Teaching & Learning


Induction for new students streamlined by cross-UCL collaboration

20 September 2018

New students are being given ever greater support in the the run up to and during their arrival at UCL.

Students talking to staff in student support and wellbeing

The Student Induction Working Group, set up by Wes Durdle in Student Support and Wellbeing (SSW), is now into its second year. 

It aims to bring together key staff from across UCL, including academic departments and Professional Services teams, to identify and share best practice around welcoming students and helping them adjust to university life.

The Group is also a platform for improving coordination of UCL’s numerous student induction events and communication channels, encouraging a more seamless, consistent and effective induction experience.

Pre-arrival email communication

For 12 weeks before start of term, students with confirmed places receive a weekly personalised email from UCL that directs them to all the information they need for their arrival and time at UCL.

Developed as a collaboration between SSW and Communications and Marketing, each email covers a particular theme and receives an average open rate of 65 per cent.

The information can be found in the Countdown to UCL section of the New Students website and is being promoted on the UCL home page.

Information and advice is provided as short articles written by staff and students and includes topics such as:

  • settling in
  • self-care
  • managing money
  • embracing diversity
  • getting ahead with studies
  • making the most of the Students’ Union.

The Welcome to UCL app

New this year, the Welcome to UCL app ensures all start of term information is collated in one place and easy to find. Students can use the app to create their own personalised programme of induction.

To date more than 1,100 events have been added to the app by departments, faculties, the library, the Students’ Union and other services.

The app has already reached 11,000 downloads and is being promoted to students by academic departments as well as SSW.

Essential checklists for new students

Also new this year, SSW’s Essential Checklists offer step by step guidance on how to complete tasks and navigate UCL’s complexities with ease.

Alongside, practical information, the Checklists encourage students to be proactive and engage with services at UCL. The checklists include things such as how to...

  • enrol
  • keep contact details up to date
  • open a bank account
  • engage with their personal tutors
  • be proactive in getting to know others and to build personal support networks.

How students access the health and wellbeing services available at UCL

The SSW ‘Here to Support You’ guide introduces students to the health and wellbeing support on offer at UCL and within the local community.

Students can collect the guide at enrolment and in the halls of residence. Guides have been shared with Personal Tutors as well to support effective sign posting and advice. 

The video introducing students to the SSW’s services was re-developed this year. The video is shared with academic departments and be shown at local inductions. It has also been broken down this year into its constituent parts, in a series of short spotlights, so students can re-watch the content most relevant to them.

On arrival: support on campus

A new Welcome Tent will promote SSW during enrolment week in the Main Quad.

SSW staff supporting the enrolment process will be wearing Welcome Team t-shirts so that they can be identified easily by students with questions or problems.

International Student Orientation Programme talks

The International Student Orientation Programme (ISOP) ‘We Are All Global’ talks offer a greater variety of speakers and input from UCL leadership, including Lori Houlihan, Vice-Provost (Advancement) and Professor Anthony Smith, Vice-Provost (Education & Student Affairs). As many as 3,500 students are expected to attend the ISOP talks.

Some of the ISOP talks will be streamed for those unable to attend. Pre-arrival Facebook Live and webinar sessions were offered to international students to help with preparation for travel to the UK and study at UCL. 

Health services

New Health and Wellbeing Tours, accommodating up to 500 students, will introduce students to key health support facilities in the local area. Various communication channels, including the Welcome to UCL app, are being used to promote the tours.

Dedicated effort is made to encourage students to:


A Banks Hub will bring a range of high street banks to the Main Quad for 4 days to help international students open a UK bank account. In the past few years Barclays has been the most popular bank with international students.

To help better meet demand for their services, Barclays will be on campus for an additional 2 days (6 days in total) this September. 

Police registration for international students

Police registration appointments are available to international students who require this service and can be booked through the International Students website.

The appointments system has capacity to meet about 45 per cent of the expected demand and further appointments have been requested.

Students with no UCL pre-arranged appointment are required to register at the Overseas Visitors Registration Office (OVRO) within 7 days of arrival. 

Getting to know London

Guided tours of London, funded by an international alumnus, are being offered to up to 150 international students. The tours cover lifestyle and culture, as well as the practicalities of living in London.

Halls of residence: meet the warden

A series of SSW ‘Meet the Warden Team’ talks have been scheduled across all UCL residences over the next 3 weeks (the teams have all recently had mental health training). Meningitis vaccinations are being offered in student halls.

Ongoing support: what's coming up

  • The Positive app, which was piloted over the summer, focuses on keeping a healthy lifestyle and supporting students through the transitions of change. It will be promoted to students from the second half of October
  • A self-care training session structured around the NHS recognised 5 steps to wellbeing is being co-developed with staff and student in the Brain Sciences Faculty. This is intended as a peer support resource and will be piloted in the halls of residence before Christmas.
  • Dedicated information and advice for students affected by suicidal thoughts are being developed and will be shared with students via myUCL in October.
  • A new guidance for Personal Tutors on working with and signposting to the SSW services is being developed and will be available by the end of September.