Teaching & Learning


Get to know the Student Experience Survey (SES)

3 November 2021

The seventh Student Experience Survey (SES) will launch on Monday 15 November and run until 17 December.

Group of five students chatting and smiling

About the SES

The Student Experience Survey (SES) is a valuable opportunity for academic departments to understand how their students are feeling about UCL and their programme.

The SES is run by UCL to gather feedback from penultimate year undergraduates. The structure of the survey mirrors that of the National Student Survey (NSS) taken by finalists and is especially useful in spotting and resolving issues whilst students are still at UCL.

Why it's important for UCL

Student representatives have fed back to us that the SES is particularly useful as a timely indication of any issues that might be concerning students as they progress in their programme of study. It is especially crucial for students this year as they help to inform us of what is or is not working well in their blended learning experience.

The last few years have presented no small number of challenges to the teaching and learning experience at UCL and it's fair to say our students' input and feedback have been central to shaping our response. As we move forward into a blended learning approach, I'd encourage colleagues to maintain this dialogue with their students and share the SES with eligible students on your programmes. The SES is a fantastic opportunity to get a snapshot of how we're doing and where we can seek to make improvements. This feedback from students helps to keep us on the right track as we navigate our way out of the pandemic and into the new academic year. - Deborah Gill, Vice-Provost (Education & Student Experience)

Schools and departments can also consider the findings of the SES as part of the Annual Student Experience Review (ASER) data and develop plans to address issues before students finish their programmes.

Departments can then demonstrate how they have acted on SES feedback to improve the student experience. In this way, suggestions from students’ SES responses have an opportunity to positively influence their NSS scores the following year. For example, NSS Question 25 examines the extent to which ‘It is clear how students’ feedback on the course has been acted on'.

Creating familiarity with the NSS

The SES is particularly helpful for allowing students to familiarise themselves with the structure and question style of the NSS. 

Collecting more responses also helps students raise issues that can then be rectified before they take the NSS, and in turn will help UCL build a more consistent and ongoing conversation with its students.

Support the campaign

The 2021/22 campaign to promote the survey will be digitally-focused. Staff can access promotional materials via the Teaching and Learning Portal. Eligible students will receive an email with a direct link to the survey and the Student Engagement team will also contact with departmental survey liaison officers and Heads of Department to encourage support for the campaign.

There is also an exciting incentive for penultimate-year students who complete the survey. The top prize on offer is £500 cash followed by an opportunity to win one of 50 £10 Love2Shop vouchers.

Download SES promotional materials