provides a way to assess/evaluate how much of your goal you achieved. Usually, you will have a goal with a specific number of something. “I will write a non-fiction book.” Here you will see that I need to write one non-fiction book. I can tell if I’ve met my goal, exceeded it, or missed it.

A=Achievable/ Achievable + —A goal is achievable if you can see yourself reaching it in a certain amount of time. However, I recommend writing goals above what you think you can achieve (Achievable + ).   Bigger goals motivate you more and make you work harder.  Take what seems within your reach and double it.  Instead of “I will write a 5-page essay by the end of the month,”  say, “I will write two 5-page essays by the end of the month.”

R=Relevant — A goal needs to be related to the overall purpose of what you want to achieve for your life. Go back to the self-vision you wrote.  What goals will help you make your vision for the future a reality?  If your vision is to become a straight-A student, and you know you need to be a better writer, the goal, “I will write two 5-7 page papers by the end of the month” will help you reach your vision. If your vision is to be a best-selling non-fiction author, the goal: I will write and publish a book, will make that dream happen.

T=Time-bound —This aspect of a goal is where you include a deadline.  It’s nice to have a goal of writing a book—but when will you reach it? In three months, six months, or by the end of the year? To make a goal time-bound, write a deadline (Month, Day, and Year).   For example,   “I will write and publish a non-fiction book by September 31st, 2021.”

Here are 2 examples of SMART  Writing Project Goals

Goal #1 I will write a scholarship essay for The Delete Cyberbullying Scholarship Award by June 1st, 2021. As you can see this is a SMART Goal because it’s specific (name of the scholarship essay), measurable (write one essay) achievable (actually this is achievable + because you are writing it several days before the scholarship deadline), relevant ( if you want to afford college) and time-bound ( the deadline is June 1st).

Goal #2 I will write one 20-page research paper that earns an A for my history class by April 30th, 2021. Again, this goal is specific (what the paper is for and the name of the class), measurable (it’s a 20-page research paper), achievable + (the paper will earn an A grade), relevant (if you want to be a high-achieving student) and time-bound (the deadline is April 3Oth). 

Write your SMART writing project goals for the year on a piece of paper, in a planner, on a computer, or any other place that is visible. Make sure you can read your goals regularly. 

Step 3:  Create Advancing Talent Goals for the Year

An Advancing Talent Goal is where you focus on an area of writing you feel needs improvement.  For example, I have a draft of a mystery novel I wrote, but my action scenes are boring.  So, the skill or area I want to advance is writing action scenes.  Assess your talents or skills. Brainstorm what you think you need to advance in your writing to achieve your writing vision. 

How do you find writing skills you want to improve? Look at the types of comments and feedback you receive from others.  Review your own work.  Are there parts of writing you get stuck on?  These are all things you can select to advance your talents goals. Another way to find a weakness is to analyze the mistakes Grammarly or other grammar checker finds. The most common things Grammarly spots in my writing are “comma” mistakes and hard to read wordy sentences.  In my blog post,  https://www.academicwritingsuccess.com/the-5-worst-academic-essays-writing-mistakes-to-avoid-in-academic-essays/   I identify some of the common mistakes in academic writing.  Check it out for more ideas about the aspects of writing you need to improve. 

List 4 things you want to improve and choose 1 you want to focus on for the next 90 days.  Again, write this as a SMART Goal.  Here’s an example: If the skill you want to improve is paraphrasing research, your goal could be: I will study and practice paraphrasing so that I can use it correctly in my history research paper due April 15th, 2021.  This advancing talent skill is SMART because it is specific (the skill of paraphrasing) measurable, (use it correctly in a research paper) , achievable + ( it’s a challenging skill for many students), relevant (it’s an important skill for academic writing), and   time-bound (the deadline is April 15th, 2021). 

The key to advancing any writing area is not only practicing that skill but having someone else read your writing and assess it.   I recommend someone knowledgeable, a teacher, tutor, peer writer, or professor. These people can coach you to write better. 

Writing Goals and Persistent Action

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” Pablo Picasso 

Writing goals are a crucial part of what it takes to become an excellent writer in any field.  You need to know what you’re striving for and what you want to accomplish.  However, success in writing requires more than finishing a book, thesis, dissertation, etc.—it requires practice and dedication to the craft. 

Creating Writing Project Goals and Advancing Writing Talent Goals is half of the equation. If you want to realize and live your vision, you must take action and focus on SMART writing goals consistently.

Want help reaching your writing goals?

Sign-up now for a free online consultation and reach your writing goals!

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Academic Goals

Academic Goals

Whether you’re a high schooler striving for acceptance into your dream college or a busy mom going back to school, it’s important for students to set academic goals for themselves.

Your academic achievements can lead to success in your career, fulfillment in yourself, and great exercise for your brain. Whatever your goals are, you shouldn’t aim to please anyone but yourself. Set your goals and work hard for them.

What Are You Working Towards?

Your academic goals should reflect the desires you have for your life. If you want to be a doctor, you must set your academic goals accordingly.

The best way to set your goals is first to determine where you want to end up. Start by asking yourself what your passions are in life, and what kind of academics would let you enjoy those passions. Different paths of life require various levels of education.

While the first thing that often comes to mind when you think academics is college, college may not lead you to where you want to be. For instance, if your passion is hair styling or cosmetology, you should set your academic sights on cosmetology school rather than a traditional college.

On the flip side, someone who wants to be a lawyer has to put a big focus on college as well as graduate programs. They may very likely also want to consider things like internships for additional experience.

As you can see, it’s vital that you have a clear endgame in order to set the best goals for yourself. Even if your goal is as simple as learning more about business, finance, or a certain topic, clarifying this within yourself will help you set, and keep your goal.

Setting Up for Success

Once you’ve decided what you are looking to get from your academic experience, there are a few things you should focus on before settings your goals. To set goals like an expert , focus on positivity, realism, and objectives.

Be Positive

There are many benefits to thinking positively . In fact, you can achieve things like an increased life span, lower depression risk, and even a better immune system all by practicing positive thinking. Those who think positively also see fewer stress impacts in their life along with better cardiovascular health.

So, what can a positive attitude do for your academic goals?

As a matter of fact, positive thinking can actually lead to better academic success. Studies show that your outlook on life matters just as much as your IQ and work ethic. A particular study on young children showed that kids excelled in the subjects they were good at. However, they were also good at the subjects that they enjoyed, thus associating a positive mentality towards academic achievement.

This kind of attitude and its impact, of course, follows us through our academic career, whether that entails a GED or a doctoral degree.

Although science and studies back this theory up, many people believed in a positive attitude long before there was any documented proof. Positive thoughts help keep you on the right track and keep negative feelings that may slow you down at bay.

A quick tip to staying positive through your academic goals is to keep them positive. For example:

  • Incorrect: I won’t be late for class anymore
  • Correct: I will make it on time for all my classes
  • Incorrect: I won’t fail my philosophy class
  • Correct: I will get an A in my philosophy class

It seems like such a small change, but the positive words replacing the negative words really make a huge impact on the way our minds take in our everyday tasks and academic goals.

Negative Thinking

According to experts, some clear signs of negative thinking can greatly impact not only your academic goals but your overall health and well-being. The four most common forms of negative self-talk include:

Personalizing

Catastrophizing.

Filtering happens when you look at a situation and magnify the bad rather than the good. A negative mindset has you filtering out all of the good aspects within a situation so that you can only see the negative. A good tactic to eliminating this issue is to put a great focus on the positives.

Look at a situation through a positive filter, focusing on the good things instead of the bad things. For example, your professor canceled class on the night of a big presentation you’ve been working hard on and were looking forward to getting over with.

The positives could be that you now have more time to practice and perfect. Even if you feel you’re prepared enough, take the extra time to catch up on other work or relax before the stressful presentation.

The act of immediately blaming yourself for everything bad that happens is referred to as personalizing. Someone with a negative mindset is likely to think that everything is their fault. You may have a big paper due, and the school’s library computer network crashes.

Obviously, this situation isn’t your fault, but a negative thinker would put the pressure on themselves. They should have started the paper earlier; they should have invested in their own laptop, etc.

Someone who practices catastrophizing thinks the absolute worst is bound to happen. Your alarm didn’t go off, and you arrived to class 5 minutes late, so you automatically think your professor hates you and is going to fail you.

When you polarize, it means that you can only view a situation as completely good or completely bad. With this type of negative mindset, there is no middle ground, no in-between. If something isn’t absolutely perfect, it’s considered a failure and therefore a completely negative situation.

Be Realistic

It’s important that the goals we set for ourselves academically are realistic. Setting unreachable goals is setting yourself up for failure, and nothing crushes us quite like failing to reach our goals.

But how can we make sure our goals both align with the outcome we want and maintain a realistic level of achievement? Experts recommend following Professor Robert S. Rubin of Saint Louis University’s SMART goals:

Let’s dive into each of these attributes that all of your realistic goals should fall under.

Broad-based goals don’t help anyone achieve much. Sure, you could make yourself a goal of getting up earlier, but what does that mean, exactly? The goal is so unspecific that you can bend and flex it to fit your needs, rather than using the goal to better yourself.

And so, if you typically get up at 9 am every morning and decide you want to get up earlier, you could technically justify to yourself that 8:45 am is earlier. However, if you set the specific goal of getting up at 7:30 am every morning, not only will you achieve greater discipline, but you’ll probably get a lot more done in your day.

When setting specific goals, remember to define the who, what, where, why, and how of the goal. These specifics will help you attain your goal with more efficiency. Take the waking up earlier example:

  • Incorrect: I want to wake up earlier.
  • Correct: I want to set the alarm to wake up at 7:30 am every morning, so I can get extra work done, freeing up more time for sleep and extracurricular activities as well as improving my grades.

If you wish to track your progress—and most people do—your goals should be measurable. Rather than throwing a blanket statement out there of wanting to raise your grades, you should set a measurable goal.

Ask yourself how much, how many, and how you’ll know when it’s accomplished. Otherwise, your goal is some outlandish dream floating around that doesn’t really have an endpoint. If you want to improve your grades, set a letter goal. Perhaps you’re currently at a C in a certain class, and you want to be at a B. That’s a measurable goal.

Part of being realistic is making sure it’s actually possible to achieve your goal. Before you set a goal for yourself, ask yourself two questions:

  • How can I accomplish this goal?
  • What constraints would make this goal unachievable? (i.e., finances, time)

Perhaps you like to make weekly goals for your academics. You take a look at your workload for the week to find that you have several papers due and a few exams to study for by Friday. To say that you’ll finish it all by Monday night, thus freeing up your week, is probably not very achievable.

Instead, set realistic goals that let you achieve everything on time and with quality work. Make yourself a schedule, prioritizing in a way that lets you achieve your goals.

Your goals should matter to you and your life. Don’t set goals just for the sake of accomplishing something; do it for the betterment of your academic career. Ask yourself if the goal you’re thinking about is worthwhile. Is now the right time to do this? Will it benefit my loved ones and me? Is it going to hurt me more than help me?

Maybe you’re a full-time mom, but you really want to go back to school to get your master’s degree. Ask yourself if now is the right time. Can your family afford to miss you for several hours a week? Will it be a reasonable workload? Can your family take on the educational costs? Is your master’s important to you, or to someone pressuring you?

A timeline is what will help you actually achieve your goals. Goals without a deadline kind of just float there with no real beginning or end. Plan out a specific timeline for your goals, defining where you want to be at certain points.

Depending on your goals, you can lay out what you can get done today, what you want to have done in a few weeks, and where you want to be in a few months. You can also determine your end date. Time is especially important for short-term goals, like planning out your senior capstone presentation. You have a presentation date, so plan mini goals from now until that day.

SMART-ER Goals

It’s useful to note that some experts and authors have adopted the updated version of the SMART goal technique but adding on the “ER.” The “E” stands for evaluated, while the “R” stands for reviewed. Simply put, once you’ve nailed down your SMART goals, evaluate and review them to double-check that they’re realistic.

Set Objectives

Objective should be seen as steps and tools you can use and take to reach your goals. Setting objectives makes your overall goal seem less daunting and more achievable. Rather than focusing on the overall goal, you can set your sights on smaller, less intimidating feats.

For example, let’s say your ultimate goal is to lose 20 pounds. That in itself and alone can be a hefty task that seems miles away. However, setting objectives along the way will help you attain your goal. Try objectives like these:

  • Go to the gym three times per week
  • Cut sugar from my diet
  • Drink more water

Any of these things alone will not magically make you drop 20 pounds, but each of them achieved together gets your closer to your end goal.

The same goes for academics. It’s one thing to say that you want to get an A in a class—everyone wants to get A’s. Setting smaller objectives will help you get there. Take it one assignment at a time and set objectives for projects. It will be much easier to focus on getting A’s on your exams than on the whole semester, and every A assignment gets your closer to that final A.

Tips for Accomplishing Your Academic Goals

Once you have set up realistic and positive goals to attain in your academic career, you need to stick to them in order to actually accomplish them. Staying with your goals for the long haul can sometimes be a little difficult, especially when other easier situation come up. Use these tips to stay focused on the bigger picture.

Write Them Down

We’ve all heard that writing things down helps us remember them better. Writing is used all throughout academics—we take notes, we write things on notecards while we study, teachers write things on the board.

The key here is the emphasis on the word “write.” By write, we don’t mean type or take a picture of it. We’re talking good old fashion pen to paper kind of writing.

According to psychological studies , writing things down with pen and paper can help us remember things better. Various experiments showed that those who took notes longhand rather than on a laptop did better on exams and overall had a higher quality of learning.

Therefore, when setting goals, we follow the same logic. Writing down your goals locks it into place, making it more concrete and therefore of more importance in your mind. Picture yourself setting a goal in your mind without writing it anywhere. It becomes lofty, a mere possibility. When you write it down, it seems more real, something to attain rather than something to maybe consider doing someday.

So, whether you write it on a sticky note and keep it on your desk or detail it in a journal, you should write your goals down somewhere.

Get a Journal

Some people might refer to this as a dream journal or an aspiration diary; either way, keeping a more detailed record of your goals can help you stay on top of them.

When you use a journal for academic goals, it lets you not only write down your initial goal but keep track of smaller objectives and progress. If you’re really into writing, you can even keep a personal journal throughout your academic goals.

Write down how you’re doing, how you can improve, and how you’re feeling about your goals. Add details to the goals and pen why you want to achieve your academic pursuits.

Look at your goal journal like you would your academic assignments. When you read a book for a class, you take notes as you read it, so you remember key aspects and can keep track of where you are. Your goal journal should follow that same context.

Not only will you be able to track and look back at previous entries, but your journal will align with the methods you already use in your academics, fitting right into your routines.

Find Accountability

Many students find it helpful to have an accountability partner or system of some sort. It’s easier to do something when another person is pushing you to do so. Accountability partners keep you on track, checking in regularly to make sure you’re at the right stage in your goal process.

Often, accountability partners will have the same goals, but they don’t have to. While you’re trying to achieve your goal, your partner may be working on something totally different. However, you both remain accountable with and for each other.

This is a great way to ensure that you don’t fall off schedule, and it’s also a nice way to connect with a friend and increase levels of trust and responsibility.

If you have a hard time finding an accountability partner, there are other ways of staying accountable. For example, if you have an academic goal that requires you to do something every day, you can set an alarm or a reminder on your phone. When the alarm goes off, you do what you have to do.

You can also use a planner or a calendar to keep you accountable. At the beginning of every month, go through the days and write down what you need to do each day. Then, when you look at your planner each day, your objectives and goals are already written as a reminder.

Sticky notes are also great tools to use during stages of academic goal-setting. Place sticky note reminders in places you spend a lot of time, like on your refrigerator or on your desk. Use bright colors that will capture your attention. When you’ve completed the task, rip the note up and throw it out—you won’t believe how satisfying that feeling is!

Stay Flexible

As much as you want to achieve your academic goals, it’s important to note that we live in an ever-changing world with lots of surprises. Life is unpredictable, so it may be of great help to you if you have a flexible mindset.

Don’t be flexible in a way that allows you to be too lax with your goals, but remain open enough where you can adjust your goals if need be.

For example, if your goal was to get a 4.0 in a semester and you fail a pop quiz, it will no longer be possible to attain that 4.0. Don’t panic—just adjust. Just because you can’t attain your original goal doesn’t mean you should abolish it altogether. Re-evaluate your options and set a new goal. A 3.8 GPA is still impressive and completely doable.

Flexibility in your goals will also help you remain positive because it allows you to achieve success even if you don’t hit your initial goal. So, relax a little bit and remember that life is not perfect, and neither are you—and that’s okay!

Why Are Academic Goals Important?

At certain stages in our academic careers, we have all questioned the importance of what we’re doing, what we’re learning, and why everyone is so focused on what we’ll achieve. Many high schoolers in particular hit stages where they find it hard to believe that their grades now will determine their entire futures.

While it may be a bit of a stretch to claim that one F on a test will decide whether you’re a busboy for life or a successful businessman, it is still true that academic success is likely to lead to overall life and career success.

When students of any age set goals, they can achieve the following :

  • Improved academic performance
  • Increased motivation
  • Increased pride and satisfaction in performance
  • Improved self-confidence

The first of these is fairly typical: setting academic goals can help students improve their academic performance. However, the following three have further implications for the rest of your life.

Students who set goals are more motivated than those who don’t, which make sense. If you don’t have an endgame in mind, it seems like you’re working for nothing, and that doesn’t seem worthwhile at all. Setting goals are important, especially at a young age, so that students can achieve the motivation they need to go further in life.

At the same time, setting goals can have a big impact on self-confidence, pride, and satisfaction. When you set realistic goals and achieve them, you have a great sense of self-fulfillment and worth. You set your mind on something, and you did it. Having confidence in your abilities is such a strong feature to have. Setting academic goals can be a huge confidence builder.

Think about it: everyone starts their life off in academics. That’s where the first goals come into play. Young children have goals set by their parents, like when their child learns to read or count or spell. But eventually, there’s a transition where children start to set their own goals.

Practicing this habit sets us up for bigger goals—life-long and career goals. Academic goals are just the building blocks for every goal we’ll set for the rest of our lives, whether they be in education, family, or health.

Reward Yourself

You’ve done it: you have set your goals, you detailed your objectives, you tracked your progress, and you finally did it. You achieved your academic goals.

Whether this goal was short-term, like an A in a difficult honors class, or long-term, like walking across that graduation stage and moving that tassel, an achievement is an achievement. You put good, honest, hard work into your goals, and now it’s time to celebrate.

Don’t write off any academic goal as no big deal. No matter the size, your goals were always and should be important to you. It’s important to recognize hard work, so even if your goal was personal and unknown to others, you should reward yourself.

Just as a diploma often earns you a graduation party, achieving that A deserves a celebration. Do something for yourself: get a manicure, treat yourself to dessert at your favorite restaurant, or buy that video game you’ve been waiting for to avoid distraction.

By putting in the work and reaching that benchmark, you earned something nice. Treat yourself, and then set your next goal!

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What Are Academic Goals and How to Achieve Them?

Academic Planner 101

Educational goals act as a guide for students through the intricate landscape of the academic world. Whether you're a high school student taking your first steps, a college student navigating the complexities of higher education, or a graduate student delving into advanced studies, educational goals serve as guides that light your path toward success. This comprehensive article delves into the concept of Educational goals , their significance, and offers a practical roadmap to not only set these goals but also to accomplish them with purpose.

What Are Academic Goals?

Educational goals encompass specific objectives that students set for themselves within an academic context. These educational goals vary in scope and can range from immediate aims such as achieving a high grade on a test, to more long-term aspirations like earning a degree with honors. Educational goals and academic goals give direction to your learning journey, providing a sense of purpose and motivation.

For college students, educational goals might revolve around excelling in a particular subject, actively participating in extracurricular activities, pursuing research opportunities, or maintaining a certain GPA. Meanwhile, high school students often set goals such as getting into a preferred college, securing scholarships, or performing well on standardized tests. These goals give shape to your academic journey, turning it into a meaningful and focused experience.

The Importance of Setting Academic Goals

Setting educational goals is similar to plotting a course on a map – it gives you direction and a sense of purpose. Without clear goals, education can become a series of disconnected events rather than a coherent journey. Educational goals provide a framework to allocate your time, energy, and resources effectively. They offer tangible milestones that serve as markers of progress and sources of motivation.

Moreover, educational goals foster essential skills like self-discipline and time management. When you're driven by clear objectives, you're more likely to organize your schedule efficiently, prioritize tasks, and resist the temptation of procrastination. These skills are invaluable not only in academic success but also in various aspects of your personal and professional life.

Short-Term vs Long-Term Academic Goals

Educational goals are typically categorized into two main types: short-term and long-term goals. Short-term goals are those that can be achieved relatively quickly, usually within a matter of days, weeks, or a single semester. Examples of short-term goals include acing a specific assignment, improving a particular skill, or excelling in a test.

On the other hand, long-term goals extend over a more extended period, often spanning multiple semesters or even years. These encompass more significant achievements, such as graduating, obtaining a degree, or securing a specific job. Short-term goals contribute to the accomplishment of long-term goals. For instance, consistent high performance on assignments and quizzes can lead to maintaining a strong GPA, which is crucial for students to achieve the long-term goal of graduating with honors.

How to Set Academic Goals

academic writing goals

The S.M.A.R.T Approach

Setting academic goals is a strategic process, and the S.M.A.R.T approach is a valuable framework to follow:

1. Specific

Clearly define your goal. Instead of a vague objective like "improve math skills," aim for something precise like "master calculus concepts to solve complex equations."

2. Measurable

Make your goal quantifiable. Establish ways to measure your progress, such as achieving a certain percentage on exams or completing a specific number of assignments.

3. Achievable

Set goals that are realistic and attainable. While it's great to aim high, setting unrealistic goals can lead to frustration and demotivation.

4. Relevant

Ensure your goals align with your academic and career aspirations. Your academic goals should contribute meaningfully to your overall growth.

5. Time-bound

Attach a timeframe to your goal. Having a deadline creates a sense of urgency and helps you stay on track. For example, "improve math skills by 20% within the next three months."

Setting Realistic and Achievable Goals

While ambitious goals are commendable, they should be rooted in reality. Consider your current commitments, strengths, and limitations when setting goals. Unrealistic goals can lead to burnout, while goals that are too easy may not provide the challenge needed for growth. Striking the right balance ensures you remain motivated and engaged.

Writing Goals in Your Academic Planner

academic writing goals

Using an academic planner can transform your educational goals into concrete actions. Here's how to harness the power of planning, with a spotlight on how the academic planner can elevate your goal-setting game.

Break Down Your Goals

An academic planner turns lofty goals into manageable steps. For instance, if your aim is to excel in math, you can schedule regular practice sessions, review time, and seek help if needed. Breaking down goals makes them less overwhelming and more achievable.

Set Timely Reminders

Planners come with calendars and reminder features. With a major research paper on the horizon, you can schedule research, drafting, and revising sessions well in advance. This keeps you organized and prevents last-minute scrambles, leading to better work quality.

Utilize Customizable Features

Erin Condren offers academic planners that you can personalize to match your needs. You can choose layouts that align with your planning style and create dedicated sections for each goal. This customization enhances the visualization of your progress.

Reflect and Adapt

Your academic planner isn't just a forward-looking tool – it's for reflection too. Regularly reviewing your planner helps you track your progress. Are there areas where you're consistently falling short? It might be time to tweak your strategy or seek extra support.

Using Planners for Academic Success

Academic planners are more than scheduling tools – they're allies in your academic triumphs. Here's how to make the most of them:

Design Selection

Choose a design that resonates. Visual appeal enhances engagement.

Dedicate sections for academic goals. Writing them down boosts commitment.

Break Down Goals

Customize layouts to plan actionable steps. Assign time slots for tasks.

Color Coding

Use color codes for subjects or goals, giving a quick view of your priorities.

Weekly Planning

Review goals at the week's start. Allocate tasks to stay aligned and avoid cramming.

At week's end, celebrate wins and adjust strategies. Stay motivated with quotes and stickers.

Academic planners are powerhouses for academic success! They turn dreams into actions. The academic planner is tailored to boost goal-reaching, academic performance, and success. By blending effective goal-setting with planner features, you navigate educational goals confidently and purposefully.

Examples of Academic Goals

To illustrate the range of academic goals you might set, here are a few examples:

1. Short-Term Goal for Academic Writing Skills

Enhance essay writing skills by practicing writing exercises for 30 minutes daily.

2. Long-Term Goal for Academic Career

Graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology with a cumulative GPA of 3.7 or higher.

3. Short-Term Goal for Assignments

Successfully complete all math assignments and problem sets for the current semester.

4. Long-Term Goal for Research

Present research findings at a national conference within the next two years.

5. Short-Term Goal for Exam Prep

Prepare thoroughly for upcoming chemistry exams by dedicating two hours of focused study each day for the next three weeks.

6. Long-Term Goal for Career Prep

Secure an internship in a reputable marketing firm before completing the undergraduate program.

Tips for Achieving Academic Goals

1. break it down.

Divide larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks. This approach prevents overwhelm and helps you track your progress more effectively.

2. Consistency Counts

Regular effort pays off. Even if progress seems slow, consistency builds momentum over time.

3. Seek Support

Don't hesitate to seek guidance from professors, classmates, or academic advisors when you face challenges.

4. Stay Flexible

Life is unpredictable. Be adaptable and open to adjusting your goals as circumstances change.

5. Celebrate Milestones

Recognize and celebrate each achievement along the way. This positive reinforcement fuels motivation and reinforces good habits.

Checking-In and Evaluating Success

Periodically evaluate your progress and adjust your strategies as needed. Regular check-ins allow you to celebrate accomplishments and stay aligned with your goals. If you've achieved a goal, take a moment to reflect on how it contributes to your broader educational journey.

Academic goals are the compass that keeps you on track in your educational expedition. They offer purpose, direction, and motivation, turning your learning experience into a purposeful journey. By setting clear, actionable goals using techniques like the S.M.A.R.T approach, and persistently working toward them, you equip yourself for success. Remember, academic goals aren't just about the finish line; they encompass the growth, resilience, and skills developed along the way. So, set your goals, stay determined, and embrace the transformative power of your education journey.

academic writing goals

The right tools and strategies can turn your dreams of academic success into reality, and a high-quality academic planner can help you organize your goals, set deadlines, and track your progress effectively. It serves as a constant reminder of your objectives and keeps you on the path to success. If you're in search of an academic planner that is not only functional but also customizable and personalizable, we encourage you to explore the wide range of options available. Personalized planners allow you to tailor your goal-setting experience, making it even more engaging and motivating. So, take the next step in your academic journey and invest in a high-quality academic planner that suits your style and preferences, and start setting and achieving those goals today!

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Pathways to Advancement

Academic Goals: What Are They and How To Achieve Them

What are academic goals.

Academic Goals, also referred to as educational goals, are specific objectives or targets that a student sets for their academic performance and progress. These goals may vary depending on your personal interests, academic level, and career aspirations. Some common examples of academic goals include:

  • Achieving a specific grade point average (GPA) or academic standing
  • Completing a particular course or program with excellence
  • Developing specific crucial skills, such as writing, research, or critical thinking
  • Pursuing higher education, such as a college degree or professional certification
  • Obtaining academic scholarships or awards
  • Conducting original research or contributing to academic publications
  • Building a professional network of mentors, peers, and colleagues in their field.

Educational goals help students stay focused and motivated in their studies and provide a roadmap for achieving success in their academic and professional careers.

Importance of Setting Academic Goals

Setting educational goals is an essential step toward achieving academic success. By setting clear and achievable goals, students can stay focused and motivated, and have a sense of direction throughout their academic journey. Academic goals help students to prioritize their time and efforts and allocate resources effectively, making it easier to achieve their desired outcomes. Moreover, setting these goals helps students to build self-confidence and self-efficacy, as they take ownership of their learning and progress toward their aspirations. Whether short-term or long-term, setting goals for your education is a powerful tool for academic achievement and personal growth .

Types of Academic Goals

There are different types of academic goals that students can set for themselves. Short-term goals are focused on immediate or near-term objectives, such as earning a particular grade in a course or completing a specific project. Medium-term goals are those that are typically set for a semester or academic year, such as improving overall GPA or completing a certain number of credit hours. Long-term goals are those that are often associated with career aspirations, such as pursuing a specific field of study or earning a particular degree.

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Role of Academic Goals in Career Development 

The role of academic goals in career development and advancement is significant and multifaceted. Academic goals serve as a roadmap for individuals to acquire the knowledge, skills, and qualifications necessary to pursue their desired career paths. Here’s a detailed exploration of their role:

Clarity of Direction

Academic goals help individuals clarify their career aspirations by identifying the educational milestones necessary to enter their desired fields. Whether it’s obtaining a specific degree, certification, or specialized training, setting academic goals provides clarity and direction.

Skill Development

Academic pursuits provide opportunities for individuals to develop critical skills relevant to their chosen careers. Whether it’s technical expertise, problem-solving abilities, communication skills, or leadership qualities, achieving academic goals equips individuals with the competencies needed to excel in their professional endeavors.

Credentialing and Qualifications

Many careers require specific educational qualifications or certifications for entry and advancement. Academic goals serve as stepping stones towards obtaining these credentials, enhancing individuals’ credibility and competitiveness in the job market.

Professional Networking

Pursuing academic goals often involves interacting with peers, professors, and professionals in the field. These interactions facilitate networking opportunities, which can be instrumental in career development. Building relationships with mentors, industry professionals, and fellow students can lead to valuable insights, referrals, and career opportunities.

Career Advancement Opportunities

Academic achievements can open doors to advancement within one’s chosen career. Whether it’s earning advanced degrees, specialized certifications, or additional qualifications, meeting academic goals demonstrates commitment, ambition, and a willingness to invest in one’s professional growth, making individuals more attractive candidates for promotions and leadership roles.

Adaptability and Lifelong Learning

Setting and pursuing academic goals foster a mindset of adaptability and lifelong learning, essential qualities for success in today’s dynamic job market. As industries evolve and new technologies emerge, individuals with a commitment to ongoing education are better equipped to adapt to change, stay relevant, and seize new opportunities for career advancement.

Academic goals play a crucial role in shaping individuals’ career trajectories by providing direction, skill development, credentialing, networking opportunities, and pathways to advancement. By setting and pursuing academic goals, individuals can enhance their employability, expand their professional opportunities, and achieve greater fulfillment in their chosen careers.

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How to Set Achievable Educational Goals

To set achievable educational goals, it is important to follow a few key steps. First, students should start by assessing their strengths, weaknesses, and interests, as this will help them to identify areas where they need to improve and where they are already strong. Next, they should identify their priorities and values, as this will help them to set goals that align with their overall career goals and aspirations. Once they have identified their strengths, weaknesses, interests, priorities, and values, students can then start to set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals, also known as SMART goals . Finally, students should regularly review their progress toward their academic goals and make adjustments as needed to ensure that they stay on track.

Strategies for Achieving Your Educational Goals

Academic success is a top priority for students, and setting clear and achievable goals is an essential step toward achieving it. Whether you’re aiming for high grades, academic recognition, or pursuing further education, developing effective strategies can help you stay focused and motivated throughout your academic journey. The following strategies can help you achieve your academic goals and excel in your studies. From effective time management to building strong study habits, we will provide you with practical tips and tools to help you succeed academically.

Time Management Techniques

Effective time management is critical for academic success. Students can use various time management techniques, such as creating a daily or weekly schedule, prioritizing tasks, breaking down larger assignments into smaller, manageable tasks, and setting deadlines. Time management techniques can help students to use their time more efficiently, reduce stress, and achieve their academic goals.

Study Strategies

Effective study strategies are essential for academic success. Students can use various study strategies, such as active reading, note-taking, summarizing, memorization techniques, and practice tests. By using effective study strategies, students can deepen their understanding of the material, retain information better, and perform better on exams.

Staying Motivated

Staying motivated is crucial for academic success. Students can use various techniques to stay motivated, such as setting clear and achievable goals, finding a sense of purpose in their studies, celebrating small achievements, and rewarding themselves for reaching milestones. Additionally, having a positive mindset, practicing self-care, and surrounding themselves with supportive peers and mentors can help students to stay motivated throughout their academic journey.

Getting Support From Mentors and Peers

Getting support from mentors and peers can help students to stay on track toward their academic goals. Mentors can offer guidance, share their experiences and expertise, and provide valuable feedback. Peers can provide a sense of community, offer support and encouragement, and help students to stay accountable. By building a strong support network, students can overcome challenges and achieve their educational goals.

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How Do You Align Career Goals with Academic Goals?

Aligning career goals with academic goals involves creating a strategic plan to ensure that the educational pursuits undertaken are directly relevant to one’s desired career path. Here are steps to achieve alignment:

Clarify Career Objectives

Begin by clearly defining your career goals. Identify your desired industry, job role, and long-term aspirations within your chosen field. Understanding where you want to go professionally will guide the selection of academic pursuits that align with those objectives.

Research Academic Requirements

Research the educational requirements and qualifications typically sought after in your desired career. This may involve looking at job postings, industry standards, or consulting with professionals already working in the field. Determine the level of education, specific degrees, certifications, or specialized training commonly required or preferred.

Set Academic Milestones

Based on the educational requirements identified, set specific academic goals and milestones. This could include earning a certain degree, completing relevant coursework or training programs, obtaining certifications, or gaining hands-on experience through internships or research opportunities. Break down these goals into smaller, manageable tasks to track progress effectively.

Choose Relevant Courses and Programs

Select academic programs, courses, or workshops that directly contribute to your career goals. Look for courses that offer practical skills, industry-specific knowledge, or opportunities for experiential learning relevant to your desired field. Consider factors such as curriculum content, faculty expertise, accreditation, and networking opportunities when evaluating educational options.

Seek Mentorship and Guidance

Seek guidance from mentors, career counselors, or professionals working in your desired field. They can provide valuable insights, advice, and recommendations based on their own experiences. Engage in informational interviews, networking events, or professional organizations to expand your understanding of the industry and gain perspective on aligning academic and career goals.

Balance Breadth and Depth

While it’s essential to focus on acquiring specialized knowledge and skills relevant to your career goals, also consider the importance of a well-rounded education. Balance depth of expertise in your chosen field with a breadth of knowledge across complementary disciplines. Develop transferable skills such as critical thinking, communication, and adaptability that are valued across various industries.

Stay Flexible and Adapt

Remain open to adjusting your academic goals as you gain new insights, experiences, or opportunities. Industries evolve, and career paths may shift over time. Be willing to pivot, explore new interests, or pursue additional education or training that aligns with emerging trends or changing market demands.

Evaluate and Reflect

Regularly assess your progress towards aligning academic and career goals. Reflect on your achievements, challenges, and areas for growth. Evaluate the relevance and effectiveness of your academic pursuits in relation to your career objectives. Make adjustments as needed to stay on course and continue advancing towards your professional aspirations.

By following these steps, individuals can effectively align their academic goals with their career goals, ensuring that their educational pursuits directly contribute to their long-term success and fulfillment in their chosen professions.

Overcoming Obstacles to Achieving Your Educational Goals

Achieving academic goals can be challenging, and obstacles can arise that can hinder your progress. These obstacles can range from personal issues such as lack of motivation or time management skills to external factors such as financial constraints or a difficult academic environment. However, with the right mindset and approach, these obstacles can be overcome, and your academic goals can be achieved. In this article, we will discuss some of the common obstacles that students face and provide you with effective strategies to overcome them. Whether you are struggling with a difficult course, time management, or personal issues, we will help you identify the problem and provide you with practical solutions to help you succeed.

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Common Obstacles to Achieving Academic Goals

Several common obstacles can hinder students’ academic performance and progress. These include:

  • Procrastination : Procrastination is a common issue that affects many students. It can lead to missed deadlines, poor grades, and increased stress levels.
  • Time management : Poor time management skills can lead to a lack of productivity and poor academic performance.
  • Lack of motivation : Students may lose motivation due to a lack of interest in the subject, personal issues, or academic challenges.
  • Financial constraints : Financial difficulties can make it challenging for students to afford academic resources and pursue higher education.

Developing resilience

Resilience is the ability to overcome challenges and bounce back from setbacks. Developing resilience is essential for achieving educational goals and overcoming obstacles. Here are some ways to develop resilience:

  • Set realistic goals : Setting realistic goals can help students avoid becoming overwhelmed and maintain motivation.
  • Practice self-care : Self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, and socializing can help students manage stress and maintain a positive mindset.
  • Seek support : Students can seek support from family, friends, academic advisors, or mental health professionals to cope with challenges and overcome obstacles.

Strategies for overcoming obstacles

Here are some strategies for overcoming common obstacles to achieving academic goals:

  • Create a study schedule : Creating a study schedule can help students manage their time effectively and avoid procrastination.
  • Break tasks into manageable chunks : Breaking large tasks into smaller, more manageable ones can help students avoid feeling overwhelmed and stay motivated.
  • Find motivation : Students can find motivation by setting personal goals, seeking out inspiring role models, or participating in extracurricular activities.
  • Use available resources : Students can use academic resources such as tutors, study groups, and online resources to improve their academic performance.

Achieving the goals you set for your education requires resilience, dedication, and the ability to overcome obstacles. By identifying common obstacles, developing resilience, and using effective strategies, students can overcome challenges and achieve their academic goals. 

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Celebrating Success and Revising Goals in College

Celebrating success and revising goals are crucial steps toward academic achievement in college. While reaching academic milestones is a major accomplishment, taking time to celebrate these achievements can provide students with motivation and confidence to strive toward their future academic goals. Additionally, regularly revising goals can help students ensure they are on the right path to achieving their aspirations. 

College is an opportunity for students to explore and discover their interests and passions, and revising their goals can help them align their academic pursuits with their personal and professional aspirations. By celebrating successes and revising goals, college students can stay motivated and focused on achieving academic success.

Recognizing achievements

Celebrating success is an important part of achieving academic goals. When students accomplish their objectives, it is essential to take a moment to recognize and appreciate their achievements. Celebrating success can come in many forms, such as getting together with friends, family, or mentors, attending an awards ceremony or reception, or even taking some time to reflect on personal accomplishments. By acknowledging and celebrating success, students can build confidence and motivation, inspiring them to strive for even greater achievements in the future.

Re-evaluating and Revising Goal

Revising goals is a natural part of the academic process. As students grow and change, their goals may shift, requiring a re-evaluation of their academic objectives. It is essential to regularly assess and revise goals to ensure that they remain relevant and meaningful. Re-evaluating goals may involve reviewing progress, examining personal interests and passions, seeking feedback from peers or mentors, or considering new challenges or opportunities. By reassessing goals, students can ensure that they are staying on track and making progress toward achieving their academic aspirations.

Achieving Your Academic Goals

Achieving your academic goals requires commitment, hard work, and a clear plan of action. By following the steps outlined in this article, including setting realistic and specific goals, creating a schedule and study plan, seeking out resources and support, celebrating success, and re-evaluating goals regularly, you can make steady progress toward your academic aspirations. Remember, achieving academic success is a journey that requires patience and perseverance, but with dedication and effort, you can accomplish your goals and realize your full potential. Best of luck on your academic journey!

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  1. Writing a Paper: How to Set a Writing Goal

    This list is a quick preview of possible goals; however, there are countless, other writing-specific goals to consider, including but not limited to clarity, cohesion, flow, analysis, synthesis, paraphrasing, and grammar skills. Each of these areas is an excellent basis for establishing a writing goal. The next step is to use SMART Goal ...

  2. PDF Strategies for Essay Writing

    instead, the goal would be to analyze them in relation to each other and offer some sort of claim—either about the differences between the proposals, the ... When you make an argument in an academic essay, you are writing for an audience that may not agree with you. In fact, your argument is worth making in the first place ...

  3. What Is Academic Writing?

    Knowledge Base Academic writing What Is Academic Writing? | Dos and Don'ts for Students Academic writing is a formal style of writing used in universities and scholarly publications. You'll encounter it in journal articles and books on academic topics, and you'll be expected to write your essays, research papers, and dissertation in academic style.

  4. What Is Academic Writing? Definitive Guide

    Citations Academic writing tips Score top marks on your writing every time Characteristics of academic writing Perhaps the most prominent characteristic of academic writing is the emphasis on adhering to a style guide.

  5. Write Smarter: How to Set Effective Goals in Your Academic Writing

    Good example of a measurable goal: "I will write 500 words of my discussion, after which I will stop writing and review my work tomorrow." Achievable It's possible that being accepted by a top-tier publication on your first submission, or drafting an entire thesis in a day, is unrealistic.

  6. Writing 101: Course Goals and Practices

    Writing 101 introduces you to key goals and practices of academic writing. You choose from among Writing 101 courses that are designed and taught by scholars trained in disciplines across the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Thus, individual sections of Writing 101 often focus on different topics and readings, but all sections share an emphasis on writing as a social process ...

  7. An Introduction to Academic Writing

    Clear and limited focus. The focus of an academic paper—the argument or research question—is established early by the thesis statement. Every paragraph and sentence of the paper connects back to that primary focus. While the paper may include background or contextual information, all content serves the purpose of supporting the thesis statement.

  8. How to set realistic goals for academic writing

    A goal cannot be 'write 4 articles'. It is too vague to action - a goal is 'write article X for journal X'. That is a goal. What is realistic? Goals need to be realistic. There are two mindsets in play when goal setting. Aim high, and be happy with what you achieve. Aim low, and achieve everything.

  9. How to Track Academic Writing with Goals

    How I Write More Academic Pieces by Tracking Weekly and Daily Academic Writing Goals. Since 2013, I have experimented with different tracking systems, but what works best for me is very simple. Each week on Sunday, I do a weekly writing review and set product-focused weekly goals for each writing project I will be working on.

  10. 11 SMART Goals Examples for Improving Your Writing Skills

    Achievable: Any goal you set needs to be attainable or achievable. Setting unrealistic goals that are not readily attainable will demoralize and demotivate you. Relevant: The goals you set need to be relevant to the specific skill you are looking to improve.

  11. Academic Writing Style

    Academic Writing and Publishing: A Practical Guide. New York: Routledge, 2008; Murray, Rowena and Sarah Moore. The Handbook of Academic Writing: A Fresh Approach. New York: Open University Press, 2006; Johnson, Roy. ... Directives should be framed as evidence-based recommendations or goals leading to specific outcomes. Note that an exception to ...

  12. PDF Student Writing Goals K-12 Writing

    Setting and Meeting Measurable Writing Goals aligned to the Common Core: Producing: A critical school responsibility is ensuring K-12 students develop the skills to write fluently, so they are able produce the amount (and quality) of writing necessary to complete school assignments and other academic tasks.

  13. How to Write Learning Goals

    Learning Goal Examples Examples from Stanford's office of Institutional Research & Decision Support and syllabi of Stanford faculty members: Languages and Literature Students will be able to: apply critical terms and methodology in completing a literary analysis following the conventions of standard written English

  14. How to Create Super SMART Writing Goals: 3 Easy Steps

    Step 3: Create Advancing Talent Goals for the Year. An Advancing Talent Goal is where you focus on an area of writing you feel needs improvement. For example, I have a draft of a mystery novel I wrote, but my action scenes are boring. So, the skill or area I want to advance is writing action scenes.

  15. Academic Goals: Examples and How to Achieve them

    Academic Goals: Examples and How to Achieve them - SELFFA Academic Goals May 9, 2019 by Rachel Whether you're a high schooler striving for acceptance into your dream college or a busy mom going back to school, it's important for students to set academic goals for themselves.

  16. What Are Academic Goals and How to Achieve Them?

    Writing Goals in Your Academic Planner. Using an academic planner can transform your educational goals into concrete actions. Here's how to harness the power of planning, with a spotlight on how the academic planner can elevate your goal-setting game. Break Down Your Goals. An academic planner turns lofty goals into manageable steps.

  17. Academic Goals: What Are They and How To Achieve Them

    Some common examples of academic goals include: Achieving a specific grade point average (GPA) or academic standing Completing a particular course or program with excellence Developing specific crucial skills, such as writing, research, or critical thinking Pursuing higher education, such as a college degree or professional certification

  18. 23 Examples of Academic Goals

    23 Examples of Academic Goals John Spacey, December 14, 2020 Academic goals are targets that an individual sets for their education. It is common for schools to ask for these as part of an admissions or student guidance process. The following are illustrative examples of reasonable academic goals. Talent Developing a talent.

  19. SCC Humanities Department on Instagram: " A Celebration of

    353 likes, 10 comments - humanitiesdepartmentscc on February 21, 2024: " A Celebration of Determination and Commitment! Cheers to Sinchana P, a remarkab..."