Information for parents and guardians of UCL students


Choosing a university

Information for parents and guardians about what to consider when supporting your child who is thinking of applying to university.

As a parent or guardian it can be difficult to identify the university that will fit the interests and needs of your child best. Here are some things to consider when reviewing different university options.

Atmosphere and community

The atmosphere of a particular university can be difficult to gauge if you are unable to visit. We suggest that you look at the university website and YouTube channel, and check if there are online open days or opportunities to chat with current students.
Research the values of the university and whether or not they resonate with your child. Are they the right fit for this university?

The UCL View

At UCL we are looking for brave thinkers – people who are intellectually and culturally adventurous, and are open-minded enough to take on new ideas and form new ways of thinking about the world.

UCL is a global community. 48% of our students and 35% of our staff come from outside the UK. We offer a wide range of subjects attracting students and staff with a variety of different perspectives, ideas, and aspirations. Our community is large,  diverse, and dynamic, and in that way very much mirrors the city in which we are based.

To understand our community better and to get a sense of what it feels like to study here, be sure to visit one of our open days or chat to a current student.

Students looking at artefacts together

What kind of teaching can the student expect at the different institutions? Most UK universities will use a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical sessions and independent study.

The UCL View

At UCL, a core principle of our education is that we teach students how to think, not what to think. As a result our students develop critical thinking skills and become more analytical in their approach. These skills are important not just at university but beyond it too.


Rankings can give an indication of the quality of the teaching, research, innovation, entry grades, career destinations and environment at different institutions.

Different rankings focus on different things and give more or less weight to the various elements being evaluated. 

Whilst rankings offer a useful shorthand guide to the quality  of an institution, we would not recommend that an application be made  solely on the basis of rankings.  It is important to be comfortable with the choice of programme and department, as well as the location of the university and the atmosphere.

The UCL View

UCL is consistently ranked as one of the top global institutions overall, and has a range of subjects that are rated top in the world.

UCL sign in Japanese Garden

London is a busy metropolis and hub of academic, social, and professional opportunities. It is a vibrant and dynamic city, full of exciting things to do and a huge array of people to meet.  For some students London is the perfect fit but others may feel big cities are daunting and impersonal.  We all have different preferences.   The happiness and wellbeing of our students are the top priority and it is important that they are as comfortable as possible with their surroundings.  Is your child looking for a location like London in which to enjoy their studies?

The UCL View

UCL is based in the heart of London. We are just a 15-minute walk from Oxford Street in an area called Bloomsbury. We are close to Kings Cross, the British Museum, the British Library, and the offices of Google and YouTube. The majority of our student accommodation is within walking distance of our campus, with no accommodation more than 20 minutes away on public transport.


Remember that whilst all of the universities on your shortlist may offer the degree programme that the student would like to study it is not the case that all programmes with the same title are the same. Have a look at the modules available at each institution to see what the content is and to check if it  matches the student’s interests. Also, consider other aspects such as the opportunity to take modules from outside the main subject area, or whether there are study abroad or internship options offered as part of the programme.

The UCL View

UCL offers over 400 undergraduate programmes across 11 faculties with a wide range of options available in each subject area. There are also many opportunities to study abroad, with 32% of our student body having undertaken an experience abroad in 2018/19.