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We all need some way to motivate ourselves when faced with difficult and challenging tasks.

Use the two tools below as honestly as you can in order to find the things you can use to best motivate you to succeed academically.

Although you can complete both "mentally," I encourage you to print this page, write down your answers and hang on to them. Review them often. Simply knowing what motivates us can help us overcome the obstacles in our lives.



Identify goals that will motivate you to complete your educational program. Although all the goals listed may be important to you, select only the three that motivate you the most (Maiorana, 1980).


___ My ego requires that I graduate with the highest possible honors. I will be motivated only to reach for A grades. Getting high grades is the name of the game.

2.  Career preparation

___ I want to be fully prepared in my chosen career area. I want the recognition that comes from competence; I want to know that I can excel above others after graduation.

3.  Personality growth

___ I am motivated by my desires for self-improvement. I want to improve my ability to communicate with and relate to others, and my ability as a potential leader. Becoming a better person is what I really want out of college.

4.  Campus recognition

___ I want to be known on campus through athletic, dramatic, musical or political activities. In order to leave my mark on campus, I must keep my academic eligibility.

5.  Fun

___ I admit my hedonistic needs. I’m only going to be on campus once, so I want to live it up. I want this to be the most exciting time of my life. I want to survive academically so that I can enjoy the next four years.

6.  Degree

___ The degree is the thing — that's why I am here. I need it to open doors later on. To me one degree is as good as another, but I must have a degree to reach my career goals. Learning and good grades are secondary.

7.  To prove my ability

___ I’m here to prove to others (parents, siblings, high school teachers and so on) that I can earn a degree. They don’t think I can, so I’m going to show them.

8.  Money

___ I want college to prepare me to make money and lots of it. I want to learn all the angles, improve my confidence and be prepared to gain quick upward mobility after I start to work.

9.  Aesthetic

___ I’m here to learn to enjoy the artistic side of life more. I want to increase my appreciation of the better things in life.

10. Altruistic

___ My primary goal is to create a better world through politics, religion or one of the helping professions.

11. Social skills

___ I want to be comfortable with people in all environments ... to be graceful in working with others. I want to be accepted by all people from all cultures.

Now that you've checked the three campus goals that are most important to you, list them below in the order of their ability to motivate you.

1. __________________________________________________

2. __________________________________________________

3. __________________________________________________


Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation




The following questions are designed to help you think about your motivation and to give you some insight into it. Read completely through each group of items; then rank them in importance by using 1 for the phrase that best applies to you, 2 for the phrase that applies next best, and so on (Deese, 1979).

1.      I came (or will come) to college because...

___ I know what I want to be and college preparation is necessary for it.

___ my folks want me to even though I don’t.

___ I thought it would be a lot of fun.

___ I wanted to gain knowledge and understanding of the world I live in.

___ many of my friends did and I wanted to be with them.

___ I wanted to get away from home.

___ I am particularly interested in athletics and student activities.

___ a college degree seems indispensable in this day and age.

___ I like to study and am particularly interested in certain subjects.

2.      I want to make grades that are good enough to...

___ stay in college.

___ meet degree requirements.

___ let me participate in extracurricular activities.

___ put me on the honor list and give me special recognition.

___ have an outstanding record in college.

3.      My motivation for making grades is to...

___ prove to myself that I am learning something.

___ secure a good job recommendation.

___ please my family.

___ do better than my competitors.

___ live up to my reputation of being a good student.

___ be respected by my teachers.

4.      I sometimes don’t study when I should because...

___ I worry about my personal problems.

___ certain subjects simply don’t interest me.

___ I am too involved in extracurricular activities.

___ I have illness and poor health.

___ things going on around me distract me.

___ I tend to keep putting off my work.

___ I am easily tempted to do more interesting things.




Copyright 1996 Amy S Glenn
Last updated:   03/01/2022   0200

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