Information for parents and guardians about choosing and comparing different universities for your child.
On this page you will find information about:
- How to compare universities
- What to look for during university visits
- Statistics on the make-up of UCL's student population
It is worth thinking about what type of city and university environment may be best suited to the needs and wishes of your child. For instance, UCL has about 40,000 students and is one the biggest universities in the UK. We are situated in the heart of London. About 50% of UCL’s students are form the outside of the UK.
UCL provides students with immediate access to London’s rich and diverse culture and numerous social opportunities. At the same time, our international students bring access to cultures, languages and heritage from across the globe.
Students’ Union UCL and individual academic departments provide students with a myriad of social and cultural opportunities, alongside access to sports.
It is important that students are proactive in engaging with opportunities, but at the same time can manage their schedule and priorities effectively.
Information about the programme content, lecturers, opportunities to study and/or complete a placement aboard, career guidance and placing in league tables are easily accessible on the UCL website. It is important to familiarise yourself with this information in advance of the open day and come prepared with any specific questions you may like to ask.
The visit can be used to walk around campus, go to the student’s chosen departmental building and explore the local area. You may like to visit the Students' Union UCL buildings, the Bloomsbury Fitness gym, the Student Centre and some of UCL’s libraries. The Student Centre provides about 1,000 learning spaces and is many students’ place of choice for independent and group learning.
It is important to have an honest conversation with your child about their feelings and thoughts when visiting UCL on an open day. You can perhaps reflect on the visit a few days later, too. The most important thing is that the student is happy during their studies.
You can ask them open questions, such as "How did you feel?", "What did you like the most?", "What might you need to know more about?" or "What (if anything) might you be worried about?"
It is positive if coming to UCL feels like an exciting, challenging and good place to be; if they find London full of opportunities, new places to discover and enjoy; if being around many people from diverse cultures and backgrounds fills them with curiosity; and if they are open to different perspectives and diverse experiences.
Big cities and institutions can feel daunting and impersonal to some. Visiting for a few days is very different from setting up a life here for a few years. If this is how your child feels, this is fine and it is normal. We all have different preferences. The happiness and wellbeing of the student are the top priority and it is important that they are as comfortable as possible with their surroundings.
You can perhaps explore their thoughts and feelings further. It may be that they just need some reassurance, to speak with a friend, for the family to visit a few times during the first term and/or regular telephone contact. However, if they are feeling too overwhelmed, it may be useful to keep an open mind and visit a few more universities. This will allow you to compare the different options and make as informed a choice as possible. Academic achievements, enjoyment and positive wellbeing are equally important parts of the university experience.