This is the last post of my Top 10 Ways for Reaching ‘SUCCESS’ series.  Please check out the first and second articles if you have not done so already.  If you have already read Part I and Part II, please continue on to the two MOST IMPORTANT tips for reaching success.

#2—Have Defined Goals

Nothing is more important if you want to become successful than to set goals for yourself.  Some examples include, “I want to start a candy store by the age of 30” or “I will graduate from college by 24.”  Setting an age is important because this compels you to act on your goal and avoid procrastination.  Once you define what your goals are, then you need to detail how you are going to reach them.  All of these other tips help you when you detail your plan of attack. For example, if one of your goals is to get a job with an investment bank, then you will want to adhere to tip #3 (“Network!, Network!, Network!) and befriend an investment bank recruiter.

This can be done through identifying who these recruiters are by doing research and introducing yourself to them, for example, on a social media website.  If you wish to climb the corporate ladder, then you will need to befriend someone in the company who holds a higher position than you do and develop a mentor relationship with them (Tip #4: Have Mentors.)  If you are a business owner, then you will need to plan on how you will expand your clientele base and watch out for certain pitfalls (Tip #6—written retainer agreement.)  Once you define your goals, these other tips will assist you.

The bottom line: it is pertinent to have goals and make a plan on how to reach them.  Should you fail to establish goals for yourself, you will start to drift aimlessly.  It will not matter who you know because you will either pass up opportunities or hop from job to job.  You will be unhappy.  Having a purpose in life is extremely important not only for your well-being, but also for your identity.

#1—Get A College Degree

In light of the recent economic doldrums facing our country, some pundits will suggest that receiving a college degree is not worth what it used to be.  I could not disagree more.  In order to really succeed in this world, one must be able to graduate from college.  Getting an education is number one on this list for a reason.  A person can follow all of these other tips found in this article, but without a degree, most doors will remain closed.  This is not true 100% of the time; there ARE business savvy individuals who have become very wealthy without a college degree.  These individuals are mainly the ones who have started successful businesses.  A select few enter the entertainment industry as actors, actresses, singers and professional athletes.  They are the minority.  For the remainder who choose not to attend college, the story is grim.  Most will end up with low paying jobs and lack the opportunity to become financially successful.  Some will be content with this choice for various reasons, but most will not.

There are individuals who will no doubt read this and contest the point about getting an education as a valid measure of success.  Some will point out that college is not for everybody.  Others will say that receiving a college degree is out of the question for many poor families who cannot afford the high tuition.  Both of these points are valid.  For some, trade schools help more than a college degree.

For the individuals who cannot afford a college education, there are MANY schools out there who give scholarships to those in need. Community colleges and state schools are also a great option, as they provide a great education at a bargain price.  The other option are student loans, which is something many students will need even if they are given scholarships.  Again, choosing a school is just as important as the decision to attend college.  If you are not independently wealthy and can’t afford a private school, it makes much more sense to attend a state school or a community college that has affordable rates.  In the end, you will receive a top notch education and save money to boot. Look at some financial tips to help you with the process of paying for school.

Andrew Bruskin was president of The National Society of Collegiate Scholars’ National Leadership Council from 2007-2008 and has been president of its Alumni Advisory Board since 2010.  He is chairman of the board of directors of Ecnaillá Groupe and will be working for a law firm in New York City upon graduating William & Mary Law School. For questions or comments, he can be reached at and, of course, on Facebook.