A few months ago, I posted a bit of advice on my cousin's Facebook page as one of her sons has begun the college search. Here it is in slightly modified form:
Forget about "the college experience." It's overrated. Enroll early, take summer classes, and finish quickly.
No matter where he goes, your son will be surrounded by people making poor decisions. I'm not talking about sex & drugs. Those are subsets of a larger poor decision, which is mortgaging the future for the present satisfaction of treating college like a four-year vacation.
The pressure will be almost overwhelming, but his 35-year-old-self will bless his 18-year-old-self for his good decisions and curse his 18-year-old-self for his bad decisions. The more good decisions now, the more opportunities and less regret later.