A Personal Definition of Success

How do you define college success? The definition really depends on you. You might think that “success” is earning an associate’s degree or attending classes in a four-year college. Maybe success is a bachelor’s or master’s degree or a PhD. Maybe success means receiving a certificate of completion or finishing skill-based training.Woman sitting in office, holding a paper up to the camera and smiling broadly

You might be thinking of other measures of college success, too—like grades. For instance, you might be unhappy with anything less than an A in a course, although maybe this depends on the difficulty of the subject. As long as you pass with a C, you might be perfectly content. But no matter how you define success personally, you probably wouldn’t think it means earning a D or lower grade in a class.

To help you start to define what success means to you, take this quick self-assessment about your college goals and beyond. How many of these items are important to you?

I Want to Be Able to . . . YES NO
Change my major during my college years
Have good relationships with my professors
Be eligible for financial aid
Be eligible for scholarships
Get awards
Get reductions on my car insurance
Prove to my employer that I can work hard
Keep my parents happy
Make connections to get a job after graduation

Finally, consider that we can’t be successful all the time at everything.  We have to balance our energy and our focus, to get what we really want.  The following video stresses the external factors that shape what we consider “success” as a society, and encourages us to think beyond these factors to determine what it really is that motivates us, personally–what we hope will define us, and our value, to others.