SMART goals for students that you can actually achieve (2023)

Get ready for real success.

Setting goals will help set you up for future success, especially if you start setting professional and personal standards from an early age. But the way you think about your goals can affect whether or not you actually achieve them.

As a student, you want to set goals that you can achieve to keep yourself inspired to keep going. An achievable goal will help you avoid burning out and feeling discouraged. The easiest way to set yourself up for failure, whether you're trying to make more money or lose weight, is to set goals that you can't actually achieve.

Fortunately, there is a trick to help you set goals that you can stick to in the long run!

This is where SMART goals come in. With the SMART goal system, you can create goals that really work where you are right now, giving you a specific, measurable, and most importantly achievable framework.

Let's start.

What is a SMART goal?

SMART is an acronym and stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Accessible
  • Important
  • limited in time

Instead of setting vague goals that you may or may not achieve, set SMART goals that will help you develop a strong framework for what you want to achieve.

The goal of SMART goals is to give you a concrete roadmap of where you want to go, with ways to track your progress and keep you informed. (We'll get to some soonExamples of SMART goalsto show you how it all works).

If you want to set a relevant goal, a measurable goal, you need to make sure that it meets all of the SMART criteria. Double-check that your goals meet all of the SMART boxes by asking yourself the following questions:

Is it your specific goal?

There is a big difference between the goal of getting good grades and the goal of maintaining a certain grade point average. "Getting good grades during the school year" is not specific or concrete as each person has a different definition of good grades.

(Video) How to Set SMART Goals | Goal Setting for Students

Saying you want to maintain a GPA of 3.5 or higher, commit to being on the Dean's List, or strive for all A's is more specific and concrete.

Is your goal measurable?

Determine how you will measure your success. To say that you save money is vague. The commitment to save 25 percent of your salary, or $100 a month, is measurable and solid. Having a specific, tangible goal makes it easier to track your progress and hold yourself accountable.

Is your goal achievable?

They probably taught you to dream big. But you don't want to set yourself up for failure and weaken yourself.Trustby setting goals that you simply can't achieve. Trying to get a bachelor's degree in a year, for example, is probably not feasible, for almost everyone.

Stay in control by being honest about your time constraints, financial constraints, your abilities and your talents.

Is your goal relevant?

Keep a healthy perspective on your goals. Setting SMART goals means understanding whether a given goal is really worth it and whether now is the right time to achieve it. For example, trying to train for a triathlon while at the school play is counterintuitive: There just won't be enough time (or energy) to really excel at both.

Is your goal limited in time?

Deadlines and time frames can be great motivators. Saying you'll exercise 15 minutes every day makes more sense than just saying you will.trainregularly. Setting the goal of falling asleep at midnight is more effective than saying you want to close your eyes more each night.

While these time-based limitations may change over time based on your needs, they are good for helping you achieve your goals. If you end up needing more or less time, you can tweak things. (And if you're not sure how long certain tasks should take, you can just steer clear as best you can.)

Goal Setting: The Importance of Setting SMART Goals for Students

Setting (and executing) goals is a life skill that you must learn to be successful. Goal setting with the acronym SMART helps you develop autonomy and self-motivation so you can stand up for yourself and really thrive in your own life. While college students aren't fully in the so-called "real world" yet, practicing how to set goals and benchmarks is now an important skill to improve.

Using the SMART system in goal setting helps you accomplish many things: if you want to be a better student, get good grades, find extracurricular activities that really enrich your college experience, you name it, SMART goals can give you the framework you need. need to do. these things happen. It will take practice to shift your thinking from vague to specific, from fluid to measurable, but taking the time to achieve the right goals is a rewarding endeavor.

When you set effective goals, you set yourself up for success and enable continuous personal improvement. Not to mention that you feel immense pride every time you achieve a goal that you have set for yourself.

Examples of SMART goals for students

As a student, you have a lot of balls on the line, so to speak, that make up your entire life. You have your lessons: studies, exams, grades, etc. You have your social life and the new friends and experiences you're going to make, especially when you go to college. You have your professional life blossoming, like when you start your first job search.

(Video) How To Turn Your SMART Goals Into Habits and Actually ACHIEVE Them

The following sample SMART goals for students are divided into categories to help you quickly create your own goals in different areas of your life. Use these examples as inspiration to consider what you personally want to achieve. (Remember: you can use the acronym SMART for short- and long-term goals.)

academic goals

Example: Visiting your professor's office hours during the first month of lectures


This goal is specific: you don't just say that you will meet your teachers and talk to them in a vague and open way. Set a specific goal to meet with everyone during their assigned office hours.


This objective is measurable, because in the meeting you can check with which professors you have spoken.


This goal is achievable because it takes a long time to achieve it.


This goal is relevant because meeting your teachers early in the semester can help you develop a relationship with them. This can be important if you need additional help, are looking for a mentor, need a referral, etc.

limited in time:

This objective has a time limit, since you set yourself a period of one month.

More examples of SMART goals in this category:

  • Set aside time each week to study
  • Apply to a specific number of colleges or graduate school programs
  • Check in with your student advisor regularly for support.
  • Participate in class discussions by raising their hands a set number of times per week.
  • Join college clubs that align with your academic and career goals
  • Finish coursework on time (before the due date)

Career goals

Example: Securing a summer internship at a law firm until the end of spring break.


This goal is specific because you are not just looking for a job, but you want to do an internship in a specific field.


This goal is measurable because you are hired or not, there is no vague middle ground.


This goal can be achieved as long as you give yourself enough time to do it, from researching companies to sending out resumes and interviewing. Of course, you also need to make sure you're qualified for the position you're applying for.

(Video) SMART Goals Quick Overview with 21 SMART Goals Examples


This goal is relevant if you want to become a lawyer or study law.

limited in time:

This objective has a time limit, since a firm deadline is set in which you will be hired in a law firm.

Other examples of SMART goals in this category:

  • Visit your Campus Career Center once a semester
  • Spend a set amount of time on the same day each week researching new job opportunities
  • Monthly follow up of contacts for mentoring and networking opportunities.
  • Attend at least two advanced training seminars per semester.

financial goals

Example: Apply for 10 college scholarships in the first semester of your senior year


This goal is specific because you are setting a benchmark for the number of scholarships you are applying for.


This goal is measurable because you can mark your grants at the time of submission.


This goal can be accomplished by the fact that you can probably use the same letter of intent and cover letter for many of the applications, making adjustments here and there as necessary.


This goal is relevant if you need financial aid for college.

limited in time:

This goal is time-limited, as you give yourself a one-semester deadline in which you can complete and submit your application.

Other examples of SMART goals in this category:

  • Commit to learning about mutual fund investing for 20 minutes a day so you understand how to grow your money over time.
  • Stick to your budget by reviewing your spending once a week
  • Divert extra money to meet a specific savings goal you set each month

Self Care Goals

Example: Take time to read by choosing a new book to read each month


This target is specific because you are drawing a shape ofpersonal carethat's important to youYdescribe how you will achieve it.


This goal is measurable because you can tell if you have finished your book or not.

(Video) SMART Goals - Quick Overview


This goal is achievable if you commit to reading every day as a leisure activity.


This goal is relevant if you like to read and want to do it for rest and relaxation to balance your academic and social commitments.

limited in time:

If you commit to reading one book per month, you commit to completing your current book by the end of the month.

Other examples of SMART goals in this category:

  • Go to bed at a certain time each night that seems reasonable to you
  • Set aside time each week for fun and leisure activities.
  • Monthly visit to career counselor or therapist
  • Eat a balanced diet by shopping for healthy foods and eating out only three times a week
  • Creating an exercise and training plan, including the frequency and type of activities planned
  • Get out into nature once a week by enlisting a friend to hike with you

relationship goals

Example: Keep in touch with school friends by hosting a Zoom Hangout every two weeks


This goal is specific: You have a who (your friends from school), a what (a virtual hangout), a when (every other week), and a where (via Zoom).


This goal is measurable because you can see where you've engaged with these Hangouts on your calendar.


This goal is achievable because you need to find time in your schedule to get on Zoom for 15 minutes at least every other week if you really care about connecting with these friends.


This goal is relevant because being close to these friends is a priority for you.

limited in time:

This goal has a time limit, as it repeats every two weeks. You know when it will arrive and can plan accordingly.

Other examples of SMART goals in this category:

  • Check in with parents and family members several times a month
  • Limit time on social media to X hours
  • Commit to two to three social events a week to make new friends.

Work smart and not hard

Goal setting in general is important to achieving what you want out of life. But setting SMART goals sets you up for true success. Practicing goal setting using the SMART framework is a skill you can continue to work on throughout your academic career and into your adult life.

Use the examples above to get inspired and set your own goals. SMART goals help you achieve both academic success and personal satisfaction. With the right goal setting, you'll have the motivation and roadmap you need to achieve anything you set your mind to.

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