Girraween High School

Aspire - Respect - Unite

Telephone02 9636 7293

Setting goals

Setting goals can be an effective way to tackle the challenges inherent to a selective high school. These goals can also layout the academic and career path of young people, giving them a sense of direction. Nonetheless, goal setting can be particularly problematic. Long term goals have the propensity to cause anxiety, especially when the goals are not realistic or the pathways to achieving goals are unclear.

Many young people in a selective high school establish an ambition based upon their parents' desires. They can be driven by what they believe their parents want them to achieve in life. These young people feel as if their parents will withdraw support or love if their goals are unrealised or lack ambition. Ultimately, these goals can be unrealistic and could contribute to anxiety.

At Girraween High School, we have integrated discussions of goal setting in various stages of the students' high school education. In particular, the school's mentoring program provides a specific opportunity for Year 12 students to discuss their goals and to refine them as the year progresses.

The best model for setting and monitoring goals is the specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time method. This strategy works best for goals that can be achieved in a shorter period (up to six months). Goals that stretch beyond this time are more dreams and come with a different set of challenges.

The following examples consider a Year 10 student wanting to improve in science. It can be generalised to nearly all activities or areas of study.


The goal needs to be as specific as possible.

I will organise my weekly notes in science into a tabularised format on my computer as opposed to I will get higher marks in science.


A concrete criteria for the achievement of the goal is vital.

I will be able to complete assorted questions on the specific module of Earth and space, including the ones that I did not do well in the previous exam as opposed to I will do practice papers in science.


The goal is realistic and not measured against others.

I will be able to complete all elements of my prac reports accurately and on time as opposed to I will be above average in science.


The goal is immediately relevant to the student.

I will know more about ‘the stars' in order to fulfil my part of the groupwork assignment as opposed to I will do physics next year.


The timeframe for checking on progress will be transparent and useful.

I will complete my organised notes every Friday before I watch a movie as opposed to I will get a 98 in high school certificate physics.