A framework for achieving college, career, and life goals

Making Waves Education Foundation’s Wave-Maker Success Framework is meant to open a pipeline for student success in college, career, and life by making explicit the supporting intentions, actions, and resources in ways that are authentic to Wave-Makers’ sense of self and community.

Circular graphic with discovering inner forces and illustration of people, strengthening competencies and illustration of backpack, and navigating college life and illustration of graduate, with combined icon in center

Discovering Inner Forces

Graphic with illustrations of four people with text and icons for Identity, Purpose, and Agency under Discovering Inner Forces
  • Who am I?
  • Who do I want to be?
  • What am I passionate about?
  • What do I want my contribution to the world to be?
  • How do I make intentional choices to shape my life path?

Strengthening Competencies

Graphic with illustration of backpack and text for Achievement, Interpersonal, and Cognitive under Strengthening Competencies

For realizing goals

  • Adaptability
  • Growth Mindset
  • Planning and Prioritization
  • Resilience
  • Responsibility
  • Self-Efficacy

For independent thinking and application of knowledge

  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving
  • Curiosity
  • Decision-Making
  • Intellectual Humility
  • Judgement

For productive and supportive relationships

  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Interdependence
  • Leadership
  • Networking
  • Self-Awareness

Graphic with illustrations of people walking and graduating with text and icons for Academics, Career, Community, Scholarships, and Wellness

Making Waves and Wave-Maker Partnership

Making Waves recognizes that students’ experiences, emotions, knowledge, and skills do not exist independently of each other – particularly as Wave-Makers transition into this stage of young adulthood.

Through coaching and integrated supports, Wave-Makers and coaches and team members develop a relationship that is rooted in agency toward long-term positive outcomes. Wave-Makers partner with their coach to reflect on making meaning of their experience and charting a path forward toward their goals.

  • Have the agency to choose their postsecondary pathway and whether to engage with coaching
  • Bring tremendous talent, skills, and experience by virtue of who they are
  • Commit to setting authentic, manageable goals to guide the coaching partnership
  • Engage with a willingness to reflect openly, learn, and grow throughout their college journey
  • Maintain regular communication with their coach and financial services coordinator based on an agreed upon schedule

CoachES and team members…
  • Continuously build trust and connection with Wave-Makers
  • Bring an asset-based approach, affirming and leveraging Wave-Maker strengths and diverse identities
  • Listen and ask questions to support Wave-Maker sense-making as they progress through growing their knowledge; awareness of how they are navigating their experience and needs; and practice in their new environment
  • Strategize with Wave-Makers toward personal goals
  • Maintain regular and responsive communication with Wave-Makers
  • Review holistic data to inform differentiated Wave-Maker supports

Wave-Maker Success Framework Resources

College and Career Success Resources
Glossary of terms
AdaptabilityBeing flexible when things change
AgencyMaking intentional choices and adjusting course as needed to derive a course of action
CollaborationWorking with others, including people with different backgrounds, values, points of view
CommunicationThe ability to synthesize and share information in a way that is received by the audience
CreativityThinking of new solutions; perceiving the world in new ways, finding hidden patterns, making connections between seemingly unrelated things
Critical ConsciousnessRecognizing oppressive social forces shaping society and taking action against them (integration of identity, purpose, and agency)
Critical Thinking, Problem-SolvingCareful consideration based on synthesized evidence, directed to a goal
CuriosityWanting to know more
Growth MindsetBelieving you can improve your abilities
IdentityHaving a sense of internal consistency of who I am across time and multiple social identities
Intellectual HumilityRecognizing the limitations of your knowledge
InterdependenceHaving the drive to pursue goals and the wisdom to ask for support when I need it
Judgment, Decision-MakingEvaluating options and making deliberate and thoughtful choices
LeadershipGuiding and assisting a group in meeting goals
NetworkingThe ability to connect with other people
Planning & PrioritizationCreating a road map to reach a goal or complete a task; making decisions about what is and is not important to focus on
PurposeClarity of and commitment to making a meaningful contribution to the world
ResiliencePassion and perseverance for long-term goals, including managing through failure
ResponsibilityOwning actions and outcomes
Self-AwarenessUnderstanding your feelings and using them wisely
Self-EfficacyBelief and confidence in one’s ability to influence their own motivation and actions
Wave-Maker Success Framework PDF


In crafting this success framework, Making Waves Foundation team members drew on decades of insights, expertise, and experiences from college coaches, financial services coordinators, and Wave-Makers. We are deeply grateful for those insights and for feedback provided on early drafts. Key references from youth development research, higher education standards, and career readiness frameworks that informed this work include: 

Additionally, Making Waves Foundation partnered with Project Evident during spring 2022 to develop an aligned measurement framework. Through that process Project Evident supported with additional refinement of the success framework as we further clarified program priorities to inform metrics.