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Interactive app to welcome new UCL students

24 July 2018

‘Welcome to UCL’ app launched by UCL Student Support and Wellbeing to help new arrivals settle in and organise their first few weeks

Welcome to UCL app

Each September, UCL welcomes more than 20,000 new students to our academic community. Over the course of their first few weeks, these students attend a wide range of orientation and welcome events delivered by faculty, department and programme staff, alongside those organised by central teams such as Student Support and Wellbeing, Accommodation and Students’ Union UCL.

Given the scale of this operation and of UCL itself, it is no surprise that many students find it a challenge to navigate the campus and to organise their busy induction schedules, despite the best efforts of the hundreds of hardworking staff members involved in the process.

The new app, 'Welcome to UCL', has been developed by UCL Student Support and Wellbeing to give students a helping hand at arrival. Created using the app development platform Guidebook, the key feature of ‘Welcome to UCL’ is a collated schedule of academic and non-academic induction events. For the first time, students will be able to see all events in one place and will be able to tag these in order to make up their own personalised calendar of sessions.

‘Welcome to UCL’ also provides checklists of key induction tasks, essential information about support services and student opportunities, maps, social features and more.

Similar initiatives in other institutions have seen huge success; King’s College London, for example, saw the first iteration of their welcome app downloaded more than 17,000 times in the run-up to last September.

The app will be widely shared with new students to encourage as many downloads as possible. The main avenue for promotion will be the confirmation email that students receive after completing the mandatory pre-enrolment task online.  Anyone can download the app - staff who teach and support teaching are invited to have a look so that they are aware of the information available to new students through the app.

To complement ‘Welcome to UCL’, the New Students website has been migrated to Drupal, UCL’s new web interface, and now forms part of the Students site. This site has already brought together much of UCL’s student-facing online presence, and it is hoped this move will make it easier for new students to find the information they need.

The ‘Countdown to UCL’ campaign is also running again this year, with all new students receiving a weekly email highlighting a particular theme (accommodation, money, safety etc.) and counting them down to the start of term. These emails and ‘Welcome to UCL’ will both push students to the ‘Countdown to UCL’ pages of the Students site, which host a wide range of information and articles written by staff and students.

For any enquiries regarding the ‘Welcome to UCL’ app, the New Students website or the Countdown to UCL campaign, please contact Wes Durdle, Communications and Projects Coordinator in Student Support and Wellbeing.