Setting SMART goals for securing college admission and Beyond

Setting SMART goals 

Securing admission in a reputed college is quite a challenge. Indeed, the pressure will be on both children and parents. More so, if children are specific about pursuing a career-oriented or trendy course that is close to their heart.

Then again, you might have come across agitated parents trying to seek college admission for their wards through long waits, recommendations and power games. The stress is more pronounced when the children lack focus or fail to assess their aptitude and interest for a course. Consequently, parents start toying around with the aptitude and passion burdens of their wards. For instance, while seeking college admission, they look for courses that will sound good while sharing with friends and family. Or they tend to calculate the return on investment, be it gender-based or societal based.  Ultimately, getting admission into the right course, in the right institution hangs by a thread.

Therefore, it is important that children set SMART goals for getting admission into the right course, in the right college or university. As we know, SMART is the acronym for SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ACHIEVABLE, RELEVANT & TIME-BOUND. So how can they set SMART goals?


This is expressing your goal in concrete terms. In simpler terms, it is answering the five W’s – What?  When? Where? Why?  Who?

For example:


  • course do I like to do?
  • are the eligibility criteria?
  • assessments do I need to take?
  • do I expect to learn?
  • will be the duration?
  • resources do I need?


  • do I have to apply?
  • will I get my admission results?
  • will I complete the course?
  • shall I get credentials?


  • do I need to send the applications?
  • do I prefer to do the course?
  • will I stay?
  • will I get training?


  • do I need to do the course?
  • did I choose this location?
  • do I need scholarship?


  • should I approach for guidance?
  • will be my mentor?


Goals need to be framed in a manner that it can be measured and progress can be evaluated. Progress towards goal need to be constantly analyzed in terms of –

How much –

  • did I achieve?
  • more to go?
  • time did it take?
  • How many times did I attempt?
  • How much time do I have still?

You need to set your goals in such a way that it will show your achievements in measurable form.


You need to frame attainable and realistic goals. Setting a goal beyond your abilities, knowledge or skills will be futile.  Goals need to achievable within your means, aptitude, and focus. You need to know your limitations.


It is imperative that the goal you set is relevant to your needs, priorities and career choices. You need to take care that the course you are seeking admission into will provide you with the relevant skills, abilities and training to mold your career.


Goals have to be time-specific. Setting goals without deadlines will be ineffective. Make sure to set a deadline for each goal that you have framed. Try to meet the deadlines without compromising on the quality or value of your aspirations.

Example – Setting SMART goals

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