Settling in at UCL

The first term at university can be a challenging time. Trying to balance the social and academic demands of university can be difficult, not to mention tiring. You may feel that everyone around you has settled in easily, made loads of friends and is also managing to excel academically. Don't worry, you are not alone! Many students struggle in the first term whether it is finding friends, managing money or getting used to university level study. Even if you have been at university for a few weeks or months (or even years!) there are still things you can do to help you settle in and enjoy your time at UCL. The box below outlines some ideas that could help, as well as the contacts of people and services that you may need along the way.

One of the great aspects about university is the opportunity to try new things, and there are clubs, societies and activities to suit all tastes.

  • Clubs and societies

From Anime to Yoga and everything in between, there is a society or club to interest almost everyone! Find out more about UCL's Clubs & Societies.

  • UCL Union

Visit the UCL Union website for information about union entertainment, clubs and societies, sports and fitness, volunteering, jobs, rights and advice and lots more.

  • Department-based social events

A lot of departments have their own student societies, which are a great way to meet other people on your course, particularly later year students who advise you about studying in the department. Check out whether your department has a student common room or tea room as well.

  • Volunteering

The Volunteering Services Unit (VSU) can help connect you with one of over 300 charities, help you set up your own project, and also offer a range of one-off volunteering activities. Getting involved in volunteering is a great way to get settled at UCL, make new friends and discover London.

  • Student Ambassadors and Mentors

Become a representative of the university, working with schools and colleges, prospective students and visitors to UCL. This is a great way for you to develop transferable skills, such as communication, leadership and self confidence, and to get involved with the local community.

  • UCL Events

You can go to a range of public events at UCL, including lectures, performances and exhibitions.

  • Bloomsbury Theatre

The UCL Bloomsbury Theatre is UCL's own London West End theatre - enjoy drama, comedy, dance and more!

Besides going to your classes, completing assignments and getting involved in the social life at UCL, it’s also important to take care of the administrative side of things. This is the side of university life that few students think about, and it’s not the most exciting part, but it’s vital to your success.

  • UCL online timetable

The online timetable lets you see your personal timetable week by week and can be used to find out when things are being taught across UCL. Use it to select course units which will fit in your timetable. Your personal timetable will display all the course units you are registered to attend including lectures, seminars, tutorials, labs, film screenings, computer training and more.  Check it regularly for changes to dates, times or locations.

  • Administrative contacts you need to know

Your department will be your first point of contact for most administrative matters related to your enrolment. (See list of departments for a link to yours).

If you are studying an interdisciplinary programme and therefore studying across a number of different departments, make sure you know who your main contact person is.

  • UCL Student and Registry Services

The Student and Registry Services division has responsibility for the administration of student affairs. Student and Registry Services is located in the South Wing on the main Gower Street site and the offices you may need to visit during your time at UCL include Admissions, Student Disability Services, the International Office, Student Financial Support and Student Records.

  • Portico

Portico is the UCL Student Information Service and all students are responsible for maintaining their own personal details, particularly their address, via this website. You can also get your results on Portico.

  • Information Services

Visit the Information Services Division's website for advice about setting up your UCL email, accessing the UCL network, IT training and more.

TIP: Even if you already have a personal email address, you must check your UCL email account frequently. Many important messages will be sent to you at this address instead of through the post, and you could miss vital information if you don’t check it often.

You might have heard that university is about being independent and assume this means you’re on your own to sort things out. This is only true in the sense that people won’t always chase you and offer help when they think you need it: instead, you need to recognise when you need help, then ask for it. There are many sources of support available to you.

Online Support at UCL

  • Support Services for Students - Lists the locations, phone numbers and email addresses of the UCL student support services.
  • UCL Student Support Pages - You may have worries about your studies, financial concerns, problems with relationships or the difficulties of living in a big city far from family and friends. Most students face concerns of these sorts at some time in their student careers. This website is designed to help with some of these problems and worries. There are information pages on various common problems amongst students and a peer support discussion group.
  • Sources of Support: a comprehensive listing of help available to you both within and outside UCL.

In Person Support Services

  • UCL's Health Centre - on the main campus, houses an NHS General Practice providing services for treating illness and maintaining health. A dental practice is also located in the Health Centre. 
  • UCL Psychological Services is dedicated to helping UCL students with personal, emotional and psychological concerns. Visit their website for further details on the kinds of help available.
  • Student Disability Services provides additional support to students with physical and sensory impairments, specific learning difficulties, autistic spectrum disorders, mental health difficulties, and long-term health conditions.
  • Student Union Rights and Advice - The Rights and Advice Centre has officers to give you advice on just about everything about being a student, and your life outside university.
  • Dean of Students (Welfare) - Dr Ruth Siddall is the Dean of Students (Welfare). She oversees the provision of student support services at UCL, You can make an appointment to discuss any difficulties you are having with the Dean or a member of her team.

Other Support Services

  • Nightline - A confidential listening support and information service run by student volunteers, from 6pm – 8am nightly. Tel: 020 7631 0101. If your query is not so urgent, you can also send your questions to Nightline via email and they aim to answer you within 48 hours: listening@london-nightline.org.uk

Academic Support

Most of the academic support you need will be found in your department through tutors, lecturers, administrative staff and other students. There are also a number of services throughout UCL that offer additional academic assistance.

  • Study Skills - Information and advice on university study skills can be found on the Transition Programme website
  • Writing Assistance - You may find that the style of writing expected of you at university is different from the writing you have done before. This is a skill you will develop during your course; if you want some further assistance, have some trouble picking up the appropriate style, or want to learn more about academic writing, UCL has a Royal Literary Fund Fellow available to see any student from any department. Students visit John to learn more about structuring their work and writing effectively.
  • If English is not your first language, the UCL Centre for Languages and International Education (CLIE) offers courses in English language, including English for Academic Purposes.
  • Key Skills are the vital skills you will develop during your degree, such as communication, team work, critical thinking and time management, important for your success on your degree and in employment. The Personal and Professional Development Framework allows students to reflect on their skills development while at UCL.
  • UCL is committed to equal opportunities and fair access for all its students and staff. Each department in the university has an equal opportunities officer who will help you with finding out further information. To find out who your Departmental Equal Opportunities Liaison Officer (DEOLO) is please visit the DEOLO Network website. There is also useful information available at UCL's Equalities website.

Page last modified on 08 apr 13 18:07