Long-term goal setting

For big, long-term goals, the process is a bit more involved, but follows the same pattern.  Start with a statement of the big goal, then break that goal down into smaller bits. Depending on your big goal, you may set five-year, one-year, or semester goals.

Let’s see how this works by creating a big goal and developing a supporting plan to attain that goal.  You may find that it’s more helpful to create a table or spreadsheet to display your plan.

GOAL: To become a physician
To be an ideal candidate for medical school I need to:

  • take the right classes in college so I can get into medical school
  • earn a competitive GPA
  • score highly on the MCAT
  • get good letters of support  
  • demonstrate that I am committed to service
  • demonstrate that I am ethical, responsible, compassionate
Steps to Med School      How & When?
Take the right classes
  • see major advisor - every semester, before enrolling
  • pre-prof website - every semester, before enrolling
  • med school websites - every semester, before enrolling
Get the best grades
  • office hours  - weekly
  • tutoring, help rooms - weekly
  • attendance!! - daily
  • study groups - weekly
  • study!! - daily (during the day)
Do well on MCAT
  • get study guides - year before MCAT
  • pre-prof website - before signing up for MCAT date
  • take MCAT review course - semester before MCAT
Letters of support
  • get to know professors - throughout college years
  • shadow physicians - throughout college years
  • volunteer whenever possible - throughout college years
  • find a research opportunity - throughout college years
Committed to service
Good character
  • active in jobs, clubs - latter part of college
  • noted in letters of support - work on this throughout college
SELF-EVALUATION: How to I know I’m on track?
Steps Benchmarks
Take the right classes

List of recommended/required classes and check them off when complete

Get the best grades

Competitive cumulative GPA = 3.6 (my goal, 3.8)

Do well on MCAT

Competitive score = 500 (my goal, anything over 500!)
Letters of support

2 science profs, 1 non-science, 1 physician, 1 or 2 others (get Interfolio acct!)


Update extracurriculars spreadsheet each semester


Get elected to exec. board of at least one club