How to choose the right university

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Join us at The News Building on Wednesday, October 4 for an evening with our panel of education experts, who will be discussing The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide, as well as giving their tips and answering your questions on the process of choosing the right university.

Deciding on which universities to apply to has never been more difficult. Universities are better than ever at telling the world how wonderful they are, and with more students applying for places and running up debts that now average in excess of £50,000, your choice of course and institution is now one of life's significant financial - as well as educational - decisions. With such high stakes to play for, the value of sound, impartial advice is hard to overstate.

The Times and The Sunday Times have published University Guides for readers since 1993, helping prospective students and their parents to navigate their way through the university application process. John O'Leary, the former Education Editor of The Times, and Alastair McCall, Editor of The Sunday Times Good University Guide, have been behind every one of those guides. Now merged as one publication, the latest Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide is published on September 24.

John and Alastair will lead an evening's discussion on how to pick the right university for your children, offering tips on reading between the lines of university prospectuses, and insight into the world of university league tables. They will be joined by Professor Sarah O'Hara, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education and Student Experience at the University of Nottingham and Steve McArdle is director of sixth form at Durham Johnston.

About the panel:
​John O'Leary has edited The Times Good University Guide since 1993, when it introduced the first university rankings to the UK. He is also on the advisory board for the QS World University Rankings and is a member of the Higher Education Commission.

Alastair McCall has compiled or edited all 20 editions of The Sunday Times Good University Guide and also edits the sister publication Parent Power and The Sunday Times Schools Guide. 

Professor Sarah O'Hara is Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education and Student Experience at the University of Nottingham. She has extensive experience of the admissions process and is responsible for placing students at the heart of the university.

Steve McArdle is director of sixth form at Durham Johnston. He is national chair of the Association of School & College Leaders committee on Post-16 and Higher Education, and co-chair of the UCAS Secondary Education Advisory Group.

The event will take place on the 17th floor of The News Building and your ticket also includes drinks before the talk begins.

You may be asked to show ID with the name of the ticket booker on as you enter The News Building.

  1. ​​Tickets are subject to availability. Places available on first come first served basis. Booking paid in advance and non-refundable.
  2. Tickets cannot be resold at a price higher than the face value printed upon them and must not be resold for commercial gain whether to ticket retailers, agents, web companies, ticket touts or otherwise.
  3. Tickets cost £20.
  4. Full payment on booking.
  5. Tickets will be assigned on a first come first served basis only.
  6. Travel to and from the venue and other costs not included in the ticket price are the responsibility of the attendees.
  7. TNL reserves the right at any time to cancel, modify, reschedule or supersede the event or any aspect of the event, including guest speakers, if, in their sole discretion, the event is not capable of being conducted as specified.
  8. Wherever possible changes will be publicised prior to the event and alternative tickets or refunds provided.
  9. Other than death or personal injury arising from the acts or omissions of TNL, or their employees, TNL will not be liable for any loss or damage arising out of attendance at the event.
  10. If you require any assistance at our event (such as information about wheelchair access, or if you are hearing or visually impaired) then please email