"And some people who are perfectly capable of benefitting from college may not be capable at 18; they may need to live some life first, and come back with a sense of purpose."
I feel vindicated in having needed to work first, and knowing myself well enough to recognize that, before being able to take college seriously.
Why is this line of thinking not discussed with students first, especially those who are really digging in their heels about going to college immediately after high school? Yes, many students are able to handle college - and handle it really well - at the traditional 17 or 18; some might just need that prodding to get themselves organized, and could handle themselves once they get there. Some of us were burned out after an inadequate high school experience (academically speaking, mine wasn't great) and needed that time.