National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version


Document Type



Chapter 6, pages 103-117

In: Advising for Today's Honors Students, Erin E. Edgington, editor

National Collegiate Honors Council, Lincoln, Nebraska, United States, 2023


Copyright 2023, National Collegiate Honors Council. Used by permission


Section headings:

What is an intention?

The value of setting an intention

Setting an intention with honors students

Ron’s intention

Katherine’s intention

Final thoughts

The experiences provided are just two examples of how, with the guidance of an advisor, honors students might formulate and incorporate an intention into their lives. This simple yet profound technique is a useful addition to the advisor’s toolbox; it presents the opportunity to help students examine their values, who they are, who they want to be, and how they want to live their lives. This critical reflection can result in a clear focus and systematic means for prioritizing actions in the future. Setting an intention is a deeply personal process and a valuable activity for college students. The unique and evolving role of the honors advisor provides the ideal situation to engage in this meaningful guided exercise with students.

The intention-setting process can be boiled down to a few quick, but thought-provoking steps:

1. Reflect on prior experiences and consider personal aspirations and priorities.

2. Create a quiet space to draw the focus to the present and allow the mind to wander unassumingly and without criticism.

3. Brainstorm ideas, phrases, and words to help set an intention; be creative with the process.

4. Set an intention and find a useful way to commit it to memory.

5. Focus regularly on the intention for support and guidance.

6. Evaluate the significance of the intention on a recurring basis. When intention setting is incorporated into a larger discussion with students about their ambitions and definition of success, advisors create rich and useful pathways for understanding students’ educational, personal, and professional goals. Advising encounters and the powerful one-on-one exchange that they entail are an ideal environment to support meaning-making and living life with purpose.