• University of Reading

Your Essential Guide to University Life

Prepare for university. Explore everyday life as a student: eating, sleeping, socialising, budgeting and developing life skills.

5,514 enrolled on this course

Educators are currently active on this course

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  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    2 hours
  • 100% online

    How it works
  • Digital upgrade


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, the support available and common questions about what’s ahead.

Develop an action plan as you progress through the course and take it with you as a resource to guide you through those first few weeks and help make the most of the opportunities university has to offer.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 0 seconds If you’re thinking about going to University– –or you’re ready to go– –this free online course is for you. We’ve broken it down into three big questions.

Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds You’ll explore how University is different from school or college, learning to become independent and finding out what University life and culture is.

Skip to 0 minutes and 24 seconds You’ll focus on the practical side of living at uni. And we’ll answer common questions on topics such as living in a new place, budgeting, and what to do when you arrive.

Skip to 0 minutes and 38 seconds Part of uni life is finding the right balance of work, study, and socialising. We’re looking at the opportunities that help you grow as a person and gain experiences you never thought of before.

Skip to 0 minutes and 49 seconds There are a lot of exciting things to think about. And we know it can be a challenging time too. Throughout the course, you hear from uni students and staff– –sharing their experiences and their advice. So you feel more prepared to make those big decisions– –and get off to the best possible start.


  • 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 supportive university community.

    • 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 join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

If you'd like to take part while our educators are leading the course, they'll be joining the discussions, in the comments, between these dates:

  • 17 Jun 2024 - 21 Jul 2024

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...

  • Compare the different expectations of students in further and higher education
  • Explore ways 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 understanding and further knowledge
  • Develop confidence in the type of support and resources available to students at their chosen university
  • Identify opportunities to develop skills during your time at university

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?

My name is Sarah and I work at the University of Reading. I am really excited to support you whilst you think through the transition to university life. Please feel free to ask me any questions.

Hi everyone! My name is Immy and I work at the University of Reading in Recruitment and Outreach. I am really looking forward to helping you navigate this course about transitioning to university life

Who developed the course?

University of Reading

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

What's included?

University of Reading are offering everyone who joins this course a free digital upgrade, so that you can experience the full benefits of studying online for free. This means that you get:

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • A PDF Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you’re eligible
  • Learning on FutureLearn

    Your learning, your rules

    • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
    • 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

    Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

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    Get a taste of this course

    Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

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