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Welsh universities unite to launch support hub for students heading to uni

Today, Welsh Government and all nine universities in Wales will launch a collaborative resource bringing together a wealth of materials that will help students heading to university for the first time to get ‘University Ready’ – the first hub of its kind in the UK.

The last two years have been difficult for students; for those stepping up to university this year it may be an anxious time, while parents, carers and those who advise will have questions of their own about what university life will bring. But Welsh universities have come together to ensure that students can get prepared and find support before they even start their courses.

The University Ready Hub – a bilingual platform providing free support and guidance for those studying in the pandemic and beyond – offers advice on how to avoid stress in the digital age, mindfulness tips and practical study skills such as time management and report writing.

The easy-to-use portal will also provide information into specific areas of academic study and insight into student life, from virtual campus tours, and peer-to-peer support for those already living in student accommodation, to taster lectures and study tips.

With the admissions service UCAS reporting a rise of 17% in applications to Welsh universities this year and over 130,000 students already studying at Wales’ universities, the Hub hopes to make a big difference.

Professor Julie Lydon, Chair of Universities Wales, said: “Starting university is an important transition in a students’ life. For this year’s cohort of Year 13 students, it is understandable that their learning experience will have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This is why Wales’ universities are delighted to be involved in the University Ready project, supporting learners to understand more about university study and life, and building confidence for the transition to higher education. These resources will help students make the most of the many opportunities that their university experience will offer.

“The wellbeing of students is our top priority and Welsh universities are committed to supporting students throughout their university experience, preparing them for a successful future and providing them with the tools they need to thrive and achieve their goals.”

The University Ready Hub is hosted by The Open University in Wales on the OpenLearn platform and has advice on mental health, tips for reducing stress and practical support for the wellbeing of students.

Director of The Open University in Wales, Louise Casella, said: “We are so pleased to have been able to develop this resource with the other universities in Wales to offer support to students transitioning to university study at this difficult time. At the OU in Wales we know that there is no ‘typical’ student and we hope that the University Ready hub can be used by anyone looking to take their next steps in higher education wherever and whenever suits them best and help them feel reassured and supported.

“We have seen significant growth in the number of users of our free OpenLearn platform since lockdown began and it’s fantastic to be able to add this excellent resource to the vast array of free learning already on the site.”

For more information about University Ready, visit openlearn.com/university-ready