20 essential things to do for your arrival here at UCL

5 September 2018

There are lots of things to do to ensure you settle into university life. In case you’ve forgotten any, here's our list of the top 20 things you’ll need to do so you can hit the ground running!

essential things

Here's our essential list of things to do to ensure that your start of term runs as smoothly as possible. Whether you do them before you arrive, the moment you get here or within your first few weeks, as long as you get these done, you’ll be off to a flying start.

1 Download the Welcome to UCL app

A handy app to help you get ready for your arrival, with a full schedule of induction events and much more. Available on the App Store, Google Play and desktop.

Download the Welcome to UCL app now!

2 Get your vaccinations

If you haven’t already got them, make sure you get your meningitis (ACWY) and MMR vaccinations as soon as possible.

Find out more about the MenACWY vaccination

Find out more about the MMR vaccination 

3 Register your phone number with UCL’s Information Services Division (ISD)

This will allow you to reset your password if you forget it through the MyAccount system and avoids you having to visit the ISD service Desk in person.

Visit MyAccount

4 Tell UCL Student Support and Wellbeing (SSW) about any disabilities or long-term health condition (if applicable)

You should get in touch with SSW if you have any kind of disability or long-term physical or mental health condition. This will help ensure that the right support is in place during your programme.

Find out more about declaring a disability or long-term health condition

Contact Student Support and Wellbeing

5 Ensure you bring/have any medications or prescriptions that you require (if applicable)

If your course is three to six months long and you’re on regular medication, you are advised to bring sufficient supplies for the duration of your programme of study.

Read more about health advice before you arrive

6 Make sure you have access to Portico

Portico should be fully available to you once you have completed pre-enrolment. It is very important to have full access to Portico, as it hosts several essential services.

You'll need your UCL user ID and password to log in (these are set up as part of pre-enrolment). If you have any access issues, contact the ISD Service Desk by email, phone or in person in the Science Library for support. 

Visit Portico 

7 Collect your Biometric Residence Permit (if applicable)

If you're an international student on a Tier 4 Student visa, you'll need to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) within your first 10 days in the UK. You should be notified when it is available for collection. You will need to do this before you enrol.

If you chose to collect your BRP at UCL during your visa application process, then you will be contacted directly by the UCL Student Immigration Advice and Compliance team with full instructions on where, when and how to pick up your card. 

Find out more about Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs)


Completing your in-person enrolment appointment is the final step to officially becoming a UCL student. You'll be able to find details of your enrolment appointment in the confirmation email sent to you when you complete pre-enrolment.

You'll need to bring certain documentation with you to your enrolment appointment.

Find out more about enrolment

9 Collect your student ID card

After enrolling, you'll be directed to collect your student ID card, which you should keep with you at all times while on campus. Your ID card is necessary to gain access to most UCL buildings.

10 Attend your local induction events

Depending on your programme, you may have induction or welcome events in your faculty, department and/or programme. Many of these will provide you with vital information for your course.

Details of these events will come from staff in your department. Please contact them directly with any enquiries.

11 Check your UCL email account

All information from your department and central UCL teams will be sent to your UCL email account, so it is vital that you check it often.

You'll need your UCL user ID and password to log in (these are set up as part of pre-enrolment). If you have any access issues, contact the ISD Service Desk by email, phone or in person in the Science Library for support. 

12 Register for modules (if applicable)

Depending on your programme, you may have to register for optional modules on Portico. You should do this as soon as possible after you arrive and speak to your department if you have any issues.

If you're an affiliate student (coming to UCL on a Study Abroad (JYA), Erasmus, Independent Affiliate or other exchange programme), please read through the information on the page below. Please ensure you attend the ‘Meet Your Department’ session during ISOP or speak to your department as soon as you have enrolled.

Read information on how to make up your programme of study as an affiliate student

13 Register with the police (if applicable)

Some (but not all) international students on a Tier 4 Student visa need to register with the police. Not doing so if required is a criminal offence. Your visa and Home Office letter will indicate if you need to register with the police.

UCL has worked with the Overseas Visitors Records Office (OVRO) and will be offering a limited number of appointments for those students who need to register, making the process easier. More information about this will be made available in September at the link below. If you need to register but do not sign up for an appointment through UCL, you will need to go directly to OVRO within 7 days of arriving in the UK.

Find out more about police registration, including whether or not you need to register

14 Get your Erasmus form signed (if applicable)

If you are studying at UCL on an Erasmus placement, you'll need to get your Erasmus form signed in the Student Centre.

See Student Centre opening times and location

15 Make sure you have access to Moodle

Moodle is UCL's virtual learning environment, with a wide range of resources and online features to complement your face-to-face learning. You should check to see if your Moodle account is set up correctly.

You'll need your UCL user ID and password to log in (these are set up as part of pre-enrolment). If you have any access issues, contact the ISD Service Desk by email, phone or in person in the Science Library for support.

Visit Moodle 

16 Get a student bank account

If you don't have a UK bank account, opening one is a good idea to manage your money more easily and safely. Some banks will be present on campus at the start of term to help international students with the account opening process.

Home students might also want to look into opening a student account for additional perks such as overdrafts.

Find out how to open a UK bank account

17 Start your programme and meet all your relevant academic support members

Check your timetable and make sure you hit the ground running by attending all lectures, seminars and other sessions. You should also meet with the staff and mentors assigned to help you during your time here at UCL. Whether this is your Personal Tutor (all taught students at UCL are assigned one), members of your supervisory team (if you’re a research student) or your Transition Mentor (if you’re a first-year student), there are staff here who are a great place to go to for personal and professional development.

18 Register with a doctor (general practitioner)

It's vitally important to ensure that you're registered with a doctor (a GP, or general practitioner), so that you can access healthcare easily if you need it. 

If you live in north or central London (which is the case for most UCL students), then you should be able to register online with Ridgmount Practice, UCL’s partner health clinic, which is located near the main campus. If you live further away, you should contact your local GP surgery to register there.

If you're on a short-term programme, please be aware that you may not be able to register with a doctor, but should still be able to see one as a temporary patient if needed. 

Find out more about registering with a doctor

19 Familiarise yourself with UCL Student Support and Wellbeing

Your health is just as important as your academic success, and UCL Student Support and Wellbeing provides a wide range of information, advice and support services to help you maintain positive physical and mental wellbeing. Key services include UCL's counselling team (Student Psychological Services) and daily drop-in sessions with mental health, wellbeing and disability advisers.

Make sure you know what support is available and how to access it if needed.

Learn more about Student Support and Wellbeing 

20 Attend the Welcome Fair

Following the first week of term on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 September 2018, Students' Union UCL organises the Welcome Fair, bringing together over 250 clubs and societies, together with commercial stalls, music and entertainment. It's a great opportunity to find out about what the Students' Union offers and sign up to a club or society. 

Find out more about the Welcome Fair

UCL Student Support and Wellbeing