13 SMART Goals Examples for Academic Advisors

Academic advisors are critical players in any college or university setting, providing students with the advice and resources they need to be successful.

Knowing how to develop SMART goals can help advisors streamline their processes. This effective system takes the guesswork out of goal setting and pushes advisors to be more productive.

In this article, we will look at several examples of SMART goals for academic advisors that can help guide their efforts to reach the desired outcomes for their students.

What is a SMART Goal?

The SMART system will enable academic advisors to establish practical goals for success. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.

Still confused? Here is a detailed explanation of each SMART letter:


When you have well-defined goals, developing strategies for accomplishing them becomes easier. To illustrate, suppose you strive to enhance student retention rates at an academic institution.

In that case, you might focus on developing personalized support programs or collaborating with teachers to identify at-risk students early on. You’ll be able to break down larger goals into smaller steps.


With measurable goals in place, it can be easier to track progress and adjust strategies accordingly. This SMART criterion clarifies what needs to be achieved for the student and advisor.

It allows for a clear understanding of expectations and provides direction toward success. Whether it’s meeting a specific GPA or landing an internship opportunity, advisors must provide adequate support while students work toward success.


It’s important to approach goal setting with a healthy dose of realism. The key is to strike a balance between ambition and feasibility.

You want to push yourself out of your comfort zone and achieve things that matter deeply. But at the same time, you don’t want them to feel like insurmountable obstacles that leave you feeling defeated before you even start.


Establishing goals aligning with your personal values can motivate you to reach your desired outcome. Your core values will act as a guiding force to help you persevere through challenging times and remain on the right path.


A timeline keeps you accountable and allows for better organization and prioritization. Chunking down your larger goals into tasks with deadlines attached makes the path to success less daunting. Plus, crossing off completed items on your timeline fosters a sense of accomplishment.

13 SMART Goals Examples for Academic Advisors

Here are 13 examples of SMART goals for academic advisors:

1. Boost Student Retention

“I will work with the academic team to create initiatives that increase student retention rates by 10% within 8 months. We aim to reduce the number of students dropping out of college and ensure they get the support they need to complete their studies.”

Specific: This goal outlines the action to take (create initiatives) and the desired outcome (10% increase in retention rates).

Measurable: You can track the number of retained students and determine if you’ve achieved the desired 10% increase.

Attainable: Creating initiatives that increase student retention is absolutely doable.

Relevant: The statement applies to your role as an academic advisor and benefits students.

Time-based: Goal achievement is anticipated after 8 whole months.

2. Create Mentor Program

“To foster positive relationships between advisors and students, I’ll create a mentor program that pairs experienced advisors with students by the end of 6 months. The program will allow advisors and students to learn from each other.”

Specific: The goal is easy to understand, detailing the objective and how it will be reached.

Measurable: By creating a mentor program, the impact can be measured by the number of advisors and students that sign up.

Attainable: This SMART goal is feasible with the right resources and support.

Relevant: Creating a mentor program will foster positive relationships between advisors and students, which is relevant to the school’s overall mission.

Time-based: There is a 6-month end date for this particular goal.

3. Maximize Student Satisfaction

“I will increase student satisfaction with my services by 20% in the following 7 months. I want to survey students to evaluate the effectiveness of my services and use those results to make improvements.”

Specific: You will increase student satisfaction by a certain percentage.

Measurable: Set up surveys to evaluate the effectiveness of your services.

Attainable: This is a reasonable goal as long as you take an active role in making improvements.

Relevant: Maximizing student satisfaction is an integral part of your job.

Time-based: You should expect to reach this goal within 7 months.

4. Enhance Collaboration Efforts

“I’ll increase the collaborative efforts with other departments or teams to provide better student experiences by the end of the next academic term. This will include hosting more meetings, workshops, and networking events to help faculty and staff work together better.”

Specific: The person will host meetings, workshops, and networking events to increase collaborative efforts.

Measurable: You can measure the increased collaboration through surveys, interviews, and event feedback.

Attainable: This goal is possible if you plan and host the events with good communication.

Relevant: Enhancing collaboration efforts with other departments or teams is essential for providing better student experiences.

Time-based: Success is expected by the end of the next academic term.

5. Introduce New Technology

“I want to introduce and train staff on new technologies that can help optimize the advising process within 9 months. I hope this will increase efficiency so our students can get the advice and support they need faster.”

Specific: The goal defines the type of technology and the time frame to implement it.

Measurable: You can measure the number of staff trained on the technology and the effectiveness of the training.

Attainable: This is achievable given 9 months to introduce and train staff on new technologies.

Relevant: The statement applies to improving the advising process for students.

Time-based: Nine months are required to accomplish lasting success.

6. Foster Professional Development

“I will design and implement a professional development program for new advisors that includes career-related training and seminars over the 8 months ahead. My aim is to ensure that all advisors have the skills and knowledge necessary for their job.”

Specific: This is explicit because the advisor has outlined a plan to deliver professional development programs tailored to new advisors.

Measurable: Count the number of participants who complete the program and those who gain new skills.

Attainable: The goal is feasible because the time frame allows for the development of materials and resources to be implemented.

Relevant: Creating a professional development program is pertinent to an advisor’s job.

Time-based: Achievement of this goal is expected within 8 months.

professional development

7. Improve Office Efficiency

“I want to reduce the time it takes for students to receive advising help by the end of 5 months. I plan to analyze office traffic, review current policies and procedures, and develop new strategies to streamline the advising process.”

Specific: This describes the desired outcome (reducing time) and activities that need to be accomplished (analyzing office traffic, reviewing policies, and developing strategies).

Measurable: You’ll be able to measure how long it takes for students to get assistance.

Attainable: This is a reasonable goal if you have the resources to invest.

Relevant: Enhancing office efficiency will save students and office time.

Time-based: The SMART goal should be accomplished within 5 months.

8. Strengthen Communication Practices

“I’ll enhance communication with faculty, advisors, and students by creating a more efficient information exchange system. In three months, I will have implemented a system that allows for communication to flow more smoothly and quickly.”

Specific: Create a communication system to help faculty, advisors, and students.

Measurable: Evaluate the system by monitoring the speed and accuracy of information exchange.

Attainable: With three months of planning and preparation, this goal is definitely realistic.

Relevant: This goal is highly relevant because it promotes smoother and quicker communication between the parties involved.

Time-based: There is a three-month window for goal attainment.

9. Streamline College Processes

“I will reduce the number of steps in college processes by 30% over the next two months. I hope that simplifying procedures and paperwork will help students get through the college process more quickly and efficiently.”

Specific: The aim is to reduce the complexity of college processes and simplify paperwork.

Measurable: Ensure the number of steps in college processes is reduced by 30% over two months.

Attainable: This is achievable because it involves streamlining processes, not introducing new ones.

Relevant: This goal is relevant to the role of an academic advisor because it affects how students navigate college.

Time-based: The statement is time-bound, with an end date of two months.

10. Increase Advisor Training

“To ensure academic advisors are adequately prepared for the upcoming school year, we will increase advisor training sessions to include new technologies and student engagement strategies by the end of 7 months.”

Specific: The goal is clear. The academic institution wants to increase advisor training sessions.

Measurable: Training sessions should include technologies and student engagement strategies.

Attainable: Given the necessary resources and time, this goal is feasible within the time frame.

Relevant: The goal is appropriate for advisors to be prepared for the upcoming school year.

Time-based: Seven months are needed to meet goal completion.

11. Enhance Knowledge of Resources

“I want to help our students make the most of their college experience in the next 6 months. To do this, I’ll attend at least two webinars and one professional development seminar to stay up to date on resources available to our students.”

Specific: The goal is concise and clear, stating precisely the objective and how it will be met.

Measurable: By attending webinars and seminars, the advisor can track their progress.

Attainable: This goal can be accomplished by researching and attending webinars and seminars.

Relevant: This is relevant to the college experience because it will help students learn more about the available resources.

Time-based: There is a 6-month deadline for achieving this goal.

12. Improve Career Preparation Services

“I plan to increase the number of career preparation services available for students by 15% within the following 6 months. I want to ensure that students have the resources and materials they need to succeed in their chosen career paths.”

Specific: The goal is clear and focuses on increasing the number of career preparation services.

Measurable: Track the percentage increase to gauge progress toward the statement.

Attainable: Boosting the number of career preparation services by 15% can be done within 6 months.

Relevant: Offering career preparation services are essential for students and the institution.

Time-based: The SMART goal should be completed over the 6 months ahead.

13. Expand Advisor Network

“I’ll reach out to other professionals from similar educational institutions and develop relationships with them. Through these relationships, I hope to create an even larger network of resources and collaboration opportunities over a year.”

Specific: This statement concerns reaching out and networking with other academic advisors.

Measurable: Results are determined by the number of contacts made yearly.

Attainable: Establishing and nurturing relationships takes time, so this goal is feasible.

Relevant: A network of professionals to turn to for advice is a vital resource.

Time-based: There is a time frame of one year for success.

Final Thoughts

Academic advisors are instrumental in helping students reach their educational goals. Using SMART goals, an advisor can stay focused and ensure the student is on track to meet them.

Furthermore, this method encourages students to create realistic expectations for themselves, resulting in higher success rates and increased engagement with the material being studied.

Advisors have a unique opportunity to help students understand their full potential and develop comprehensive plans for successful educational outcomes.

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Rei Shen

Rei is the founder of Success in Depth. Based in Washington, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. He brings years of experience in goal setting to empower readers to reach their aspirations.