Have an Answer?
Wow... that's a difficult question to answer without knowing a lot about you. Unfortunately, the number one question these days is how to afford college. The answer to this question may give you an idea of what choices are out there.
I went to a public state university for my undergrad. I then went to a community college for a paralegal degree. Afterwards, I went to a Top 10 private university (not an Ivy) for graduate studies.
I thoroughly enjoyed my community college experience - my instructors were licensed practicing attorneys. Classes were small and expenses were few as the college was located where I lived. There was a wide variety of students - from all backgrounds, ages, etc. In fact, I found that the majority of the students were serious about studying because they either had jobs or families to support or were trying very hard to transfer to a four-year college.
At my undergrad school, I was lucky to be in majors that required a lot of studying; most of my friends were engineering or science majors. Our fun time consisted of playing Doom or building our own computers (this was the early 1990s). But there were some students who chose less rigorous majors and partied a lot more. The academics were great - I had great professors and teaching assistants.
My grad school - a Top 10 institution - was fantastic. The facilities are top notch as were the professors. Our down time was spent worshipping the men's basketball team and camping out for tickets in the cold.
The moral of the story is that all three types of school - public university, community college and private university - were fantastic environments. They all had pros and cons and they were all the right choices at those particular points in my life.
It's not the name of the college or whether it is a top 10 institution that matters. It's what you make of your education that counts in the real world. I work with many graduates of Ivies or top 10 institutions and they are no smarter than many of my fellow students at the community college.
Find a college that you can afford, that offers opportunities to learn outside the classroom, that has facilities and offerings that inspire you. More importantly, find a field that you like and for which you have aptitude. Take advantage of internships or study abroad, if you can. And don't forget that there are some awesome community colleges out there.