I went directly to a 4 year university after high school because that was what was expected of me. I love school and took lots of classes that interested me. However, with no "real world" experience I had no idea how to translate it into a career, let alone one that was a good fit for me. I ended up working a lot of minimum wage retail jobs and felt my education (and life) was a waste.
I stayed at home with my kids for 10 years and during that time thought about what I really wanted to do. I attended Worksource classes (run by my state for job seekers and career changers) to figure out a plan. I decided I had to go back to school because I was middle aged with no experience.
In preparation for school, I found it a useful exercise to find "dream" job listings, and take notes on what their requirements were. Then I could focus my education on that and have a clear plan. I ended up going to a community college technical program. Community college is SO much cheaper than university!!! I also tried to take full advantage of counseling and advising for students at the college. A lot of internships are only for students so take advantage of that too.
My advice to my kids is after high school, get a job and take a break from school. Gain some real life experience and figure out what you really want to do. Then make a plan for how to get there. If school is part of that plan, great, but spending a lot of money on school with no clear plan is a recipe for disaster IME.
Little house with a big garden in the city!
"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." ~ J. Krishnamurti