From degree programs to study time, setting higher education goals before you begin your online education will help you get more out of the experience—now and in the future.

A man is working on his computer while taking notes.If you’re choose to enroll in a degree program at an online university, you’ll be joining nearly 6.7 million people already reaping the benefits of an online education.1

Online learning is a great way to pursue higher education in a format that’s ideal for busy adult learners. While it’s tempting to jump right into a degree program at an online college or university, it’s important to first set clear-cut objectives that can help nail down exactly what you want to do—and the best way to do it.

Walden Offers 80+ Online Programs to Move Your Life Forward, find your program now.

A popular way to do this is to establish something called “SMART” goals. Popular in the business world, this acronym stands for goals that are:

Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Relevant
Time-Based

We’ve prepared some ideas for you to use as you formulate your SMART goals to help clarify what you want out of your higher education and your online college or university—and how earning your degree can help you achieve what you want, personally and professionally.

Specific
When planning your online education, be as specific as possible, taking into consideration the what, when, and how of your goals. What kind of degree program are you interested in pursuing? When will you begin your higher education? How will the online college or university you choose help you achieve your career objectives? The more specific you are about your higher education goals, the better.

Measurable
Besides graduating from your chosen degree program, how will you measure whether you’ve achieved your goals? A good approach is to break down your measurable higher educational goals into steps. Your first goal may be to apply to a particular number of online colleges and universities. Once you begin your online education, perhaps you’ll set a goal of 2 hours of study time each night, or you’ll establish a certain grade point average (GPA) target. Whatever you decide, make your higher education goals at your online university measurable and actionable.

Achievable
It’s essential to set higher education goals that you believe you can realistically achieve. If 2 hours of study time each evening is unattainable, consider revising your plan to study every other night, or for just 1 hour a night. Some college degree programs take longer to complete than others, so don’t convince yourself that you can finish in 1 or 2 years if it will realistically take you 3.

Relevant
Take the time to ensure your online education plans are relevant to both your academic and career goals. As you research your higher education options, you’ll find that some colleges will have stronger degree programs in your area of interest than others. Be sure to select the online college or university that will connect you with what you need—before and after graduation.

Time-Based
Your higher education goals also need to be time-based. This is especially important for adult learners who are balancing work and family commitments. The advantage of an online education is that you can enroll, participate in, and complete your degree program coursework at a time and place that’s convenient for you. Create time-based higher education goals that will fit into your life, from the number of classes you take to when you’ll graduate.

Ready to put your SMART higher education goals into action at Walden University, an accredited institution offering online degree programs? Earn your doctoral, master’s, or bachelor’s degree in a convenient online format that fits your busy life.

1Source: https://www.waldenu.edu/resource/ready-to-get-smart-with-an-online-education

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.

Man sitting at latop
Whether looking for information on programs, admissions, or financial aid, we're here to help.
Whether looking for information on programs, admissions, or financial aid, we're here to help.
Talk to your personal enrollment specialist for more information today. Please use our International Form if you live outside of the U.S.
Talk to your personal enrollment specialist for more information today. Please use our Domestic Form if you live in the U.S.
*Required Field
Academic Interests
Required
Required
Are you or your spouse an active or retired U.S. military service member?
Contact Information
Required
Required
Invalid email address
Please provide a valid phone number
Required
Please provide a valid zipcode
Required
Additional Information
Required
Get Started

By submitting this form, I agree to receive emails, text messages, telephone calls, and prerecorded messages from or on behalf of Walden University and its affiliates as listed in the Privacy Policy regarding furthering my education. I understand that such calls, emails, and messages may be sent using automated technology. You may opt out at any time. Please view our Privacy Policy or Contact Us for more details.

Required

By checking this box, I agree to receive emails, text messages, telephone calls, and prerecorded messages from or on behalf of Walden University and its affiliates as listed in the Privacy Policy regarding furthering my education. I understand that such calls, emails, and messages may be sent using automated technology. You may opt out at any time. Please view our Privacy Policy or Contact Us for more details.