30 Best SMART Goals For Students

Setting smart goals as students is one of the ways to accelerate towards success.  It helps them to learn so much about themselves, the world, and life in general. Frankly speaking, our lives are filled with thoughts and plans to achieve some life goals which can help us to measure our personal growth and success. For that reason, our goal has to be SMART goals. 

To guide you as you get set to write your smart goals as a student, we have put this article that explains what setting a smart goal looks like and how to make the best of each goal.

What Are Personal Goals?

Personal goals are the total of all that you are set to achieve for yourself in life within a timeframe. They could be in form of business goals, family goals, lifestyle goals, school goals, and many more. Here, our focus is on your school goals because as a student, if you strike off school goals from your list, you may be heading down the hill. 

What Are SMART Goals?

The S.M.A.R.T. process was originally a management concept that was presented as a SMART way to write management goals and objectives. The word SMART stands for:

  • S – Specific
  • M – Measurable
  • A – Attainable
  • R – Realistic
  • T – Timely
  • Specific – your goal should go straight to the point. It should be more detailed to help you realise it.
  • Measurable – if your goal is not measured, you may not understand when you are making progress, when you are stuck to a point or when you have hit your target.
  • Attainable – no matter how specific or measurable your goal is, if it does not have a formula for achieving it, it may never be achieved. Your circumstances must comply for you to attain what you set out to accomplish.
  • Realistic – this somewhat seems similar to the attainability of your goal. A realistic goal considers the reality of your circumstances. Your goals must be relevant to your current classes, jobs, direction, etc. The relevance of the goal makes it realistic.
  • Timely – you must set a timeline to achieve your goal. When do you hope to achieve it? All your actions and activities must work together with you to make sure that once you get to that point you set, you will be able to hit your target.

Whatever you plan to achieve in life, you must try to set corresponding goals towards it. This gives you a sort of motivation and something to be optimistic about. That is why setting SMART goals is always advisable for you. They could be long-term or short-term goals. Making the goals SMART will help you a lot in working toward achieving them.

30 Top SMART Goals for Students

The following are 30 top SMART goals examples that you can set to improve your life as a student. They cut across different areas of life but generally fall into the category of academic goals. Some of them are daily and weekly habits while some can take a longer time to achieve.

1. Dedicate an hour every week for your career development 

Setting some time aside to focus on your career is a priceless decision. You may end up increasing the time allocation as the year progresses. Ensure you maintain each specific time allocation because it will be beneficial to you in the long run. You can begin by researching potential careers that align with your major. This may lead you to meet your professor or some top leaders in some firms around you to make more inquiries about your career. You can also make appointments with a career center. All this is aimed at working towards having a successful career in the future. You need more consistency as a student due to the distractions that might surround you.

2. Learn something new per week

Your life will not revolve only around your schooling and career. You have other areas of your life that also needs attention. Dedicate an hour or more a week to learn something new. There is no end to learning and whatever you learn now may become useful at a later date. Add some vocabulary to the catalog. Learn one foreign language. Listen to a podcast. Develop your hobby. There are uncountable things you can do aside from your schoolwork.

3. Have a budget for your money

You should learn how to manage your finances now. You don’t need to start working before you can apply control on how you spend your income. Develop some skills around budgeting now that you are still a student. Some SMART budgeting goals include setting a limit to what you can spend on weekends or how frequently you visit some websites that consume your money.

4. Limit the time you spend on your screen

Hell, no! if you are addicted to the screen, this might seem a bit daunting. Your social media, online friends, trying to keep up with the Joneses and other stuff that may sound exciting to you are some things you need to consider cutting down on. Incredibly, you can use your screen time function to measure how much time you spend on the screen and on which app you do that the most. What’s more, you will have more space on your schedules to accommodate other goal-oriented issues. It might surprise you to see how much time you spend on your phone.

5. Read for pleasure

Reading books that are not related to your school is incredibly rewarding. It is a way to minimize stress, improve your memory and intensify empathy. It is good to read all your coursework and study at a great pace, but you can take a break by reading novels, motivational books, biographies, history books, and other books that offer refreshing moments to you. You can even replace your online activities with reading some books. Hey! You don’t need to read much. Just one book per month is considerable. 

6. Find an internship

Working as an intern is a way to try out various career paths, duties, and positions and also to build your resume. You may not want to start from scratch when looking for your entry job, isn’t it? That is why you can make the best out of your time as a student. There are paid and unpaid internships as well as part-time jobs. Don’t forget that money is not everything, getting experience at your level is the best you can do for yourself. Your summer holiday will be a good starting point.

7. Work towards adulthood

You wouldn’t want adulthood to meet you unprepared, would you? Adulthood is hard, though it has its privileges too. You can start taking some little but consistent steps in arriving there. By the time you become an adult, you will be feeling like a boss because you will tick so many goals off your list. 

8. Improve your listening skills

Whether talking to a classmate, random person, or a friend, it has been discovered that most people do more talking than listening and that is not worth emulating. You should be able to pay active attention to the other person when having a discussion or a meeting. This is a way to understand stuff easily and learn better. You can ask for feedback from those who are closest to you to measure how much improvement you are making with your listening skills.

9. Speak out to be heard

Some people are shy of a crowd or having a face-to-face chat with someone they are not used to. This might sound cool but not the best. If you are in this category, you should make conscious efforts to improve your speaking skills. It helps to increase your visibility. You can only be seen if your voice is loud enough to attract attention. This, in no way, does not mean you should just be talking, but learn how to lend your voice in discussions that are worth having.  Set a SMART goal to make your voice heard and your personality more visible. You never can tell who is listening or watching.

10. Improve your public speaking skills

You might be wondering what you’ve got to do with public speaking as a student. A lot is involved! Your class could choose you to make a presentation, you could become the one to present the project carried out by your group, etc. Would you say no if you happen to be selected? So, start making your research on that and make out time to rehearse every bit of it. This is to get you prepared ahead so that you do not feel jittery or lose your voice at the sight of a panel. Setting a SMART goal towards this will help you to become better personally and professionally. 

11. Improve your time management skills

When it comes to setting SMART goals, timing is one of the key factors. You’ve got to minimize how you spend your time on distractions and less important things. You cannot increase productivity if you are not able to minimize distractions. Some distractions are not worth it, you know. For instance, sitting all day in front of your system and chitchatting with your friends online is not a healthy way of maximizing your studentship. Creating a to-do list is one of the best SMART goals for students. You can use a time tracker to get yourself on track and accommodate other areas of your life that have been relegated to the backseat.

12. Be an early riser 

Every world-class leader of today makes it a point of duty to wake up early. As a student, waking up early helps your memory to become refreshed. You can wake up by 5:00 am and take care of a couple of things before getting prepared for school. Reading early in the morning when your brain is cool helps retentiveness too. You can try it out and you will never regret doing it.

13. Enhance your emotional intelligence 

Becoming emotionally intelligent is the order of the day. In your studies or career, you must learn how to be in charge of your emotions. When you are in charge of your emotions, it will make you less reactive to issues, empathetic to other people’s plight, easily understand others, manage every difficult situation, and a whole lot of things that will be put under your control. You can improve your skills in this area and become a better leader.

14. Engage in volunteer work

Volunteering is a way you can use to help others and contribute towards putting smiles on other people’s faces. You can set a SMART goal of volunteering two hours a week for community services in your area or online. It feels good when you give back to society in the littlest way you can. Are you short of any volunteering ideas? You can teach some kids your favorite subject and help them with their assignments. You can also help a nursing mum babysit while she takes some fresh air with her friends.

15. Network with others

Networking is vital to your growth academically and in your career. If you are a shy person, you need to crawl out of your home and get to meet people who share the same mindset as you or simply connect with others. You can attend student get-togethers, student week, and other networking events. Set a SMART goal to meet and share some moments with at least one person at each event. 

16. Increase your typing speed

Increasing your typing speed to 60 WPM in three months is a good idea. It is said that you can save 21 days in a year by typing faster. You can set a goal to boost your typing speed and accuracy in just three months after which you can learn another skill.

17. Improve your diet

It is not surprising to see students eat more junk food. While this may be a way of saving time by not cooking, it may have a long-term negative effect on you. You can cut down on eating junk food by giving yourself to cooking your meal. You may not do this always but set some days to cook, prepare your dessert or walk up to the school café to grab something for your tummy. While at it, minimize the rate at which you take soda, sugary drinks, and snacks.

18. Improve your physical fitness

Having a great shape is fabulous. It is one of the best SMART ways to increase your self-confidence. You can participate in a weekend marathon or other activities organized by your school. You can also go to the gym and engage in specific exercises aimed to keep yourself fit. Not to forget, exercising regularly helps to improve memory.

19. Sleep well

As a student, you need good sleep. Sleeping is not just about the number of hours to put in but how relaxed you felt afterward. You can cut down on your television by sleeping early. Set an alarm for it, just as you set an alarm to wake up early. 

20. Get good grades

If your life is filled with activities and distractions, there is one area of your life that will suffer it and that is your studies. Ironical, your studies should be the most important aspect of your student life. Do not joke with it. Hence, you can set a SMART goal of studying for some hours every day. When you intentionally study, your grades will be grateful to you.

21. Keep your apartment neat

Having a neat apartment is a way of encouraging environmental hygiene. Take out an hour each week to give your house a thorough cleaning.

22. Becoming an active professional

There is no end to what you can dream of. If you want to become one of the top leaders in your industry, it is important that you start now to push yourself forward. You can join the student body of your profession and attend their meetings and activities. Doing so is a way you can grow and get conversant with the trends in the industry and how you can fit in.

23. Enter a competition

You can enter a competition of different categories – beauty pageant, academic, sports, and so on – if you have the skills and passion. Entering a competition helps you to hone your skills and work towards perfection. Granted, you must not always win, but you may never lose. You will also get to learn so much about yourself and some other life lessons. Give it a try. Work on your speaking skills and other skills surrounding your passion. 

24. Get your first media appearance

The media appearance is one way of enriching your resume with things that matter. It helps you to become more knowledgeable in your areas of interest. There is a lot you can do here: get interviewed by the school newspaper, get interviewed by a blog or local news station, write an article for the magazine, become a guest on a talk show, and many more.  

25. Make a presentation in a group

Working on a goal alone might be more challenging to you than working as a group. Since you will end up working for an organization one day, you can start now to practice how to work as a team. You never can tell where taking this role will take you.

26. Apply for a scholarship

Getting a scholarship will help to take care of some of your school demands financially. Keep applying for scholarships, even after getting paid. You could snag a new scholarship to handle your student loan. 

27. Learn to cook a meal from scratch 

You may have a particular dish you enjoy eating but lack the skills to cook it. This could be a great opportunity to learn how to do it yourself. Moreover, you will discover that you have saved much cooking the food than buying it out there. you can also cook in a group to save costs.

28. Demonstrate growth in your reading accuracy and fluency 

You can do this by reading 70 words per minute with 95% accuracy. Practice reading for a minimum of 20 minutes per day. It does not matter your level in school, if you have some hiccup with your reading, it is never too late to perfect the skills.

29. Meet with each of your teachers

This is very important for a serious-minded student. At the beginning of the academic year, you can meet with your teachers and have some discussions with them in a few minutes. It is a way of getting to know your teachers and also registering your presence on their minds. In the future, you will feel comfortable meeting any caliber of person. If you are a timid student, you can build your self-esteem this way as well. 

30. Find a mentor

Mentors can help to chart the course for you. That job you want to have someday; you can start preparing for it now. A mentor will give you sound advice and help you to identify your strengths and weaknesses. That could be a good standpoint to develop more professionally than your mates. You can spend one-month exploring mentor options to find the best fit for you. It also helps you get more confident in reaching out to strangers.


Your SMART goals as a student can just be about anything. However, you will need loads of discipline and focus to achieve just anything you put your mind to. Ensure not to let one goal eat deep into the time to achieve others. 

This can slow down the progression and make things boring. You can always use any of the above and work on yourself. By the time you are out of school, you may not need any extra help to figure out things to do.


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