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New online courses to help students and parents prepare for university – University of Reading

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New online courses to help students and parents prepare for university

Release Date 16 August 2019

The online courses help students and their parents prepare for university


  • New courses help support parents and prepare students for life at university and the next step in their career after graduation


A suite of new online courses to help students and their families prepare for university and beyond have been announced by the University of Reading.

University Smart, a free, Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) will be launched this autumn to guide parents and supporters of students through the UK’s university application process. It will explore key milestones, address common concerns and recommend further sources of information to help them support their child in making informed choices about where and what to study next.

This new course adds to the ‘Smart’ series of online courses developed by the University to support its campus-based students which includes two closed, invitation only, courses; the award winning Study Smart, and brand new Career Smart.

Find out more about all the online courses offered by the University of Reading >>>

The University of Reading has offered Study Smart to its incoming first year students, before they arrive on campus, for the past two academic years. It explores how university study will differ from their experience at school and college. It also provides advice and guidance from staff and current students about everything from how to manage their time and think critically in their studies, to referencing, how to use the library and where to access the many sources of support the University offers throughout their time at Reading.

Launched this summer, Career Smart offers practical advice and guidance for final year Reading undergraduates on how to plan, prepare for and apply for the next step in their career after graduation.

Another new MOOC Live Smart, is set to follow next Spring. Whilst Study Smart is designed to help students make the most of their academic studies at Reading, this new course will be suitable for anyone preparing to take up a place at University. Offering practical advice from current students and staff, this course will address key topics surrounding living at university, such as building strong support networks, budgeting, eating well and volunteering.

Nicky McGirr, Head of the Online Courses team at the University of Reading said:

“We are delighted our online offering for students will now include tailored courses developed for university applicants, as well as their parents, carers and guardians. We see these as important additions to a growing suite which currently includes two closed courses to support our campus based students at important milestones in their life.”

“Our aim is to provide engaging, informative courses that support access to HE, and to help our campus based students make a successful transition into university, make the most of their time with us, and go on to make the equally important transition into the world of work.”

The University of Reading has recently seen its one millionth enrolment on its online courses programme after launching its first MOOC, Begin Programming, in October 2013; one of the first to run on the social learning FutureLearn platform. In those early days the maximum number of enrolments was capped at 10,000 participants – a target that was reached within 24 hours of the launch.

Since then, the University’s Online Courses team have collaborated with experts from our academic schools and departments and external organisations to design and produce a programme of more than 30 courses.

All courses on FutureLearn are designed so that anyone in the world can access them as long as they have an internet connection. They offer learners an opportunity to explore their  interests, develop professional skills, and/ or discover a brand-new topic.

Further details about the University’s suite of “Smart” courses

Closed, invitation-only courses – for University of Reading campus based students

Study Smart: Your Essential Guide for University

Just about to enter its third run, our new incoming undergraduates and foundation year students are encouraged to take Study Smart before they arrive on campus. Packed with guidance from our Study Advice team and tips from current students and academics, in just three short sessions of interactive articles, videos and practical tasks our students will gain the essential knowledge they need to get a head start at Reading.

Career Smart: Take control of your Future

Developed in collaboration with the University’s and Henley Business Schools Careers Advice teams, this course has been developed to help our final year undergraduates to get organised and prepare early for taking next steps after graduation. The course includes top tips from career consultants, graduate employers and recent alumni on finding the ideal role, to highlighting skills, knowledge and experience to potential employers.

MOOCs - free, open courses for all those considering applying to university and their families


  • University Smart: A parent and supporter’s guide to university entry (Autumn 2019)
  • Live Smart: Your essential guide to living at university (Spring 2020)

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