The King’s student satisfaction crisis: Undergrads share their experiences

KCL Quad on an open day, inset: quotes from students on student satisfaction and student satisfaction graph.

STUDENT satisfaction at King’s plummeted from 51st to 111th since 2012, causing the university to fall in the latest league tables. 

On some courses such as Neuroscience, student satisfaction came out at a whopping 100%, but on others, such as Business Management it was only 67%.

Roar! spoke to some students from various subjects about whether they were satisfied at King’s and why:

Anonymous, Comparative Literature, 3rd year
My three years as a Comparative Literature student at KCL were a disappointment. The lack of contact hours, of organisation from the department and KCL in general, the marking system and the quality of essay feedback constantly made me question the credibility of KCL’s status as a top university.

I feel like I benefited a lot more from my extracurricular activities rather than my course. For that reason, I completely changed my career aims as soon as I understood that I am going nowhere with my very general, rushed knowledge on literature and the greatly loved buzzword ‘critical thinking’.

Anonymous, Mathematics, 1st year
Overall, I have been satisfied with my first year at King’s. However, I certainly felt that the lecturers didn’t make a big effort to be part of the learning process outside lectures. I definitely got the sense that I was a cog in the university machine rather than a member of a learning community.

Henrique Laitenberger, History, 3rd year
To describe my experience of KCL as positive would be an understatement. Particularly in contrast to UCL’s truly dystopian administrative apparatus, King’s and my History Department struck me as models in functionality and professionalism.

However, it is not on the service front that KCL disappoints: on every level, King’s engages in destructive decision-making that systematically excludes students, the management’s disregard of opposition to the closure of Hampstead residence only being one anecdotal examples of a systemic problem.

Sam Preater, International Politics, 2nd year
“For £30,000 we deserve more than six hours a week of classes and a glorified library card.” On the administrative issues he said: “You can’t count the number of errors made, it’s just cock up after cock up”. Teaching staff come across with a feeling of “general apathy”.

Oscar King, French and History, 2nd year
I think all Historians at King’s were somewhat disillusioned that there would be more contact time – I think many feel like their £9k is them paying to sit and read on a library all day. French is very Literature based – I don’t necessarily mind that but many of my colleagues do. However at King’s there is great flexibility in Year Abroad options (e.g. five options in Paris compared with UCL’s one).

Hyun Seok Lee, Medicine, 2nd year
“Large student numbers on the course can lead to an administrative nightmare, including the allocation of placements. Also [there’s] a lack of consensus on course content and marking can lead to contradictions on what needs to be learnt.”

John Manion, Neuroscience, 2nd year
Believes high student satisfaction in Neuroscience is due to “the high quality of teaching staff and the interesting lecture content”.


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