White female student in plaid shirt leaning against lockers with books and bag

How to Set Reasonable Expectations for the New School Year

Setting smart expectations for the school year will help you stay on track academically and minimize your stress. Here are a few steps to help you plan ahead.

The start of a new school year can be both exciting and daunting for many students. To combat your feelings of stress, a helpful thing to do as the semester starts is to lay out reasonable expectations and goals for the upcoming year so you can be prepared for what’s to come. Here are a few steps to assist you in planning ahead for a successful academic year.

Reflect on the previous year

A good place to start in setting expectations for the new school year is reflecting on last year. Think about where you were academically in the beginning, middle, and end of the school year and take note of any changes as the year progressed. Did you experience any differences in your study methods or GPA? Did you have to switch or drop any classes? What was your workload like? Were you able to balance your academics, extracurriculars, and social life? As you contemplate, write down the important factors that made significant impacts on your life, but don’t get hung up on the details unless they hold value to your future success. Reflection like this can allow you to see academic and personal areas where you may have made mistakes, what you may have done differently in certain circumstances, and how you would like to take that lesson with you into the future. This first step can set you up for success and allow you to go into the new school year fully prepared.

Related: 7 Easy Ways to Make Your Semester More Mindful

List your strengths and weaknesses

Being aware of your strengths and weaknesses can help you both now and in the future as you learn more about yourself. Making a list can help you identify your weak and strong points to customize your goals and expectations by highlighting or working on them. Set your expectations based on what your strong areas are, then adjust them accordingly based on what you may need to improve. For example, if you think you need to improve your personal responsibility to handle an increased workload for the upcoming year, you can think of ways to space out your work into smaller segments or adjust your schedule to make more time to study. 

Form a detailed list

After completing these first two steps, sit down and create an actual list of all the expectations you have for the school year. Whether it’s related to academics or extracurriculars, write down what you think is most important to consider throughout the year. As you form your points, remember your strengths and weaknesses and find ways to incorporate them into your plan. Take into consideration your reflections as well. Incorporating all these aspects will give you a better overall picture of the year. For example, maybe your math class will be more rigorous than it was the year before, so you’ll have to dedicate more time to study. You know math is a strong suit of yours, but you can’t use that as an excuse to study less. Therefore, you decide to devote a decent amount of time to studying math. This is a detailed point that allows you to clearly state your expectation and relate it back to yourself. 

Related: The Best Back–to–School Advice From Real Students Like You

Setting expectations that are detailed and thoughtful can greatly benefit you. Taking time to make them can be helpful to stay on track during the year and focus on your future. You’ll be better prepared for what’s to come and less stressed when you have to adapt to any surprises that arise.

Find more great advice like this to have a successful and exciting academic year in our Majors and Academics section.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Tags:

About Lianna Jacob

Lianna Jacob is an undergraduate student who has gone through the college admission process and wants to share her experience with others! She enjoys learning more about her Christian faith and spending time with family and friends.

 

 

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Rhiannon Teeter

Rhiannon Teeter

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2012

I have spent a lot of time aggressively searching for scholarships. It was a long and frustrating process until I found the CollegeXpress network. This site made my search so much easier. With the simple check of a few boxes, the site sorted out scholarships I was eligible for and led me directly to the correct websites. Winning this scholarship has definitely given me and my family some financial relief, and CollegeXpress has allowed me to improve my chances of winning further financial aid. Thank you so much!

Makiyah Murray

Makiyah Murray

High School Class of 2021

The college application process has been a stressful one, but CollegeXpress has eased some of that stress with its readily available college resources. At the beginning of the process, I frequently used the college search feature, and now that I’m almost done applying, I’ve started using the scholarship search. Both of these resources have made it easier to find relevant information.

Joycelyn

Joycelyn

High School Class of 2023

I’m currently a college freshman attending Towson University. My major is Information Technology, and I plan to minor in Electronic Media & Film to achieve my goal of becoming a production engineer. Upon graduating high school earlier this year, I was awarded a $5,000 scholarship from CollegeXpress, which greatly assisted in paying my tuition. Truthfully, this financial reward was the difference in affording my room and board and tuition, along with other expenses for school. My family and I haven’t stopped celebrating my award since it was bestowed on me. I will never forget this opportunity for allowing me to get my foot into my university financially.

Samantha Fils-Aime

Samantha Fils-Aime

High School Class of 2019

I love that CollegeXpress has helped me find some scholarships to apply for but also helped me succeed in school with lots of tips. I also really like how they consistently email me about webinars that teach me a lot of things from the comfort of my home!

Maria  Fernanda

Maria Fernanda

High School Class of 2023

CollegeXpress is always telling you with time to spare when to apply for certain scholarships, what they require, and if you’re eligible or not. They also provide helpful tips for both incoming college students and current college students, such as what to absolutely have in your dorm.

College Matches
X

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Miami University

Oxford, OH

Merrimack College

North Andover, MA

High Point University

High Point, NC