Those were simpler times. We Baby Boomers were the first American generation to "go to college." That had been for the elite. So, we just went. Most of us didn't understand that was to be the platform for building our lifelong network. Instead we just made friends. Some of those turned out to be friends for life. What a gift that has been.
At age 68 I share what's new with women (Seton Hill, Greensburg, PA was all-female) who knew me since the age of 18. They include Lee Hansen, Irene Nunn, Pat Serra, and Charlotte Toal. Since they are proven friends, not enemies, and I have screened them for signs of Machiavellianism they do rejoice in the good things happening. Recently I received a contract to ghostwrite a book for a a big name. They have been there when I grieve for my animal companions who had passed over.
And they share those same sorts of things with me. That supplies me with insight in this thing we call the "human condition." Without feeling I'm intrusive I can ask them questions about their motivations and how they handle regret.
Now college, because it's so expensive, is framed as a monetary and time investment. The need to network trumps all. Professors should be developed as useful contacts. Angling for the right internship is everything.
There's a lot to be said for being allowed to go off to college without a lot of commercial pressure on a generation.