5 “SMART” steps to make studying in Sweden a reality


Written by Jordan

01 Feb 2021

So you want to study in Sweden, but you’re feeling a little overwhelmed as to where to start? Have no fear, this blog is here. I applaud you for getting to this point. You’ve set a goal and now you want to do everything that you can to achieve it. And I am hopeful that this guide can help you get there.

In one of my first jobs after undergrad, I had a boss sit me down to talk about goal setting. He said that a good goal is always “SMART”, and a “SMART” goal is one that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time bound. And word on the street is, adhering to these guidelines can increase the likelihood of you actually achieving said goal.

Sounds pretty good, right? Alright, let’s get to it then. 

What you are going to need:

Time: 30 minutes
Space: Anywhere you can focus
Materials: Pen, paper or computer
Suggested materials: A warm beverage and a snack because why not?
A goal: To study in Sweden

In this activity, I am going to lead us through each letter of the SMART acronym, referring to our collective goal “to study in Sweden”. For each section, allow yourself 5-10 minutes to respond to the set of reflection questions. If you cannot answer the questions right now, that’s okay! It just gives you a to-do list in order to make this goal come true for you.

Part 1: Specific → A specific goal should be narrow and avoid being too vague or ambiguous. This allows one to be able to more effectively plan.

Photo: Giphy

Now let’s take time to think about the goal “to study in Sweden”. How can we make this more specific?

1. When do you want to study in Sweden? This year? Next year? In 5 years?
2. Where do you want to study in Sweden? At which city and which university?
3. Which program do you want to study?
4. Why is this goal important to you?

→ An example of a specific “study in Sweden” goal is as follows: “I want to study in Sweden in Fall 2022 at Uppsala University in the Master’s program of Peace and Conflict Studies.

Part 2: Measurable → Define how you will track your progress. How will you measure that you are on track to reaching your goal?

Photo: Giphy

The goal “to study in Sweden” can be measured in a few different ways, but knowing what is required from an academic, financial and logistical perspective is a great way to help break down this goal into bite size pieces. These questions below can help you think of ways to measure your progress towards achieving your goal.

Before you applying –>
1. Have I met the necessary educational requirements of my intended program?
2. What other goals need to be achieved first before you achieve this goal?

For example…
1. Are you still in high school or undergrad?
2. Do you need to improve your English or take the IELTS test?
3. Do you need to make a financial plan?

While you apply –>
1. When is the application deadline for my desired study period?
2. Have I finished the online application?
3. Do I have the required documents needed to apply? Have I sent them in?
4. Can I afford the application fee?

After you apply –>
1. If I get accepted, how am I going to afford studying and living in Sweden?
2. How much money do I need to apply for the student visa?
3. Did my student visa get accepted?
4. Have I found housing?

Part 3: Attainable → It may seem obvious, but it is important that your goal is attainable. Is it actually possible to achieve this goal within the timeframe that you want to achieve it?

Photo: Giphy

If your dream is to study in Sweden, I believe there is certainly a way to make that happen; however of course, for some, achieving this goal will be much harder than it is for others. It is important for us to be honest with ourselves. Perhaps you want to study in Sweden this Fall, but it would be more realistic to apply next year or the following. 

Reviewing the above mentioned measurable reflection questions as well as the one below can help determine whether or not this goal is attainable for you within the timeframe you have set for yourself.

1. Can I accomplish this goal? Is it possible given the current circumstances of my life to achieve this goal?
2. Does my previous educational background make me eligible for this program? 
3. Can I financially afford this goal? If not, are these scholarships you can apply to?
4. If not now, is it possible for the future? 
5. What do I need to do in order to remove those obstacles to make it happen?
6. How realistic is this goal based on these external constraints?

For many students, finding a way to finance their studies is one of the biggest obstacles they have to overcome. Thinking ahead and making a plan to overcome these obstacles, like researching available scholarships and applying for them on time, is one way to help overcome a financial constraint. 

Part 4: Relevant →  Is this goal relevant to who you are, the values you hold and the long-term dreams you have for yourself?

Photo: Giphy

I am a big believer that our deepest desires are planted from wisdom. If you want to study in Sweden for the sake of studying in Sweden, I believe that is a good enough reason. But of course, it is important to reflect on your motivations behind wanting to study in Sweden to ensure it is a relevant goal for this stage of your life.

1. Why do I want to study in Sweden opposed to somewhere else? 
2. What do I actually know about Sweden
3. What do I hope to accomplish from studying in Sweden?
4. Does studying in Sweden align with my values and goals I have set for myself?

I encourage all students interested in studying in Sweden to really do their research before committing to this goal to study here. We can read a lot of things or hear a lot of things about Sweden, many of which are true, some of which may not be, so be sure to do your due diligence and check for yourself

I believe knowledge is power, and before making this big investment you want to make sure you have all the information possible to ensure you make an educated decision on taking this next step or not.

Part 5: Time bound → It is important to set an ambitious but still realistic deadline for when you hope to achieve this goal. Having a deadline will help you to plan and prioritize the necessary steps and tasks needed to achieve this goal

Photo: Giphy

Making deadlines for ourselves allows us to then make the necessary plan or strategy. And a plan makes a goal seem less scary and more doable.

1. When do I want to study in Sweden? When is the earliest and when is the latest?
2. When is it most realistic for me to study in Sweden?
3. What deadlines do I need to meet in order to study in Sweden by this time?

Almost there!

So there you have it! 5 “SMART” steps to help make your goal to study in Sweden a reality. When you feel overwhelmed, remember it is all about breaking it down into bite size pieces. I encourage you to write this all down and put it in a place where you can see it. As you finish certain milestones, you can cross them off your list and see just how close you are hearing, “Welcome to Sweden” over your landing plane’s intercom.

For more information check out these links below:

  1. universityadmissions.se ↗️
  2. studyinsweden.se
  3. sweden.se ↗️

Written by Jordan

01 Feb 2021