SMART Goals: Examples for Students
Heidi Zwart
smart goals examples for college students

Setting goals is an important skill to learn in college so that you can continue to succeed in the future. SMART goals are a popular and easy to remember method of goal setting. The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Here are some examples for students of each of these goals:

A Specific goal example for students:  “I want to make the Dean’s list this semester” instead of “I want to get good grades.”

A Measurable goal example for students:  “I will exercise 3x each week” instead of “I will workout regularly.”

An Achievable goal example for students:  “I will apply to 3 internships my senior year” instead of “I will get hired by my preferred employer after I graduate.”

A Relevant goal example for students:  “I will graduate with a Psychology major and Business minor” instead of “I will get married by the time I’m 25.”

A Time-Bound goal example for students:  “I will go to bed at 11pm each night” instead of “I’ll try to get more sleep.”

Each of the letters in the SMART acronym work on their own to make goals more likely to achieve, but when they’re put together the impact is even greater. 

Here are some SMART goals with examples for students. 

Set a goal for grades in every class

Some of your classes are going to be harder than others. Know the workload expected of you, evaluate your ability in that subject, and decide how much time you need to dedicate to that class. Then, set a SMART goal for each class. Use the criteria above to make it specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

Partner with career services 

SMART goals can help you map a strategic plan for your time during and after college. Make a goal to visit career services each year to help in your goal setting and decide what you want to accomplish while there. They have up-to-date, relevant knowledge of the industry you’re interested in and may be able to connect you with alumni who can help post-graduation. 

Check-in with your advisor & professors

Your SMART goals should include networking with your advisor and other professors on a regular basis. Set benchmarks for each year or each semester around how often you will check in with them, getting to know them and learn from them. These relationships will help you both now and in your future pursuits. 

Practice self-care

College life can take a physical and mental toll on you. Creating SMART goals around how often you will exercise, how you will eat, and how you will destress will support your wellbeing. Consider bringing in an accountability partner, using the mental health services on campus, and getting enough sleep so that you tend to your health in everyday life.

SMART goals work for a variety of academic, physical, and emotional wellbeing goals when you’re in college. These are just a few examples. We’d love to hear more about SMART goals that have worked for you! 

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