• University of Reading

Live Smart: Your Essential Guide to Living at University

Prepare for the transition to higher education and think about the life skills for living at university and beyond.

2,697 enrolled on this course

Live Smart: Your Essential Guide to Living at University

Get ready for university life and make the most of your time as a student

What do you think university life is like?

You probably have many questions about what to expect. This course will help you prepare for the best possible start, wherever you go.

You’ll hear practical advice on how to navigate university life from current students and staff as they give you an insight into the expectations vs reality, what support will be available, and common questions about what’s ahead.

Live Smart will help you to start making plans so that you can set goals for your future and build on the life skills that will help you make the most of your time at university and beyond.

Hear from our course team

You can take this course at any time. However, if you’d like to engage with the course team, our mentors will be joining the course discussions during the following dates:

11 January 2021 – 31 January 2021
14 June 2021 – 4 July 2021

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  • Week 1


    • Getting started

      Welcome! Meet the team and fellow course participants, before finding out what topics you'll be covering over the next three Weeks, to help you get ready for university.

    • Is uni right for you?

      Is university the right choice for you? Understand the different options available and hear advice on making a decision on your next steps.

    • You and the academic community

      What's studying at uni like? Find out how you'll be part of a wide and diverse university community and who you're likely to meet.

    • More than just a degree

      What will uni be like? Going to uni is more than just obtaining a degree. Find out how students make the most of the opportunities at uni to enhance their academic, work and life skills.

    • Finding out more

      Need more info? So you've decided you're going to uni and you have your choices. Find out how you can further your research to get the right information and gain some top tips on making the most of your uni visits.

    • Review and reflect

      Do you feel more ready for university? Reflect on what has been covered this week and update your action plan.

  • Week 2


    • Welcome to Week 2

      What should you do in advance? There's lots to think about when you start uni; settling into your accommodation, understanding finance and how to manage change. Learn how you can prepare in this Week of the course.

    • Your new home

      What's uni accommodation like? If you're studying far from home, you'll need to find somewhere to live. Most universities have accommodation offices to help you. Find out more in these Steps.

    • Money

      What will you need to buy? There's no getting away from the fact you'll need to spend money at university. Hear our top tips for saving money and making your student loan last longer.

    • Looking after yourself

      How can you prepare before you arrive? Knowing how to look after yourself is key and there's plenty you can do to make the transition to uni easier.

    • Review and reflect

      Do you feel set for university? Reflect on what has been covered this Week and update your action plan.

  • Week 3


    • Welcome to Week 3

      What will uni be like? Find out what you'll be learning in Week 3 of the course and hear how students are making the most of the opportunities at university.

    • Your first week at uni

      How can you make the most of your first week at university? The start of uni can quite hectic. Hear from our current students about their experiences - both good and bad - during their first week.

    • The balance

      How will you fit it all in? It can be difficult to balance study, socialising and work commitments, especially if you have lots of essays due at the same time. Hear tips for managing your time.

    • Your next steps

      You've reached the end of Live Smart. In this activity, you'll revisit your action plan and hear a final word from, David, Lead Educator on the course.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explain the difference between further education and higher education to understand what is expected of a university student
  • Demonstrate knowledge of managing personal finances when it comes to researching accommodation, food and working with budgets
  • Contribute to online discussions about shared experiences to help deepen their understanding and further their knowledge
  • Improve personal and professional skills to gain confidence in and out of university
  • Explore the type of support and resources available to students at their chosen university
  • Develop life skills and tools that will help build independence and resilience for university life and beyond

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone considering or soon to be enrolling at university.

Parents and supporters may also find this course useful to gain a better understanding of what living at university entails, and the sources of support that are available to students throughout their undergraduate career.

Who will you learn with?

Who developed the course?

University of Reading

The University of Reading has a reputation for excellence in teaching, research and enterprise.

Join this course

Start this course for free, upgrade for extra benefits, or buy Unlimited to access this course and hundreds of other short courses for a year.



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  • Access to this course for 5 weeks



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$189.99 for one year

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Find out more about upgrades or Unlimited.

Available until 22 November 2021 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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