Goal Setting

Goal Setting is key to understanding your aspirations and implementing strategies to fulfill them. Having short and long term goals allows you to gauge your progress and make adjustments accordingly. 

  • When you set goals, you must answer the questions “what” “how” and “when.” 
  • It is recommended that you make a google doc with 1-2 long term goals and 5-6 short term goals that you continuously refer to and edit throughout your time as a student.

Course Work Strategies

It is important to take manageable yet challenging coursework and to excel in classes directly related to your major. 

It is best to start general and then get more specific, for example starting with an Intro class such as Anth102 to gauge where your interests lie. Once you find something compelling, taking a class in that subject area can illuminate if you want to pursue that interest further. It is also recommended to take more rigorous classes as time progresses as it is a way to build up your understanding and application of the subject area and delve deeper into a field of interest. 

According to Princeton University, the 7 strategies for success are: 

  1. Get to know yourself as a thinker and learner. When and where are you most productive? What tends to distract you? Knowing your intellectual proclivities and habits helps you to apportion your time more effectively and to be more productive overall.
  2. Set a personal goal for each course. Instead of focusing solely on the grade, consider how each course deepens your expertise in a field of interest or contributes to your overall intellectual development. In other words, motivate yourself in terms of mastering skills and concepts as opposed to getting a good grade or avoiding a bad one.
  3. Manage your time and your attention. People who devise detailed, goal-directed schedules are more productive and less stressed. And once you’ve scheduled your calendar, focus and stick to it by setting external stakes (meeting with professors, a reading group, or a Learning Consultant) and rewards (dinner with friends, TV, etc.). During a study session, be in the moment: turn off distractions (cell phones, e-mail) and dedicate yourself to a single task. Divide or continuously switch your attention to various tasks and you do several things poorly instead of one thing well.
  4. Think like a professor. Instructors have reasons for why they craft their courses as they do. As you move through your courses, spend some time considering these reasons. Ask yourself, for example, why you’re reading this text and this point in the semester or what this writing assignment is designed to help you to do.
  5. Review your notes as soon as possible after class. Students forget 50% of what they learn if they don’t review within 24 hours and 65% if they don’t review within a week. Even a brief review pays off.
  6. Do a little work on an assignment the day it’s given, preferably mapping out a plan or outline for its completion. Starting a project often proves the hardest part; starting early gets you over this high hurdle with plenty of time to develop your work.
  7. Explain a difficult idea, concept, problem, or passage to a friend. Research shows that one of the most effective ways to learn is to teach. If you try to explain what you’ve been studying to another, you’ll transfer the information from short- to long-term memory, and you’ll more clearly see what you understand and what you don’t.

However,  it is still vital to 

  • Prioritize your happiness by making time for yourself and studying subjects that give your life purpose and meaning 
  • Be resilient: you are human and you will make mistakes but having a growth-mindset and understanding that opportunities for improvement are valuable will help you accomplish your goals 
  • Make time to recover: take breaks, enjoy your meals, and set aside time to physically and mentally recuperate. Nothing is more important than you. Not only is it possible to have balance with your school work, but also it is highly necessary. 


According to Indeed, a worldwide employment website, “having a good GPA can also help you earn academic honors, and it provides the college administration with a method of ranking performance in a particular course or program. Additionally, if you have reoccurring financial awards, scholarships or loans, you may need to maintain a certain GPA to keep them”.

In addition, if you are planning to pursue a master’s or Ph.D. program, you need to have a high GPA to secure a spot in better, more competitive programs. This is also true for internships, research opportunities and more advanced classes, which often have GPA specific requirements.

  • Low grades in major core classes are red flags and your strategy or the class itself should be reassessed 
  • Although GPA is important, the classes you take should illustrate your interest in research areas you are interested in pursuing 

Summer Involvement

Summer involvement is a great opportunity to pursue an education outside of the classrooms and to apply what you have learned to the real world as well as discover interests you may pursue in the future. When applying to grad schools or professional schools like med school, Summer Involvement is indicative of having a good work ethic as well as rich experiences and adds to your application. 

Ideas and Examples for Summer Involvement can be found here.

Cultivating academic interests

Once you understand your interests, you can search up current events, publications, articles, internships etc. that align with their passions so you can cultivate these interests and an understanding of the history and direction of the field. In that way, you will be more qualified to work on research or internship projects and will make forward progress towards an established career. 

Working with a Professor at CWRU 

Occasionally, there will be a professor at CWRU who is conducting research or writing a paper and would like to work with an undergraduate student. According to the multiple professors, they often go with students who made positive impressions in one or more of their classes and who’ve expressed interest in the course material.

  • In that case, it is recommended that you:
    • Explore what aspects of Anthropology interest you most
    • Take classes in that field of study
    • Practice being engaged in those classes
    • Build rapport and a relationship with the professors of those classes
      • even if that professor does not have research occurring in that moment, they will likely reference you to:
        • someone who is
        • or to opportunities their past students have taken advantage of.