A reflective goal-setting intervention could help students adjust to higher education, and improve their performance and well-being, as has been shown by small-scale and quasi-experimental studies conducted so far. However, a large experimental study found no effects, highlighting the importance of replication, and a better understanding of the mechanisms that explain when and why the intervention works. This replication study tested the effects of such a goal-setting intervention on the academic performance of 1,134 first-year business and teacher education students, with a randomized control trial. The treatment group earned significantly more course credits, and had a 15% lower risk of dropping out of college, compared to the control group. Contrary to the findings of previous studies, this study found no evidence that these effects are larger for men, or ethnic minorities. Additionally, we found no effect of the intervention on self-regulated learning, resilience, grit, engagement, or well-being.