There are a few things to consider when writing an effective goal statement. What do you ultimately want to achieve? What is the purpose or impact of this goal? What does success look like?

Writing Goal Statements

These statements should reflect long-term things you hope you achieve.

  • Step One: Begin with determining the action verb, “increase, develop, obtain, complete, etc.”
    Ex. “Develop a plan”
  • Step Two: Answer the question, what it is you will impact?
    Ex. “increase student involvement”
  • Step Three: Include a time-bound statement of accountability.
    Ex. “over the next three years”
  • Step Four: Add a statement about what results will be achieved.
    Ex. “to improve first-year retention rates”


“Develop a plan to increase student involvement in Weeks of Welcome over the next three years to improve first year retention.”

“Improve processes and procedures to increase the operational performance and customer impact within the next two years.”

“Increase the number of donor prospects from 50 to 100 in four years to increase giving units for the division.”

“Assemble Student Life professionals to lead research and development initiatives within the division for improved visibility within the Student Life communities – local, state, regional, and national opportunities by the end of XXXX.”

Tips for Writing Goals

  • Goal statements should be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relatable and time-oriented.
  • Although detailed, goal statements should be broad in nature, covering a multi-year period and encompassing objectives or outcomes that will lead to accomplishing it.
  • If using any action verbs such as “increase” or “improve,” be sure to have benchmark data that is specific to the metrics of the goal. These verbs represent a comparison of data.
  • After you have successfully written the goal statement, continue the assessment elements in answering how you will achieve the goal.