Abhimanyu Singh a.k.a Abhi (Sidharth Malhotra) comes from a middle-class family, is there on a scholarship, and wants to achieve great heights of success and prosperity; the first step to which will be the Student of the Year trophy. Rohan Nanda a.k.a Ro (Varun Dhawan), is the son of a business tycoon, who grapples with a complex relationship with his father and knows that winning the Student Of the Year trophy will bag him the approval that he subconsciously craves for. When the two mote protagonists with distinct backgrounds and clear goals clash with each other in the locker room, football field and the canteen, there is no question in anyone's mind that the preset equations of the St. Teresa's campus are about to change.
When Abhi and Rohan's rivalry takes an unexpected turn to friendship, neither pre-empts the complications that would brew. Things are further knotted up when Shanaya Singhania (Alia Bhatt), the most popular girl on the campus enters the equation. While Shanaya and Rohan are childhood sweethearts, Abhi's attraction for his best friend's girlfriend and Shanaya's quiet reciprocation causes a rift in their friendship that would have a long lasting impact. Towards the end of the term, the foes-turned-friends-turned foes, Abhi and Rohan, are ready for a face-off and battle lines are drawn through the length and breadth of the campus, with only one goal in everyone's eyes - Student Of The Year Trophy. As new ambitions are born and old loyalties fall by the wayside, each segment of the Student Of The Year competition manages to tear apart both, the participants and the spectators, to redefine the choices of the three protagonists.