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VSU Student Survey

Each year, we conduct a survey of students to ask them about their volunteering experiences, and about the services offered by the VSU.

Our last survey was conducted in summer 2015, which was completed by 377 students.

  • 92% said they felt happier as a result of volunteering
  • 88% said they’d learnt about people from different backgrounds to their own
  • 85% said they’d been able to use problem solving skills
  • The satisfaction rates for our different services – defined as the percentage of students rating each aspect as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ – ranged from 84% - 92%, with an average of 87%.
  • Our best-rated services were one-off volunteering events, finding placements for volunteers, and our volunteering fairs (described as good or very good by more than 90% of students). Our lowest rated service was student led projects, with a satisfaction score of 84%

 Download the student survey report

Who volunteers?

We also publish data on participation rates of students, looking at gender, fee status, disability, ethnic origin, and UCL department and faculty. Looking at the data for 2014-15:

  • As per our long-standing trends, female students continue to be much more likely to volunteer than males (72% vs 28%). Volunteering with external charities, and project leadership, are a bit more successful at attracting men (32% and 33% respectively)
  • Undergraduates continue to be much more likely to volunteer with the VSU than postgrads. However, we can see that taught postgrads are attracted to one-off volunteering in reasonable numbers.
  • For the first time since we’ve been gathering this data, UK students are slightly over-represented amongst our volunteers, with EU/EEA students slightly under-represented. The percentage of students from outside the EU involved in volunteering match that of UCL students as a whole.
  • One-off volunteering is particularly popular with international students, whilst they’re under-represented amongst our project leaders.
  • The ethnic origin of VSU volunteers from the UK broadly matches that of UCL students as a whole, though white students are slightly less likely to volunteer.
  • For international students, Chinese students are more likely to volunteer, and white students less likely.
  • Medical Sciences and Laws are the faculties with the highest proportion of volunteers, The Bartlett and Engineering the lowest.
  • However, 124 fewer medical students volunteered with us compared to previous years (though, this still leaves them as our largest department for volunteers).

Download the participation report

Recruiters Survey

We also conduct regular surveys of the volunteering organisations we work with. Our last survey in 2015 found:

  • UCL volunteers are highly regarded by the organisations recruiting them, and they’re having significant impacts within many – 77% say they’ve been able to increase the difference they make, 65% say they’ve been able to maintain services, and 33% have been able to establish new ones.
  • Organisations were asked to rate various aspects of our services. 99% rated our communications as good or very good. Volunteering Fairs and our advice & assistance were also rated particularly highly. The lowest rated was ‘volunteer referrals’ and the VSU newsletter (rated as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ by 75% and 77% respectively).
  • When asked what they liked most about the VSU, the most common answers cited our communications, good organisation and helpfulness.
  • When asked what they least liked, respondents requested better information about students who enquire about opportunities, and commented on bureaucracy and difficulties in registering their opportunities.
  • Improvements to the fairs, more tailored recruitment and better information to recruiters were the most requested improvements.
  • For the first time, we asked organisations how they felt the volunteers benefited from volunteering with them. 90% said they’d learnt about the voluntary & community sector, 81% about social issues. 78% said that the students had got a different perspective on the world, and 66% thought students had been able to apply their academic learning in another context.

Download the recruiters survey


If you’d like to know more about our surveys and reports, please feel free to get in touch.