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Personal Goal Setting

Planning to live your life your way.

By the Mind Tools Content Team

Many people feel as if they're adrift in the world. They work hard, but they don't seem to get anywhere worthwhile.

A key reason that they feel this way is that they haven't spent enough time thinking about what they want from life, and haven't set themselves formal goals. After all, would you set out on a major journey with no real idea of your destination? Probably not!

How to Set a Goal

First consider what you want to achieve, and then commit to it. Set SMART (specific, measureable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) goals that motivate you and write them down to make them feel tangible. Then plan the steps you must take to realize your goal, and cross off each one as you work through them.

Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality.

The process of setting goals helps you choose where you want to go in life. By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you know where you have to concentrate your efforts. You'll also quickly spot the distractions that can, so easily, lead you astray.

Why Set Goals?

Top-level athletes, successful businesspeople and achievers in all fields all set goals. Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation . It focuses your acquisition of knowledge, and helps you to organize your time and your resources so that you can make the most of your life.

By setting sharp, clearly defined goals, you can measure and take pride in the achievement of those goals, and you'll see forward progress in what might previously have seemed a long pointless grind. You will also raise your self-confidence , as you recognize your own ability and competence in achieving the goals that you've set.

Starting to Set Personal Goals

You set your goals on a number of levels:

This is why we start the process of setting goals by looking at your lifetime goals. Then, we work down to the things that you can do in, say, the next five years, then next year, next month, next week, and today, to start moving towards them.

Step 1: Setting Lifetime Goals

The first step in setting personal goals is to consider what you want to achieve in your lifetime (or at least, by a significant and distant age in the future). Setting lifetime goals gives you the overall perspective that shapes all other aspects of your decision making.

To give a broad, balanced coverage of all important areas in your life, try to set goals in some of the following categories (or in other categories of your own, where these are important to you):

Spend some time brainstorming these things, and then select one or more goals in each category that best reflect what you want to do. Then consider trimming again so that you have a small number of really significant goals that you can focus on.

As you do this, make sure that the goals that you have set are ones that you genuinely want to achieve, not ones that your parents, family, or employers might want. (If you have a partner, you probably want to consider what he or she wants – however, make sure that you also remain true to yourself!)

You may also want to read our article on Personal Mission Statements . Crafting a personal mission statement can help bring your most important goals into sharp focus.

Step 2: Setting Smaller Goals

Once you have set your lifetime goals, set a five-year plan of smaller goals that you need to complete if you are to reach your lifetime plan.

Then create a one-year plan, six-month plan, and a one-month plan of progressively smaller goals that you should reach to achieve your lifetime goals. Each of these should be based on the previous plan.

Then create a daily To-Do List of things that you should do today to work towards your lifetime goals.

At an early stage, your smaller goals might be to read books and gather information on the achievement of your higher level goals. This will help you to improve the quality and realism of your goal setting.

Finally, review your plans, and make sure that they fit the way in which you want to live your life.

If you feel that you're not paying enough attention to certain areas of your life, you'll find our articles on The Wheel of Life and the Life/Career Rainbow useful.

Staying on Course

Once you've decided on your first set of goals, keep the process going by reviewing and updating your To-Do List on a daily basis.

Periodically review the longer term plans, and modify them to reflect your changing priorities and experience. (A good way of doing this is to schedule regular, repeating reviews using a computer-based diary.)


A useful way of making goals more powerful is to use the SMART mnemonic. While there are plenty of variants (some of which we've included in parenthesis), SMART usually stands for:

For example, instead of having "to sail around the world" as a goal, it's more powerful to use the SMART goal "To have completed my trip around the world by December 31, 2027." Obviously, this will only be attainable if a lot of preparation has been completed beforehand!

Further Tips for Setting Your Goals

The following broad guidelines will help you to set effective, achievable goals:

Achieving Goals

When you've achieved a goal, take the time to enjoy the satisfaction of having done so. Absorb the implications of the goal achievement, and observe the progress that you've made towards other goals.

If the goal was a significant one, reward yourself appropriately. All of this helps you build the self-confidence you deserve.

With the experience of having achieved this goal, review the rest of your goal plans:

Our article, Golden Rules of Goal Setting , will show you how to set yourself up for success when it comes to your goals. If you're still having trouble, you might also want to try Backward Goal Setting .

It's important to remember that failing to meet goals does not matter much, just as long as you learn from the experience.

Feed lessons you have learned back into the process of setting your next goals. Remember too that your goals will change as time goes on. Adjust them regularly to reflect growth in your knowledge and experience, and if goals do not hold any attraction any longer, consider letting them go.

Example Personal Goals

For her New Year's Resolution, Susan has decided to think about what she really wants to do with her life.

Her lifetime goals are as follows:

Now that Susan has listed her lifetime goals, she then breaks down each one into smaller, more manageable goals.

Let's take a closer look at how she might break down her lifetime career goal – becoming managing editor of her magazine:

As you can see from this example, breaking big goals down into smaller, more manageable goals makes it far easier to see how the goal will get accomplished.

Goal setting is an important method for:

Set your lifetime goals first. Then, set a five-year plan of smaller goals that you need to complete if you are to reach your lifetime plan. Keep the process going by regularly reviewing and updating your goals. And remember to take time to enjoy the satisfaction of achieving your goals when you do so.

If you don't already set goals, do so, starting now. As you make this technique part of your life, you'll find your career accelerating, and you'll wonder how you did without it!

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Rafal Reyzer

How To Write A Powerful Essay On Achieving Goals (+ Example)

Rafal Reyzer

Writing an essay on achieving your goals can be a great opportunity to share your own accomplishments.

Goal setting is a useful strategy to get the most out of life and set yourself up for success.

However, there are many things to remember regarding proper goal setting and achievement. Or when writing a blm argumentative essay , it’s important to provide context on the history of the Black Lives Matter movement and the issues it seeks to address. This can help the reader understand the significance of the essay’s thesis and arguments.

Let’s get to grips with the process of goal setting and come up with a powerful essay on achieving goals.

Structuring Your Essay on Achieving Goals:

How to write an introduction.

Any academic essay must have a strong beginning. It will establish your point of view and inform the reader of what to expect.

An introduction should:

How to Write The Main Body of Your Essay

There should be a minimum of three paragraphs in your essay. Each one is a ‘mini’ essay with an introduction, body, and conclusion.

Each should include:

How to Write a Conclusion

happy successful goal achieving winner

Example Of An Essay About Achieving Your Goals

So, let’s put all this information together and check an example essay on achieving goals:

Effective Methods to Increase the Likelihood of Goal Achievement

Achieving goals can be extremely rewarding and result in a more satisfying and successful life. Many people set goals yet cannot achieve them. However, there are ways to avoid or reduce the likelihood of missing the mark. By ensuring that goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time bound), using visualization techniques and rewarding goal attainment, the chances of success increase.

First, ensure your goals are SMART. This means that goals should be specific and measurable in terms of outcomes, e.g., test scores . Goals should be achievable and realistic to the person’s capabilities and resources available. Also, a goal should apply to the person’s work, education, hobbies, or interests and include a deadline. If there is no specificity of outcome, there’s no real way to see how someone has improved—or how they might be falling short. And if goals are not SMART, they are more difficult to achieve.

Second, by imagining and visualizing the feelings and outcomes of achievement of the goal , the likelihood of high achievement increases. The imagination can be a powerful tool. Imagining the feelings of accomplishment helps to increase self-efficacy and motivation. A Canadian study found that imagery skills moderate the effect of mental practice on self-efficacy. The effects of visualization techniques are valuable in goal achievement.

Third, once the goal has been accomplished, a reward is required. Getting a reward for hard work will increasingly motivate an individual to set and achieve the next goal. The offer of a reward gives employees and students an extra boost of motivation. Rewards help the cycle of goal setting and goal achieving to continue.

In summary, by ensuring the goals set are SMART, visualizing and rewarding success, goal achievement becomes more likely. Achieving goals is a cyclic process that’s possible to master if the right method is in place.

The Basics of Setting and Achieving Goals

Getting things done is often more difficult than you may think. You may have a strong desire to see positive changes, including better grades, weight loss, or passing an educational course.

But success requires more than just motivation. The right goal-achievement skill set can help you see the exact steps you need to perform to take your life to the next level.

Of course, it all starts with setting a goal and there’s a useful (SMART) acronym to remember:

Goals should be specific and free of generalizations, or they are unlikely to get done. Instead of stating that your goal is to improve your English skills, make it more specific by stating that your goal is to learn and use one new word every weekday to boost your English vocabulary.

A goal should be measurable because you need to keep your finger on the pulse and know where you’re at. For instance, a test or assessment score can provide evidence that you have reached your goal.

A goal needs to be possible to achieve. If it’s beyond your capabilities or requires resources you cannot access, then you will set yourself up for failure.

Goals must have some relevance. It is pointless to set a goal if it’s not relevant to your life, work, education, interests, hobbies, etc.

You must set a completion date for your goal. If you do not set a deadline, you may lack the motivation to reach it.

Once you have your SMART goal, record it clearly on paper or a mobile device and then visualize the outcome of achieving that goal.

Imagine how happy you will feel when you achieve it. This vivid mental imagery will provide you with the extra motivation to go for it.

Finally, when you reach your goal, it’s time to celebrate! Reward yourself with a trip, item you desire, relaxation time with friends or whatever else that will make you feel happy.

Ready to write an essay about achieving goals?

Hopefully, the information in the article has given you the basics to help you write a powerful essay on achieving goals.

I also hope that this article has helped you think about how you can work toward achieving your own your goals.

There are many great books about the science of goal achievement. I especially recommend ones written by Brian Tracy , as they have helped me a great deal in my pursuit of happiness . You can also create an engaging presentation about achieving goals and objectives using this  goal presentation template .

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how to start an goals essay

Rafal Reyzer

Become a Writer Today

Essays About Goals: Top 5 Examples Plus 10 Prompts

Goals could be a one-time event or a lifelong growth process. Write effectively with the help of our essays about goals and writing prompts in our guide. 

Having goals helps us have a sense of purpose. We find our determination, discipline, and strategic thinking tested to their limits. The road toward any goal, especially ambitious ones, is full of thorns and spikes. Some walk away and accept that these goals are not destined for them. Some, however, keep pressing forward, determined to achieve these goals. Gaining confidence in writing can help you achieve your goals by putting pen to paper and starting a plan.

5 Essay Examples

1.  are you goal or growth conscious by katherine beneby, 2. how to help an employee figure out their career goals by dorie clark, 3. no goals: why is it so hard to do something for enjoyment’s sake by jenny valentish, 4. get inspired: how four hikers accomplished their 2021 hiking goals by anna roth , 5. does sharing your goals on social media make you more likely to achieve them by kristan russell, 10 prompts on essays about goals.

“The difference between goals and growth is that goals are seasonal, while growth is lifelong. Goals focus on a destination while growth focuses on a journey.”

In this essay, the writer discusses how achieving our goals may be possible if we reframe our minds to think of them as a growth process. This essay enumerates the difficulties of achieving our objectives and offers guidance on what will help put structure in how we formulate our growth plans. You might also be interested in these essays about bad habits .

“It’s not always possible to help the people we supervise identify and work toward their career goals… [S]o when we can assist our employees in getting there, it’s a meaningful way we can make a difference in their lives and their professional success.”

As per our list of topics to write about , this essay looks at how managers must realize their critical roles in the lives of the employees they handle. Their biggest contribution to the development of their employees is helping them achieve their tasks at work while ensuring these victories lead to their broader career goals. You might also be wondering, why write goals down?

“Once, to stave off depression, I set myself the goal-tastic mission of doing something new every day for a year – from flying in a glider to blowing things up – and blogging about it. Right from day one, the sense of focus lifted my mood, and there was frankly no time to overthink.”

In this essay, the writer looks at how atelic activities, or those we do for fun, positively influence our outlook. Our goal-driven world, however, hinders us from seeing the pure joy of doing things without goals. You might be interested in these essays about dream jobs .

“Last year, she set a goal to simply go hiking at all. And she’s thrilled to have made it happen, saying it was one of the best things she could have done for herself and her family during such a challenging year.”

This writer describes points to inspire people to start hiking and to set personal fitness goals. Look no further and turn to the inspiring stories of people who have targeted to hike across states, hike for the first time, hike once a month for health purposes, and hike a hundred miles yearly. For more inspiration, check out these essays about achievement .

“Wellness gurus and fitness bloggers seem to be divided between whether sharing goals on your social media sabotages you or holds you accountable.“

This essay revolves around a nascent study that aims to see if sharing your goals on social media make them more attainable. While initial results show that those who posted made significant progress compared to people who did not post, more questions need to be explored. You might be inspired by these essays about success .

1. My Goals in Life

In this essay, delve into your short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals. Before anything else, elaborate on what drew you to set these goals. Then, share your action plans to make them a reality. Discuss the obstacles you’ve faced and how you’ve conquered them. 

2. Travel Goals

Travel goals

What is the one destination you dream of? For this essay, daydream about your travel goals. Direct that excitement and write your travel itinerary, the duration of your stay, where you will be staying, and what daring activities you will dare yourself to plunge into. You can also talk about whom you would like to be with when you fulfill your travel goals or if you prefer going solo.

3. The Goal of Forming Better Study Habits

It is a challenge to hit the books when we live in a world with unlimited distractions. In this topic prompt, share effective study habits to help students focus on their studies. One helpful tip, for example, is designing your environment to be conducive to a habit change. In the case of study habits, this means temporarily eliminating access to social media and other digital distractions. Cite more tips and conclude your essay with a few words of motivation.

4. Climate Goals: Are We Progressing?

Under the Paris Agreement , the landmark international agreement to fight climate change, countries must jointly strive to arrest global warming and cap it to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030. The question is: is this goal still on the table? Read recent news articles on how countries are following through on their Paris Treaty pledges. Listen to what environmentalists say about national efforts and tackle what more must be done to attain the climate goals. 

5. Importance of Fitness Goals

Fitness is a common new year’s resolution but try convincing your readers to start their fitness goals today. First, help your readers explore the right dietary program and workout schedule based on their daily demands. 

Then, underscore the importance of a fitness goal for gaining self-esteem and improving physical and mental health. Entice them with the idea of gaining a new exciting skill from a new workout activity and motivate them to start unlocking the fit version of themselves today. 

6. Fiscal Policy Goals

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, several countries recorded ballooning debts as governments spent heavily to fight the pandemic and also support struggling sectors. So first, determine whether your country is in a tight fiscal space. 

The fiscal space assessment framework created by the International Monetary Fund may help you identify the metrics and data to gather. Then, shed light on your government’s fiscal policy goals to address debt while spending in sectors that guarantee an economy’s long-term health, such as education and social services. 

7. Failing at Your Goals

How do people receive failures? Write about people’s attitudes and actions when they fail at their goals. Can people develop depression, and how can they recover from the fall? Try to answer these and share your experience of failing at your goals. 

Ask yourself: How did you move forward after that? Then, share your opinions on whether a failure signifies that it would be best for someone to find a new goal altogether or try again with stronger determination and a better-calculated strategy. 

8. Setting Lofty Vs. Light Goals

Which is better: aiming for a lofty goal that opens risks of failure, which many fear, or light goals that might do little in stretching out your potential? Answer this by listing the pros and cons of each. Then help readers strike the optimum balance between a loft or light goal. Cite examples of lofty and light goals to help your readers better differentiate the two.

9. Poverty Reduction Goals

For this essay, take a deep dive into the poverty reduction efforts of your government. First, give an overview of an ongoing flagship poverty reduction program and uncover its outcomes since its implementation. Read through government reports about the breakthrough goals of the program and which ones are gaining momentum. 

Then, look at the other side of the fence by listening to what critics say about the program. Take note of their laments about bottlenecks in the program and what more can be done to attain poverty reduction goals swiftly. 

10. My Academic Goals

My academic goals

Start with a descriptive paragraph detailing your academic goals. Writing about it vividly, as though it is the reality, is a creative way to show readers how much you have played out the scenarios of success in your head while helping your readers fully understand your goals. Then snap back to reality and discuss your action plan to realize these goals.

For related topics, you may check our essays about dreams in life . Don’t forget to proofread your essay with the best grammar checkers .

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how to start an goals essay

Yna Lim is a communications specialist currently focused on policy advocacy. In her eight years of writing, she has been exposed to a variety of topics, including cryptocurrency, web hosting, agriculture, marketing, intellectual property, data privacy and international trade. A former journalist in one of the top business papers in the Philippines, Yna is currently pursuing her master's degree in economics and business.

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Home — Essay Samples — Life — Life Goals — My Goals And Ways To Achieve Them

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How to Write an Essay Introduction | 4 Steps & Examples

Published on February 4, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on September 14, 2022.

A good introduction paragraph is an essential part of any academic essay . It sets up your argument and tells the reader what to expect.

The main goals of an introduction are to:

This introduction example is taken from our interactive essay example on the history of Braille.

The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.

Table of contents

Step 1: hook your reader, step 2: give background information, step 3: present your thesis statement, step 4: map your essay’s structure, step 5: check and revise, more examples of essay introductions, frequently asked questions about the essay introduction.

Your first sentence sets the tone for the whole essay, so spend some time on writing an effective hook.

Avoid long, dense sentences—start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.

The hook should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of the topic you’re writing about and why it’s interesting. Avoid overly broad claims or plain statements of fact.

Examples: Writing a good hook

Take a look at these examples of weak hooks and learn how to improve them.

The first sentence is a dry fact; the second sentence is more interesting, making a bold claim about exactly  why the topic is important.

Avoid using a dictionary definition as your hook, especially if it’s an obvious term that everyone knows. The improved example here is still broad, but it gives us a much clearer sense of what the essay will be about.

Instead of just stating a fact that the reader already knows, the improved hook here tells us about the mainstream interpretation of the book, implying that this essay will offer a different interpretation.

Next, give your reader the context they need to understand your topic and argument. Depending on the subject of your essay, this might include:

The information here should be broad but clearly focused and relevant to your argument. Don’t give too much detail—you can mention points that you will return to later, but save your evidence and interpretation for the main body of the essay.

How much space you need for background depends on your topic and the scope of your essay. In our Braille example, we take a few sentences to introduce the topic and sketch the social context that the essay will address:

Receive feedback on language, structure, and formatting

Professional editors proofread and edit your paper by focusing on:

See an example

how to start an goals essay

Now it’s time to narrow your focus and show exactly what you want to say about the topic. This is your thesis statement —a sentence or two that sums up your overall argument.

This is the most important part of your introduction. A  good thesis isn’t just a statement of fact, but a claim that requires evidence and explanation.

The goal is to clearly convey your own position in a debate or your central point about a topic.

Particularly in longer essays, it’s helpful to end the introduction by signposting what will be covered in each part. Keep it concise and give your reader a clear sense of the direction your argument will take.

As you research and write, your argument might change focus or direction as you learn more.

For this reason, it’s often a good idea to wait until later in the writing process before you write the introduction paragraph—it can even be the very last thing you write.

When you’ve finished writing the essay body and conclusion , you should return to the introduction and check that it matches the content of the essay.

It’s especially important to make sure your thesis statement accurately represents what you do in the essay. If your argument has gone in a different direction than planned, tweak your thesis statement to match what you actually say.

You can use the checklist below to make sure your introduction does everything it’s supposed to.

Checklist: Essay introduction

My first sentence is engaging and relevant.

I have introduced the topic with necessary background information.

I have defined any important terms.

My thesis statement clearly presents my main point or argument.

Everything in the introduction is relevant to the main body of the essay.

You have a strong introduction - now make sure the rest of your essay is just as good.

This introduction to an argumentative essay sets up the debate about the internet and education, and then clearly states the position the essay will argue for.

The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts is on the rise, and its role in learning is hotly debated. For many teachers who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its critical benefits for students and educators—as a uniquely comprehensive and accessible information source; a means of exposure to and engagement with different perspectives; and a highly flexible learning environment.

This introduction to a short expository essay leads into the topic (the invention of the printing press) and states the main point the essay will explain (the effect of this invention on European society).

In many ways, the invention of the printing press marked the end of the Middle Ages. The medieval period in Europe is often remembered as a time of intellectual and political stagnation. Prior to the Renaissance, the average person had very limited access to books and was unlikely to be literate. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century allowed for much less restricted circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation.

This introduction to a literary analysis essay , about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein , starts by describing a simplistic popular view of the story, and then states how the author will give a more complex analysis of the text’s literary devices.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale. Arguably the first science fiction novel, its plot can be read as a warning about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, and in popular culture representations of the character as a “mad scientist”, Victor Frankenstein represents the callous, arrogant ambition of modern science. However, far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to gradually transform our impression of Frankenstein, portraying him in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as.

Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:

The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .

The “hook” is the first sentence of your essay introduction . It should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of why it’s interesting.

To write a good hook, avoid overly broad statements or long, dense sentences. Try to start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:

Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.

The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.

The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.

Cite this Scribbr article

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How to Write a Career Goals Essay?

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How to Write a Career Goals Essay?

A candidate might have excellent academic records with clear-cut career plans but presenting all of that to the admissions committee can be a cumbersome task. This is why applicants are often asked to submit an essay on career goals as it helps the admissions team to understand what you wish to extract out of the course that you are planning to take. It helps the university understand if your goals align with their vision and if you are a good fit for them. An excellent career goals essay might just be your entry ticket to a top university abroad. Read this blog to know all about how to write a career goals essay, why it is important as well as a useful essay sample to refer to.

Also Read: Career Goals for MBA Aspirant in 150 Words 

What is a Career Goal Essay ?

In simple terms, a career goals essay outlines your future career goals, aspirations, expectations, personal interests and experience. It gives a deeper insight into one’s career prospects, ambitions and goals. Depending upon the requirement of the employer or university,  you might be asked to write an essay on your short-term career goals or long-term career goals.

Importance of a Career Goal Essay 

As mentioned earlier, a career goals essay is a vital component while seeking admission at reputed universities abroad or while applying for jobs in well-known organisations. It reveals whether your goals and ambitions are aligned with the field you’ve chosen or with the job position you’ve applied for. 

Writing it helps you to figure out your future goals and gives you an incentive to follow through with those goals. While it may be easy to state your initial career plans and goals, writing them down and accomplishing them is another different task to undertake. Hence, organisations and institutions encourage students to submit a career goals essay as it puts things into perspective and motivates them to work towards their goals. 

Also Read: How to Write an MBA Essay [Tips and Tricks] 

Tips for Writing a Good Career Goal Essay

Writing this essay is simply just not about expressing your aspirations and ambitions. There are different elements involved in creating the perfect career goals essay. Hence, before starting your essay, here are a few things you need to keep in mind:

Understand the Concept Behind a Career Goals Essay

Before penning down your essay, it is important to figure out your career goals and ambitions. Introspect on your personal and professional goals, write them down which will help you understand what you want to be and what you want to do. This gives you a clear idea of how to compose it as well as a better understanding of why you want to pursue a particular field of study or profession. A few examples of career goals include:

Choosing the Right Title

Before composing your career goals essay, it is also important to come up with an appropriate title. Your title should be relevant and strike a connection with your intended audience. If the title does not resonate with your audience, then the rest of your essay may not be as appealing to them. Your title should capture the attention of your prospective audience and should reflect your professionalism and personality. 

Also Read: The Beginner’s Guide to Writing an Essay 

A Proper Structure

Another thing that you need to keep in mind is that your career goals essay should be properly structured and organised. This includes the introduction, main body and conclusion. 


Your career goals essay should begin with a strong introduction. A strong introduction captivates your audience and compels them to read the entire essay. You can begin your essay with either an intriguing quote or a stimulating question or even an interesting anecdote. It should create an emotional bond with your target audience and give them a compelling reason to read your entire essay. 

The main body of your career goals essay gives a more detailed description of your aspirations and ambitions. This includes your goals and your plans to achieve them, your greatest achievements, personal experiences and work experiences in a sequential manner. Also, you must ensure that each of your points is well-written, connected and in proper sync with each other. The paragraphs should not be abrupt and hasty, but they must complement each other. Additionally, the main body should reason why you are an ideal candidate for this particular post. 

As well-written is your introduction, the conclusion of your career goals essay should also be quite compelling and interesting. It should reinforce the main purpose behind your essay, summarising your goals and ambitions and your plans of achieving the same. It should be short but impactful. Your conclusion should be memorable in the minds of your target audience. 

Follow Your Unique Writing Style

What gives your career goals essay a distinctive identity is your unique style of writing. When you write your essay in a style that is distinctly yours, it gives your prospective audience a taste of your personality and qualities. It makes you stand apart from the other candidates. Since each one is bound to revolve around the same topic, you must give it your own unique touch to show your audience why you’re the ideal candidate for their company or institution. 

Have a Strong Thesis Statement

Your career goals essay is among the thousands that will be received by reputed institutions and companies. They will generally look for those essays that capture their attention and have great potential. Hence, your essay must have a strong thesis statement that moves your audience and compels them to select you. Besides, you should avoid phrases or sentences that are quite common and cliche. Hence, take your time to formulate your career goals essay, since it should reflect your ambitions and goals in a unique way.  

Also Read: Admission Essays

Example of a Career Goals Essay

“It doesn’t matter how slowly you go as long as you don’t stop”- Confucious. For me, this is the best possible guideline for my future career in the film industry as a director. When people find out that being a film director is a career I want to pursue, they presume that I aspire for this job because it is considered privileged in the film industry, however, it is not entirely so. I want to pursue this career path because I have my own vision of what the film industry should produce and strongly believe that my contribution will be valuable.

My interest in film direction started when I was in high school. I remember watching Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, in particular the scene where L. B. Jeffries tries to stop the intruder by blinding him with flash, and thinking how this scene is so tense using only mundane objects. I started my research and found out that props, costumes, music, lighting, and camera angles altogether invoke emotions in the audience and keep the viewers on the edge of their seats. As I continued my self-education, I was deeply impressed by films inspired by true stories, such as Catch Me if You Can and Hacksaw Ridge. Therefore, I aspire to direct films based on true events and become a critically acclaimed film director.

My goal is to work with successful directors and learn their filmmaking styles and determine the factors that bring their films commercial success. As soon as I feel confident about my directing skills, my goal is to form a team of creative people who strive to pursue careers in filmmaking and create short films and documentaries. I aim to work on short films, a valuable experience to add to my portfolio. While I recognize that this field is highly competitive, I am deeply convinced that hard work, dedication, and clear goals are the key for achieving my professional goals.

Hence, I believe that the environment, curriculum and staff at your esteemed university will provide me with the most comprehensive and thorough learning experience and guidance that will help me in building a bright career in this field. Not to mention, earning a valuable degree from your institution gives me a greater opportunity to fulfil my dreams and achieve my goal of becoming a successful film director in the near future. Therefore, I am fully committed to working hard and optimistic about making my mark in the competitive world of the film industry. 

Also Read: What is a Scholarship Essay?

So, we hope that with the help of this blog, you can get started with writing your career goals essay. If you still have doubts about writing the perfect essay, connect with our experts at Leverage Edu as we will help you with that process along with the other study abroad processes. So, what are you waiting for? Book your FREE Consultation call today or call us at 1800 57 2000/ 

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How to write a winning scholarship essay about your academic goals

Have you ever opened up a scholarship application only to find that you have to write yet ANOTHER scholarship essay, this time about your academic goals? We get it. There’s a lot of writing involved when you’re applying! Well, we’re here to guide you through your academic goals essay, with scholarship essay tips and a template. We’ve even got a surprise for you at the end that will save you time on your scholarship applications.

1) Start brainstorming and writing as early as possible.

2) understand your current goals of where you are now, and your future goals of where you want to be., 3) stay positive., 4) keep it personal., 5) spell check., 6) be proud of your academic goals essay., what are you studying right now, what do you enjoy, what are you not-so-crazy about in your current studies, what do you want to achieve in college, what things outside of pure academics, might complement your academic goals, how will your academic goals help you achieve other goals, what has inspired these goals, how will you hold yourself accountable with your academic goals, bonus: let your academic goals influence your college class planning, it’s here your academic goals essay brainstorm template, extra bonus: apply for scholarships more easily, with going merry .

Student writing academic goals essay

6 tips for scholarship essay success

Writing any scholarship essay takes time, thought, and energy. The earlier you start, the better!

Your goals today may change tomorrow. Think about where you are now in your high school career – what are you studying that you love? What would you like to change? What do you aim to accomplish in college? Ask yourself these questions and write down those goals.

No one is perfect – we all have our hardships and our downfalls. But think positively when it comes to your academic goals. If you didn’t do so hot in one subject, try not to include that exact phrasing in the essay, but think about how you can turn that around into a positive.

Similar to personal statements , share your story – a moment that brought you to where you are today. Especially for local scholarships, the providers want to feel like they’re supporting real people to achieve their academic dreams. So make sure you share enough personal details about where you are and where you want to be.

Using a tool like Grammarly helps check your spelling and grammar as you’re writing. Ask a friend, family member, or expert to review your academic goals essay before you submit it with your scholarship application. This will help your writing for college appear polished and professional.

You did it! You wrote it! That’s your work, and now it’s up to the scholarship providers to review and accept your application.

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See how much money you qualify for. Personalized matches . Click below to get started.

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Student writing academic goals essay with Going Merry

Points to consider while writing your academic goals scholarship essay:

Think about your current studies in high school. If you’re a high school junior, think about what classes you’re currently taking, and what you plan to take next year as a senior. If you’re a high school senior, reflect on your last two semesters of classes. What’s your curriculum look like? You might be taking an English class, Math, a focused class, such as Sociology, maybe a World Religions course, Geography, Government and an elective such as music, art, or physical education.

High school student study books

We all know a high school teacher who made going to class enjoyable because of their personality – OR – we just really loved the subject (No one? Just us? Okay…it was Mr. Nixon’s Law class that made research and debating against classmates fun for us).

Capitalize on the enjoyable aspects of that class in your academic goals essay. Explain how your teacher made the class engaging in a way that helped you retain information while also enjoying the class. Consider what the ideal academic class would look like in college. Would you aim to take a similar course in college where the professor promotes engaged learning? Or would you prefer to sit in a lecture hall where you can listen, digest detailed information, write down notes, and ask questions as needed? Think about your learning style as you organize your academic goals essay.

Going back to the point of staying positive, think through a subject that you’re currently not too thrilled about, and get creative with how you can turn that into an academic goal.

Ex: Statistics was one of the most challenging subjects of my junior year curriculum. However, I know I’ll need to have sufficient knowledge of the subject to major in Psychology in college. My goal is to find a study buddy – a colleague, a tutor, someone skilled in the subject, to improve my understanding of the subject so I can later help patients understand research study statistics in the future.

It might be a 3.5 GPA. Or you might want to walk across the stage on graduation day with summa cum laude cords. Maybe you want to become president of the student government association on campus.

The great thing about college is that you’re furthering your education, and you’re growing as a person! You’re learning about yourself, how you work, how you interact, and there are so many opportunities to get involved on campus. Think about how these fits in with your academic goals by naming any organizations, department clubs, and honor societies that catch your eye.

How might your near-term academic goals help you in your future (e.g. career after college)–or how might they help others (e.g. your friends, family, future customers/patients)? Think long-term: what will your current academic goals help you achieve further down the line? Whom might that impact?

Ex: Taking 18 credits helped us knock out our required wellness course during the second semester of our freshman year of college. By sophomore year, we could focus on classes related to our major and enjoy time after class. We later graduated a semester early thanks to study habits and credits. We spent time at the on-campus career center, working through mock interviews. Then, we later landed a job soon after graduation, working for a company and helping them bring on new customers.

All of this happened as a result of creating academic goals to plan classes early and work through those credits.

Everyone finds inspiration from different outlets. Whether it’s your parents, a teacher, your guidance counselor, classmates, siblings, or even an athlete, briefly describe who inspired these goals. Heck, you might have inspired yourself to make these goals! If it wasn’t someone who inspired you, discuss what inspired you to set these goals in your academic goals essay.

Writing down goals for ourselves is great. It makes our goals seem more concrete once we talk or write about them. Now, it’s time to make those goals happen! Toward the end of your academic goals essay, you might want to explicitly state your plan for holding yourself accountable to these goals — this will seem impressive to a scholarship provider who wants to make sure their award money is going to someone who’s serious about their future.

How might you stay accountable? Maybe your best friend can text you every Wednesday to check in with you mid-week on your progress. Or maybe that’s too much, and you’ll just set a reminder on your phone to check in with yourself once a week. Or maybe you’re a real planner– and you’ve created clear milestones for the next couple years, and you’ll check in regularly to make sure you’re hitting them. Whatever it is, bringing your lofty academic goal down to concrete steps is likely to make your academic goals essay stronger. 

Student writing academic goals essay with Going Merry

Don’t just think of your scholarship essay on academic goals as a chore that you complete and then never look at again. Once you’ve written it, let it help serve as your beacon as you decide what majors or classes to take, or what student organizations to join.

Then you can plan your semesters accordingly. For example:

Ready to start brainstorming to write your essay?

Print this sheet – OR – if you want to fill out this sheet digitally, make a copy to save and edit on your device by going to File > Download > Microsoft Word, OpenDocument Format, etc.

Also, check out this helpful list of the 10 most common scholarship essay topics!

Top 10 Most Common Scholarship Essay Prompts Graphic

Feeling more confident about your academic goals scholarship essay? Great! 

Streamline submitting your scholarship essays with Going Merry. You’ll only need to enter your information once, and we auto-fill it to all your applications. You can even save your academic goals essay to your account, so that you can easily reuse it. How convenient is that?

Sign up for a free profile today and get matched with thousands of scholarships. We’re your one-stop shop for all things scholarships and federal student aid!

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Essay About Your Goals

Goals, or goal making, can be applied to so many aspects of life: success, health, productivity, projects, and relationships – the list is endless. People set goals to meet an objective, either on a short- or long-term basis. Some goals, like writing a book and publishing it, may take a number of years to accomplish.

What Is a Personal Essay

A personal essay is a kind of narrative essay where the author tells about a certain life incident or something that has had a significant impact on him or her. It may also speak of a lesson learned, or simply express a point of view on some issue, which was of vital importance to the author. The personal essay appears to be one of the richest and most vibrant of all literary forms. The personal essay is also one of the most popular forms of creative nonfiction.


If you are looking for personal essay examples here is a great one below. Read and enjoy!

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible”

  Tony Robbins

Goals, or goal making, can be applied to so many aspects of life: success, health, productivity, projects, and relationships – the list is endless. People set goals to meet an objective, either on a short- or long-term basis. Some goals, like writing a book and publishing it, may take a number of years to accomplish. While some goals are set for a day, a week, a month – but all goals are different and require different lengths of time to accomplish. They serve to motivate, to remind and to monitor, for people who want to improve themselves, to become successful or try something new.

As a college sophomore, at 20 years old, I am in the beginning to see the benefits of setting goals. One of my goals I set in high school was getting into Columbia University in New York City, and I hit that goal. Now I’m there studying business and marketing, where I am still making and hitting my goals. Two I’ve set myself is graduating in two years with a degree and graduating with a grade point average (or GPA) of 3.5. A college degree, especially one from an Ivy League school, will open many doors for my future career – and graduating with a high GPA will almost ensure me of at least tons of interviews once I graduate. However, I also have a goal of getting an internship, to have practical, real-world experience in the field of business and marketing. This I plan to get before I graduate so that I can start applying for jobs the moment I get my degree, or even before I get my degree. (Another goal is finding a job that really challenges me, a job I love and which does not feel like work at all.)

Read more:  Literary Analysis  |  Literature Review Dissertation

Others goal I have to pertain to my personal and family life. Once I have landed a good, fun, high-paying job, I hope to enter the dating scene: to find someone to love and spend my life with. That’s what everyone wants and what many people work hard for. My goal is to meet the right girl who understands me, challenges me and appreciates me for who I am, a person who will complete me and be there for me when times are bad, as well as when they are good. Finding and keeping the right person is all that truly matters in this life – and that is what I want and will get. Also, my goal is to start a wonderful, loving family that will come to take care of me when I’m old, weak or weary.

Lastly, another goal I have is having financial success, to be able to live a long, healthy life. It’s something I never saw in parents, as both are working-class people who have struggled with debt and other financial hardships. Even to this day, they sometimes work paycheck-to-paycheck and stress about paying bills, struggling and never going on vacation. I don’t want that life. I want, I need, I deserve, financial freedom – the freedom to live a life free of the fear of going broke, homeless, becoming poor – and a life completely free of the worry of having enough money.

No, money and a good career are not everything. Just half. You also need people in your life to love, who love you back, and who provide meaning to life. This cannot happen without setting and hitting goals, then setting more and hitting more. It’s a life-long practice used many successful people all across the board. And it’s something everyone could benefit from at some point in his or her life, in any and all aspects of it. It works, and it’s been proven to help people become a better version of their self.

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Essay Structure: Learn How to Start, Write, and End Your…

Introduction, body, and conclusion make a standard essay structure. Read the article to know the details. Essay Structure Essay structure allows you to align your thoughts and ideas logically, making them readable and easy to understand. Basic essay logic starts out with the introduction of…

Essay Format

Essay Format Essay format has nothing to do with the actual content of the essay, it is how you organize and present it. Essay format gives the physical look of your essay as the eye scans the pages without reading the words. Chicago Essay Format Why…

How to Turn Your Personal Goals Essay into a Masterpiece

How to Turn Your Personal Goals Essay into a Masterpiece

Definition of personal goals.

Why Are Goals Important for Students

What is a goal essay, how to start a personal goal essay.

How to Write a Personal Goals Essay

If you ask the question ‘How to write an essay about my goals in life?’ you can start with learning how to structure your paper.


It is the first paragraph with a hook sentence and a thesis statement with a specific life plan.

Paragraphs of the Body

Make sure that all the paragraphs are related to the main idea of the paper. Make your narration focused on your experiences, events from your life, and developed skills. Your background ought to serve as a foundation of your plans for the future.

The body of your personal goals essay is to be devoted to the presentation of your long-term and short-term objectives and their connection to your future ambitions.

It is the final paragraph with a clear summary of all discussed ideas from the paragraphs above. Restate the thesis statement and mention the benefits for the society you would like to bring in the future.

You must have found yourself in a situation when your only thought was ‘How can I manage writing my life goals essay?’ In that case, hiring an expert writer is a very reasonable idea.

Personal Goals Essay Examples

University education is a very important achievement in my life and that I believe will be very useful in helping me achieve personal enrichment and career goals. The degree certificate that I will obtain after taking the studies at the higher education level in the university will be a major step towards my enrichment and objectives in my career. This degree will help me accomplish my career goals in a number of ways. First, I will be in a position to carry out activities with agility, secure a good job, and perfect my personal performance and offer services of high quality. After intensive learning and understanding of a specific discipline in education, I will be given a degree in that particular subject. The knowledge and skill I attain will assist in me carrying out the requisite activity through the job with agility. In this way, my goals will be attained. University education is a multifaceted resource. Through my learning at the University, I will learn how to relate with people and participate in group work. This element will be very useful for my personal enrichment. I am very convinced that being useful is more than just passing well in my exams. Knowing how to relate with others in a global scale is a very important aspect in turning out successful in my career. The enrichment and shaping of my personality will thus be greatly enhanced through university education and thus help in propelling my career goals. University will provide a very strong and useful foundation upon which by career and personality will be built. The university education will thus come in handy in enriching my personality as well as promoting my career goals. This way, I will be in a position to confidently search for a job. This is so because I will be enabled to demonstrate with a resume my personality first and the high education level I managed to acquire. The degree attained from university will give me a great opportunity to conduct these activities and create a good platform for me to get a very good job. The number of jobs that need a university degree as a very useful requirement is on the increase. Previously, there was availability of jobs at different levels and without university education; some people would still get jobs with high school diplomas. All the same, the current generation is faced with great challenges and therefore I need to tailor my efforts of getting a job by acquiring university education. This is not the guarantor but just a step towards the right direction. Getting to university first provides the right environment for my personal growth and development in opening up my way of thinking and approach to real life situations. An individual effort is also required to supplement the university education through personal initiative to know how to relate with others corporately. In most of the jobs in this generation, university education is very much necessary along with other individual attributes. I want to be well versed with the trend in the job market and even go further to stand a good chance of excelling in my career. Through university education, I will raise my abilities to the height of my goals. This will be very useful because setting goals within my capability could be detrimental after graduation. I therefore want to stay ahead of competition and be competent through quality service and delivery. Most employers anticipate employees with well rounded foundational education so that they may be set in a position to realize high profits in their organizations. A university degree creates the first impression of the kind of person the employer is going to meet. When I am well learned in my career field, the output will be easy and efficient. I believe that university education will enlighten all my career areas that I did not know at first and this will ultimately perfect my performance. I am industrious and determined to achieve goals in challenging and dynamic environments and after completing my university education, I will start a career that will provide for my needs and create an opportunity of having secure retirement. University education will enable me to educate my subordinates at my work and through this, production will be enhanced. I am confident that I will be a source of inspiration to others and that is what I want to be. Therefore, having university education cannot be over emphasized since it provides me with the technical knowledge of my job, promotes performance and boost my work mates and with that, my career goals will be accomplished.

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how to start an goals essay

How to Write a Personal Essay for Your College Application

how to start an goals essay

What does it take to land in the “accept” (instead of “reject”) pile?

How can you write an essay that helps advance you in the eyes of the admissions officers and makes a real impression? Here are some tips to get you started.

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Where your work meets your life. See more from Ascend here .

We’ve all heard about the dreaded “college essay,” the bane of every high school senior’s existence. This daunting element of the college application is something that can create angst for even the most accomplished students.

What exactly goes into writing a great college essay, and more importantly, what does it take to write one that stands out from thousands of others, landing itself in the “Accept” vs. “Reject” pile?

Breaking Down the College Essay

Let’s start by breaking it down into manageable parts and examining the required elements.

What’s the point of the college essay?

Almost every standard college application requires first-year applicants to submit a personal essay. If you are one of these applicants, you may be wondering, what’s the point?

With so many colleges deciding to go test-optional, (many do not require standardized tests and instead focus solely on your transcripts, essay, and recommendations), the essay is the one place in your application where you can illuminate your character in words and ideas, rather than in numbers and percentages. It is your chance to show schools who you are, what makes you tick, and why you stand out from the crowd.

Admissions counselors will read your essay and try to determine whether or not they want you at their school. While reading, they will be asking themselves, “What will this person bring to our community? Will they make our school a more valuable place?”

What are the prompts?

There are seven personal essay prompts in the Common Application. You may choose to write about obstacles you’ve encountered, your accomplishments and realizations, moments when you experienced extreme gratitude, or select your own topic.

No one prompt is considered “better” than another, but they can vary slightly from year to year, so be sure to read through all of them for your application cycle. At the end of the day, if there is something you feel really passionate about, you can likely adapt it to fit a prompt.

How long should your essay be?

The essay should be 650 words, which might sound like a lot at first, but you will be surprised by how quickly you reach that limit once you get going. Most of the students I work with end up making cuts to shorten their essays before submitting. The word limit is non-negotiable. You will not be able to submit an essay that’s even one word over the limit.

Writing the College Essay

Start early..

Your parents, teachers, and guidance counselors know what they are talking about when they tell you to get started on the essay during the summer before your senior year. Don’t leave it until the last minute. Once senior year starts, life is a whirlwind. Give yourself time when you don’t have other homework or extracurriculars hanging over your head to work on the essay. Aim to start in July or August before senior year.

Starting can be as easy as creating a document where you generate an ongoing list of potential topics. You will want to draft your essay in a separate document anyway. You can copy and paste it over into the Common Application once you have a final, edited version.

Additionally, starting doesn’t always mean sitting down in front of a computer and typing. Talk about topic ideas out loud with anyone who will listen. Discuss ideas for topics with your family members over dinner or on car rides with friends. Think about ideas when you are out for a run or bike ride. Almost all colleges and universities have samples of “College Essays That Worked” in the admissions section of their websites. Reading through these may inspire you.

Keep the focus narrow.

Do not think too big. Your essay does not have to cover a massive, earth-shattering event. Some people in their teens haven’t experienced a major life event. Some people have. Either way, it’s okay.

That leads to another suggestion: Don’t write about Covid-19. Your essay might touch on something that’s an offshoot of your time spent in quarantine or a loss connected to Covid, but it should not be about the pandemic specifically. There’s no question Covid-19 had, and still has, a major impact on all of us, but that topic has been written about by many students from every angle possible. Colleges want to read something different.

The Common Application has added an optional question that gives all applicants a place to address the impact that Covid has had on them personally and educationally. If you feel you have a story you must tell connected to the pandemic, this is the place to share it.

So, what should you write about?

When brainstorming topics, think about challenges you have faced and how you’ve handled them. You can also ask people who know you best how they would describe you in a few words and why. Their responses can be great jumping off points for writing your essay.

Some students choose to write about seemingly small, ordinary topics that illuminate their character beautifully, and are both poignant and thought-provoking. One student I worked with wrote about growing up hiking with her parents from the time when she was a baby in a backpack carrier, to a grumpy middle schooler, to an appreciative, nature-loving young adult who found outdoor experiences were an essential part of who she was at her core.

Other students choose to describe major life events, or especially challenging experiences that have impacted them deeply. An essay that comes to mind is one written by a student who battled loneliness and isolation due to anxiety and depression, and ultimately found invaluable reprieve in the arts, a passion that they hoped to continue to pursue at the college level.

Whether writing about a painful experience or a more simple experience, be sure the essay rises above a strict recounting of a story. Instead, use the narrative to reveal your true self. It’s okay to be vulnerable and honest; in fact, it’s critical you do so. Admissions counselors will not judge you negatively for depicting moments of weakness or fear, or for having different politics than they might. More likely, they will be impressed by your level of self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and introspection.

Be authentic.

Admissions counselors want value-adders. What adds value to a college campus? Students who display energy, resilience, leadership, passion, inclusivity, unique outlooks, and people who can inspire others. Your essay should tell a story that highlights traits like these. No one else has lived your life or experienced what you have in the way that you have; tell your unique story. Use a voice that’s real to you.

This is not the time to experiment with overly formal academic nor romantic, flowery language. Use words you would normally use and show the reader what makes you, you. There is no need to over-inflate things. Trust your voice and the fact that your story is interesting enough in that no one else has lived it.

Be creative.

The college essay is not like a typical English paper. It’s a true blend of the creative and the literary. In creative writing classes you often hear the advice, “Show, don’t tell,” and that applies here — to an extent. The best essays typically do both. You can help your reader see and feel what you are describing by using some figurative language throughout your piece. Describe sights, smells, tastes, tactile sensations, and sounds as you write.

That said, just because you are being creative does not mean your essay should lack structure. This is not the time to experiment with a completely outlandish form. You don’t want to make your readers work to understand what you are trying to say. You want them to be entirely absorbed in the story you are telling. The easiest way to do this is by making your essay easy to read.

Think of the typical five paragraph structure for English papers. Your essay should have an introductory paragraph with a thesis/hook, supporting body paragraphs, and a conclusion that ties everything together. Your story might lend itself to six or seven paragraphs instead of five, depending on where the natural narrative breaks lie, and that’s fine. Just make sure it has a clear beginning, middle, and end.

Be flawless.

Your essay should not have any spelling, formatting, or grammatical errors. Mistakes do not put your best foot forward to admissions counselors, and they are distracting.

Be sure to read, re-read, and share your submission with others to prevent the possibility of mistakes. Use tools like spell and grammar check, and ask at least two other people to read your essay and offer feedback. You can ask a trusted family member to take a look, or even reach out to a friend with exceptionally good writing skills. We often get so close to our own words that we miss obvious errors. Even the best writers in the world rely on editors to help catch mistakes.

Another option is to ask your English teacher or guidance counselor to review your essay. In some schools, students will work on the college essay in English class during the fall of their senior year. This gives them a chance to receive both teacher and peer feedback, which can be incredibly valuable.

Finally, read your essay aloud before hitting submit. It may feel silly, but you will be amazed at the errors you will catch this way.

Make a point.

By the time you reach your conclusion, be sure your essay makes some sort of point. This is what will separate it from the competition. Ask yourself what you want your reader to walk away thinking and knowing about you, and allude to that in your final sentences. A strong conclusion that helps tie the entire essay together, and also points to the bigger picture, is key.

To achieve this, as you finish your final body paragraphs ask yourself “So what?” This will help you hone in on how to end your essay in a way that elevates it into a story about an insight or discovery you made about yourself, rather than just being about an experience you had. Above all, remember that the conclusion should not be an afterthought, nor should it simply summarize the previous few paragraphs.

In many ways, the conclusion is the most important part of your essay as it’s the last thing people will read. Be sure to give it the time, effort, and energy it deserves. You want your readers to pause and reflect at the end of your essay. You want them to feel something, versus just moving on to the next essay on their list.

Finally, remember….

While some students are able to afford pricey college counselors to help guide them through the application process, at the end of the day, there is no magic formula that someone can pay thousands of dollars for when it comes to writing the college essay. Everyone has a unique story to tell and that is priceless. As long as you give yourself the time to brainstorm, and write and then rewrite, as well as ask for feedback from others along the way, you can end up with a solid final product.

One lesson you will learn at college is that the world is full of a wide array of brilliant, interesting, diverse individuals who all have unique life experiences. You are one of those people. Enjoy the process of telling your story, and then relish the opportunity you will have to create more stories as you move onto the next chapter of your life.

how to start an goals essay

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Martin Amis was prolific. Here’s where to start with his writing.

The author, who died friday, wrote more than a dozen novels as well as a memoir and collections of essays and criticism.

Martin Amis, a writer known for novels including “Money” and “The Information,” as well as for his literary criticism and acerbic observations about British and American culture, died Friday at 73 .

Amis, the son of famed British writer Kingsley Amis, became one of the characteristic literary celebrities of his generation. He first broke onto the scene with darkly comedic novels about drugs, sex, finance and media, cutting against what he viewed as the British tendency toward airless, sanitized nostalgia. In middle age, he took on self-consciously grander themes: history, war, the specter of nuclear annihilation, environmentalism. His last book, “Inside Story,” was an autobiographical — and metafictional — reflection on his life, his friendships and some contemporary politics.

“I think there’s a lot of romanticism in my work,” he once told a reporter , “but it’s thwarted by distortion and perversity, false commercial images in TV, literature, porn. The fact is, my satire wouldn’t work if what I’m satirizing were not valued. Like Philip Larkin’s poetry, love is conspicuous by [its] absence.”

Amis was energetically prolific as novelist, essayist, critic and reporter. Here’s where to start:

The major novels

“Money: A Suicide Note” (1984). The first novel of what would become known as Amis’s London trilogy follows an ad man, John Self, as he crosses the Atlantic to make a movie. Amis himself described it as “essentially a plotless novel, … a voice novel.” Here’s how Jonathan Yardley characterized it in his review for The Washington Post : “From first page to last it is one long drinking bout, interrupted only briefly by a period of relative sobriety; it contains incessant sexual activity, much of it onanistic; it has a generous supply of sordid language that would not pass muster in polite society; and it has an unkind word for just about every race, creed or nationality known to exist.” He also wrote that “it is so unremittingly, savagely hilarious that reading it is quite literally an exhausting experience, from which one emerges simultaneously gasping for air and pleading for more.”

“London Fields” (1989). “This is the story of a murder,” the narrator tells us on the first page of arguably Amis’s most widely admired novel. “It hasn’t happened yet. But it will. (It had better.)” The narrator is Samson Young, a chronically blocked American writer. But as with John Self in “Money,” the novel’s most memorable character is the seediest one, Keith Talent, a two-bit thief who aspires to be a champion darts thrower. Amis roasted 1980s New York in “Money” and captures late-20th-century London with the same jaded and very funny eye.

“The Information” (1995). This story of two writer frenemies, one of whom becomes a best-selling success, was overshadowed in the British tabloids at the time of publication by the rumored $800,000 Amis had been paid for it. The author later remarked to an interviewer about his demand for the generous advance: “These things stay with you. For years it was the number one thing people asked about, and it was not my finest hour.” But the book’s reputation has done just fine: In 2019, the Guardian ranked it his second-best novel (behind “Money”), writing: “The comedy is unsparing but affectionate and the existential angst more acute than ever.”

The nonfiction

“The War Against Cliché: Essays and Reviews 1971-2000” (2001). Amis was widely admired by other reviewers for his work as a critic. The Post’s Michael Dirda, reviewing this collection , wrote: “Should you happen to be a writer yourself, or — God help you — a literary journalist, you suddenly know, with numbing clarity, just how Salieri felt when Mozart sashayed into Vienna.” Amis was an “honest and patient” critic, Dirda wrote, and a stylish one: “Whatever Amis chooses to say about a book or a writer seems just right — and lip-smackingly phrased.” This collection includes pieces about Bellow, Nabokov, Kafka, Elmore Leonard and more.

“Experience: A Memoir” (2000). Amis’s memoir, loosely structured but beautifully written and revealing, covers his romantic relationships, his many literary friends, his life with his famous father and his equally famous (or infamous) teeth. (The book’s index entries for “dental problems” are a literary experience of their own.)

“The Moronic Inferno and Other Visits to America” (1986). In addition to literary profiles, this collection of pieces Amis wrote for magazines and newspapers from the late 1970s through the early 1980s also includes his thoughts on Elvis, Ronald Reagan and Steven Spielberg.

“The Second Plane” (2008). Like many other literary writers in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, Amis produced contentious opinion pieces that were met with, at best, mixed reviews. In the New York Times, Leon Wieseltier wrote of this collection: “The results of Amis’s clumsily mixed cocktail of rhetoric and rage can be eccentric, or worse.”

Other fiction

Amis wrote 15 novels over his lifetime. Here’s a sampling of The Post’s reviews:

“Einstein’s Monsters” (1987), reviewed by Bruce Cook . “‘Some readers might like to read the introductory essay last or later,’ says Martin Amis in an author’s note at the beginning of this short, uneven and rather curious book. Writers are always pulling stuff like that. You wonder why, if that’s the recommended reading order, he didn’t arrange it that way in the first place.”

“Yellow Dog” (2003), reviewed by James Hynes . “The novel reads like a midlife crisis, a writer’s equivalent of buying a sports car and running off with a woman half his age.”

“House of Meetings” (2007), reviewed by Thomas Mallon . “The book gnaws at one’s memory. Amis tries to imagine history with the intimacy and specificity that the greatest historical novelists, including Tolstoy, have always presumed to seek for it.”

“The Pregnant Widow” (2010), reviewed by The Post’s Ron Charles . “In this nakedly autobiographical novel, a handful of topless bombshells and horny college kids spend the summer of 1970 at an Italian castle with nothing to do but plot their next orgasms. The setting is exotic, the subject is erotic, but the story is necrotic.”

“Lionel Asbo” (2012), reviewed by Charles . “Here, Amis seems unwilling to exert more effort than it would take to change the channel from ‘Jersey Shore’ to ‘Half Pint Brawlers.’ He’s ambling years behind The Situation and the Kardashians, serving up blanched stereotypes on the silver platter of his prose as though it contained enough spice to entertain or even shock.”

“The Zone of Interest” (2014), reviewed by Tova Reich . “Amis is a wizard possessing the ambition to take on weighty themes, but he is above all a word wizard. … It’s signature Amis at his most inventive, and it is precisely through such inspired and irreverent fluency that his dead-serious purpose is realized.”

Assorted essays and reviews

“Joan Didion’s style,” 1980. Dubbing Didion “the poet of the Great Californian Emptiness” in the London Review of Books, Amis both praises her originality and criticizes the “hollow places” of her writing — where it’s missing, he argues, social imagination and assured literary references.

“The World According to Spielberg,” 1982. Amis confesses to staggering out of the theater, drained of tears, after “E.T.,” and says in the Guardian: “The rule is: no one ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the audience. Spielberg doesn’t need to do this because in a sense he is there already, uncynically.”

“Jane’s World,” 1995. Careening from “Four Weddings and a Funeral” to the BBC television adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice,” Amis reflects on the ’90s wave of the Jane Austen craze — “or more particularly Darcymania” — and the novelist’s enduring appeal.

“A rough trade,” 2001. Amis reported on the American porn industry for the Guardian. What follows — hilarious, shocking, sometimes appalling — should not be quoted here.

Profiles and interviews

The Post’s 1985 profile of Amis . “Money, to British novelist Martin Amis, is in the same vile category as Herpes II, daytime game shows and the Long Island Expressway,” wrote journalist Stephanie Mansfield. She reported that, at the conclusion of their interview in a Washington restaurant, when the check came, Amis did not move; he did not carry a wallet.

… and The Post’s profile from 1991 . On the occasion of Amis’s seventh novel, “Time’s Arrow,” Charles Trueheart had lunch with the novelist and learned that this was the first book that Amis’s father had read in full: “Having gotten completely used to him not reading them, this was a real buzz,” Amis quipped.

A conversation with Salman Rushdie in Interview magazine . The old friends, regarded (along with Christopher Hitchens, Julian Barnes, Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro) as members of the same close-knit literary generation, talked in 2020 about Amis’s autobiographical novel, “Inside Story” — and what Hitchens would have made of Donald Trump.

His Paris Review interview from 1998 . In it, Amis described what he would consider a good day of writing. (He considered it a “part-time job, really,” though also said that, toward the end of a novel, he experienced “hysterical energy” that allowed him to put in six or seven hours at a time.) He also, of course, answered questions about Kingsley: “I’m not at all reluctant to talk about my father, since it’s become clearer to me that it is more or less a unique case.” Amis did, however, breezily profess some resentment of younger writers.


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