How To Write Smart Educational Goals

how to write smart educational goals

How To Write Smart Educational Goals- Success is not really difficult to achieve like most students think. Ignorance of the secrets of success is what has led to the failure of many. One of the top secrets of success as a student is setting some smart educational goals for yourself. Yes, it sounds so simple, but if you can just take some minutes to read through this article and apply the truths shared, success is assured!

How to write Smart Educational goals

Educational goals are simply statements that reveals the skills, traits and competencies you plan to acquire at the end of a program or course. It is a statement of the expected or required outcome of a program.  Below are the steps involved in writing a smart educational goal.

Step 1: Set both short term and long term goals.

Short term goals are goals that must be achieved within a short period of time, ranging from few weeks to few months.

Examples of short term goals:

Studying at least 3hours every day

Learning 5 new French words everyday

Long term goals are goals that are to be achieved over a long period of time. Examples include:

Studying to become a medical doctor

Mastering French language

Short term goals will help you achieve the long term goals

Step 2: Your goals must be S.M.A.R.T

SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound

S- Specific: In writing smart educational goals, you must avoid all form of ambiguity, your goals must be clearly stated. Don’t use generalized statement.

For instance, let us consider the two statements below,

“I want to pass my exams this semester”

“I want to have a G.P.A of 4.8 this semester”

The first goal statement above is too general and ambiguous while the second goal statement is very specific.

M-Measurable: Your educational goals must be measurable. This will help you track your progress in life. For example:

“I want to master German language”

“I want to master German language in 6months”

The first goal statement is too vague; it is not quantifiable. While the second statement is highly measurable and quantifiable.

A-Achievable: If you want to write a smart educational goal, you need to be realistic and sincere with yourself. For a goal to be achievable, you should ask yourself this question:

With the available materials, time, skills and external factors, would I be able to achieve my goals?

If yes, then your goal is  achievable, but if no, then your goal is simply unrealistic.

R-Relevant: A smart educational goal must be relevant. You should set goals that will help you achieve career objectives in life. For example, if one of your objectives in life is to be an ambassador in your country, then you need to learn more languages. So, you can set goals like:

“I want to master French language in 6months”.

T-Time-Bound: A smart educational goal must have a time attached. This will help you stay on course and motivated. Examples of such goals include:

“I want to study for 2 hours every day for the next 5months”

“I want start and complete my graphics class in 12 months”

Step 3: Set goals that are bigger than you

Don’t set goals that are within your capability but rather a goal that is bigger than you. Setting a goal bigger than you does not imply that you have to be unrealistic. For example, if you can study for only 2 hours a day but you desire more, you can set a goal like this:

“I will study for 4  hours everyday”

Instead of:

I will study for 6 hours everyday”

Statement two is very unrealistic while statement one is very achievable

Step 4: Develop practical and actionable steps to achieving such goals

It is not enough to write down smart educational goals, you must devise a strategy to achieving those set goals.

For instance, if your goal is to study for 3 hours everyday

Then you can take some practical steps like:

  • Choose a time of study
  • Choose a place to study
  • Have a study time-table
  • Have all the relevant materials needed for study, etc.

Step 5: Have a mentor/Coach

No matter how tall you grow, you cannot see the center of your head, except with the aid of a mirror. Mentors are like mirrors through which we see ourselves in a better and clearer perspective. After writing out your smart educational goals, you need a mentor to help you assess what you have written. With a coach or mentor, the probability of making mistakes is very minimal.

More useful tips on goal setting

  • What are some of those things you desire to do in the nearest future? It could be career related, vocational, language, etc. Think deeply about it.
  • Write them down preferably in a place where you can regularly see it.
  • You can share these goals with some of your trusted fellows, most especially the ones that will encourage and support you.
  • Draw out the practical steps you intend to apply in achieving those goals.
  • Mark off the steps as you accomplish each one.
  • Celebrate every level/step of achievement.

Practical Examples of Smart Educational Goals

Example 1: Giving a Speech

I have been invited to speak at the opening ceremony of St Dave’s schools color day which will take place in 4 weeks’ time. To learn more about colors, I have downloaded 4 different books on colors which I will have to go through for 2 weeks. The remaining 2 weeks will be to practice daily before my mirror so as to gain enough verbal confidence.

Example 2: Learning a new language

I intend to master the language of French in 6months time. I will be enrolling for a 4-month French course in a language school online. While taking the course, I will ensure I learn at least 5 new French words daily. I will also join a French community on Facebook where I would be able to meet people that we can communicate and relate in French.

Example 3: Weight Loss

I plan to lose 20kg in 3 months. I will be enrolling in a fitness club by this weekend. In addition, I will be jogging through my street every morning for 30minutes. I will be replacing most of my fatty foods with vegetables and fruits. I will also be joining a fitness community on the social media where I can learn more tips about weight loss.

Example 4: Getting an internship placement

I want to do my 6-month internship in a multinational company. I have a list of 10 multinational companies here in the United Kingdom. I will be sending my application letters to the 10 companies by next week. I have started practicing aptitude test questions in preparation for the aptitude tests I would be writing in those companies.

Example 5: Getting better grades

I want to make a GPA of 4.8 this semester. I have already gotten the scheme of work for the semester which I would be using at my study times. I would try as much as possible not to  skip any lectures this semester. I would be spending a minimum of 2 hours daily in the library to study and also at least 2 hours in the night to study. I would be creating a study group with 4 of my very good friends so we can study together and trash out difficult problems.

Why You Should Set Educational Goals

  1. Goal setting is very crucial to achieving success in school.
  2. It helps the student acquire some vital life skills like organization, communication, self-awareness, planning, etc.
  3. It helps students learn time management.
  4. It motivates the student.
  5. With goal setting, it is much easier to track your progress in life.
  6. Goal setting gives you a sense of direction and helps you stay focused.
  7. It boosts your self-confidence.
  8. Setting goals helps you stay determined and committed.
  9. It trains you to overcome challenges that may cross your path.
  10. Setting goals help you identify your strengths and weaknesses.
  11. Goal setting improves your self-esteem.

Rules of Writing Smart Educational Goals

Write down your goals

Past scientific research reveals that writing down your goals is one of the effective steps in achieving your set goal. No matter how sharp your brain is, you will still need to write down those goals.

Be Flexible

The only constant factor in life is change. There are some factors related to achieving your goals that may change. When such happens, it may also affect your set goals. At such times, you may need to make some adjustment to the set goals.

Be Realistic

Even though, it is recommended that one sets a goal that is bigger than oneself, however wisdom is needed. You don’t set a goal that is too large for you to achieve. For instance, if you normally read 1 hour every day and then you decided to increase the study time this way:

           “I will study for 7 hours everyday”

            That is being unrealistic. Rather, your goal statement should be:

           “I will study for 4 hours everyday”

            Then when you have mastered studying for 4hours, you can then increase the number of

            hours again.


If you want to write smart educational goals as a student, you must be persuaded, self-motivated and self-driven. Having smart educational goals will help you achieve better results than some other students with no goals. So, start writing down those goals and work towards achieving them. The sky is your starting point!


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