All you need is a set of clear objectives just like you would in mission or objective planning in the military.  After deciding to take advantage of the military education benefits you’ve earned through your service, you can use a simple, “SMART” method, as shown on www.military.com. for writing down your goals to assure that they are:

  • SPECIFIC
  • MEASURABLE
  • ACTION ORIENTED
  • REALISTIC
  • TIME-DRIVEN

1)    Specific: Make sure that your goals are clearly stated, focused, and concise.  Avoid general terms and give as much detail as you like.

  • A vague example: “I want to get my degree.”
  • A specific example: “I am going to get my bachelor’s degree in computer technology.”

2)    Measurable: Include time frames, dates, dollar amounts, etc. to measure your success.

  • An un-measurable example: “I want to get my degree someday.”
  • A measurable example: “I am going to get my bachelor’s degree in computer technology by next winter.”

3)    Action-Oriented: The goal must call for you to take action.

  • A non-action oriented example: “I want to get my degree someday.”
  • An action-oriented example: “I will take two classes per semester and pass all of the general CLEP exams to earn my bachelor’s degree in computer technology by next winter.”

4)    Realistic:  Make sure your goals are manageable, attainable, and believable.

  • A not-so-realistic example: “I want to get my degree in six months.”
  • A more realistic example: “I will take three classes a semester, pass all of the general CLEP exams, and use my military experience credits to earn my bachelor’s degree in computer technology by next December.”

5)    Time-Driven: Make sure your goals have a starting point, a timeline, and an ending point.  You can also break them down into smaller objectives: short-term (within the next six-12 months), medium-term (one to five years), and long-term (the next five to 15 years).

Get your education with low or no cost out of your pocket with Military Spouse Career Advancement Account.