Virginia TechDivision of Student AffairsCook Counseling Center

Constructive Suggestions Regarding Motivation

It is your responsibility to make college a growth experience for you. The following suggestions and resources may be helpful.

1. Attack the problem of goal setting directly.

  A. Gather information about your interests, abilities, values, and needs through
  • Tests
  • Counseling
  • Self-evaluation
B. Gather information about occupations.
  • Career Planning offices at colleges have files of this type of information.
  • Use the Occupational Outlook Handbook.
  • Check out the Career Exploration resources at
  • Get first-hand information from people working in a field that interests you.
C. Gather information about training requirements and training programs.
  • Use the above resources.
  • Use college and other catalogs.
  • Explore college programs on line.
  • Get first-hand information from professors or those in the field.
D. On the basis of the information, start making decisions that lead you in directions you want to go.

2. Attack personal problems directly.

  A. Use the services of a Counseling Center.
  • Individual counseling or therapy.
  • Self-help materials.
  • Group counseling or therapy.
B. Attack the problem yourself.
  • Self-evaluation.
  • Direct confrontation of others involved in the problem.
  • Accept responsibility for initiating changes you want to make.

Motivation Checklist

The following checklist may prove helpful in getting at the sources of poor motivation. If you want to improve your motivation, you may want to choose a self-directed improvement program or use this information as a focus for counseling.

1. Really preferring something other than attending this university:
    __ Would prefer not to go to college.
    __ Would rather attend another college.
    __ Would rather attend college in another kind of community
    __ Would prefer a different kind of training.
2. College as means to ends other than learning:
    __ To avoid getting a job
    __ To find a mate
    __ To have a good time
    __ To get away from home
    __ To prove self-worth
3. Distracting personal problems:
    __ Conflict with same sex
    __ Conflict with opposite sex
    __ Conflict with parents
    __ Lack of confidence
    __ Undefined resistance to college
    __ Angry at the world
    __ Overuse of drugs or alcohol
    __ Fear of evaluation
    __ Difficulty in making decisions
    __ Lack of financial resources
    __ Marriage problems
    __ Phobias and other anxieties
    __ Insecurity
    __ Loneliness
4. Lack of interest
    __ Undefined vocational goals
    __ Undefined educational goals
    __ Course material is not what I think is important
    __ Interest in school is not the “in” thing among my friends.
5. Continuing self-defeating behavior patterns:
    __ Excessive dependence on parents or others
    __ Fear as a motivator
    __ Parents as motivators
    __ Grades or academic achievement as motivator
    __ High school habits


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