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Headline results for New to UCL 2021

12 December 2021

Nearly a third of new students complete the survey; a record 94% of UCL students are satisfied with the experience of arrival at UCL.

Student ambassadors answering a question at Welcome week

The 2021 edition of the New to UCL survey was completed by over 7000 new students across undergraduate, postgraduate taught and research levels of study.  Such a large pool of respondents ensures a stable sample size, and provides plenty of informative open text comments.

Results from the survey paint the experience of starting at UCL in a very positive light, with the majority (94%) of new students reporting that they are satisfied with the experience of arrival at UCL.  This is up 8 percentage points from last year and the highest ever score received for this question. 

A warm welcome to the community

Respondents suggested that UCL offered a warm welcome at departmental and university-wide levels, with 90% of new starters agreeing with the statement ‘I feel welcome and part of the wider UCL community’ and 88% agreeing that they felt welcome and part of the community in their department or research unit.  

Once again, students were particularly positive about the excellent welcome received from departmental and programme staff: 95% of new undergraduate students and 97% of new taught postfraduate students agreed with the statement that 'staff in the department or programme have made me feel welcome'. 

There were however decreases in the percentage of taught students who had had an opportunity to meet their personal tutor or transition mentor (-9ppts and -8ppts respectively)

Improved induction

As part of the UCL Welcome Project, and in response to student user research, a new Student Welcome and Induction (SWI) team was created this year to streamline the onboarding process for students; coordinate welcome communications and students’ first points of contact with UCL’s services; and improve induction events and material.

While there is always further room for improvement, the New to UCL headlines reveal a positive student reaction to these efforts:

  • The percentage of students who found that social events helped to settle them in and who found the Welcome Fair useful increased by 21 percentage points each.
  • The percentage of new students who felt welcome and part of the wider community climbed 11 percentage points.
  • The Welcome to UCL emails (revised from the Countdown to UCL format) saw increased satisfaction of 17 percentage points to 88% of new students now satisfied with the campaign. 
  • Positive responses to the statement 'Staff during the Welcome week and central enrolment process have made me feel welcome' increased by 6 percentage points to 93%.
  • 81% of new students found campus maps and tours useful (increas of 16 percentage points on last year).

Getting to know peers 

Our students told us how much they missed opportunities to meet and interact with their classmates face-to-face during remote study, and.how it was central to their campus university experience. It's encouraging to see that questions relating to socialising and getting to know people also saw increased scores this year. For example, positive responses to 'I’ve been able to make social connections with peers in my department or on my programme' increased by 18 percentage points from 2020. 

Feeling safe on campus during the pandemic 

Academic and professional services staff worked hard to ensure campus was as safe as possible and to minimise the risk to everyone onsite. 94% of respondents indicated that they felt safe on campus and in the local area - an incease of 1% from last year. 88% of students also indicated that they are satisfied with UCL’s social distancing measures on campus. This was down 2% from when this question first appeared in 2020 during a period of more stringent public health restrictions. 

Reasons for choosing UCL

The reasons quoted by students as influential in their decision to study at UCL remained fairly consistent with previous years, with prospective students impressed by the university’s reputation (58%) and the content of the degree programme (55%), as well as our location (38%).

There were also familiar responses when new students were askedWhat, if anything, might have stopped you from studying your chosen degree programme here?’, with students naming the cost of living in London (42%, up from 37% last year) and tuition fees (34%, up from 31%) as notable concerns. There was also a small increase in students noting that an offer from a competitor might have made them reconsider studying at UCL – rising from 30% to 31% of respondents. 

View headline results

You can review the full headline results for New to UCL here (log-in required)

Please note that these results are confidential and should not be published anywhere that is accessible to the public, including on externally-facing websitesInstead, the opinions of our students help us to identify areas for improvement at institutional and local levels.

Full results at departmental and programme level data will be shared on the New to UCL Tableau dashboard in January. Department and Professional Services open text comments will be shared in February.

Closing the loop on student feedback

New to UCL results, along with other forms of feedback, help to drive changes across UCL. You can find examples of improvements inspired by student feedback on the You Shaped UCL pages, and staff can download customisable materials to show the impact of student feedback in their area of UCL.