The skill of drinking properly is one lost on far too many college students these days. After 5 years of intense study into the matter, I've come to a pretty good understanding of how to go about obliterating yourself with the most minimal risk. Please note : The suggestions contained herein will not allow you to drink more than you are physically capable of (that's only gained over time through practice and dedication), they are things that will keep you more safe. I refuse all responsibility for what you do with what's written, so don't be dumb.
First and foremost, before you go out for a night on the town, have a good dinner. McDonalds doesn't count. A good mix of breads, cheeses, and meats is my personal favorite... though if you're vegetarian pick something that's gonna stick around in your stomach for a while. Heavy proteins are good for this. Milk is a bad choice, as is anything that's going to be sharp and pokey on the way back out, should you overdo things.
Second, choose your friends wisely. If you're not within walking distance of somewhere to crash, designate a driver. If you tend to lack restraint with how much you drink, make sure the driver will be able to pick you off the ground and carry you to the car (this is what I like to call the "designated spatula"). Going out with other people is always a lot more fun, and there is strength in numbers. Keep an eye on your friends, and have them watch out for you... there are some scary people out there, and some think they can prey on the weaker members of your party. So don't strand anyone, and don't leave until you know every member of your party has a dependable ride home.
Third, know what you're drinking. Don't start on beer and then go to liquor. Know how hard it will hit you, and when it'll hit you. Drink water every once in a while, you'll thank yourself in the morning. Also, stand up and walk around from time to time... this will help you gauge how drunk you are... sitting in a chair, it's far more difficult to tell.
Fourth, eat something relatively substantial in the middle of the evening. Liquor runs through the system a lot faster when there's no food in the stomach, and if you've eaten a big dinner you may not be expecting the later drinks to hit you so hard. Bar food is okay for this, but a late-night run through McDonalds, Wendy's, or Taco Bell might be a better idea... nacho chips can hurt when they come hurtling back out your esophagus.
And lastly, when you go home, drink some more water before you go to bed. A huge part of being hung over is dehydration. If you feel like puking, do it... it's not as bad when you're drunk, and you'll probably feel better in the morning because of it.