University applications have finally seen their first rise since tuition fees were hiked, which is great news. We are to be encouraged, too, by the one per cent rise this year in applications from 18-year-olds living in the poorest areas of the country. But it is not enough.
I went to Oxford from a state school, arguably a very nice sixth form college in Surrey, but one that didn't have a strong record of sending students to Oxford or Cambridge. Was I dissuaded from applying? Not really. Was I encouraged? Not particularly. Did this make applying hard work? Absolutely.
This Thursday, the agonising wait for hundreds of thousands of students across the country will be over. No, I'm not talking about the return of Celebrity Big Brother, but the farce of A-level results day.