Choosing a college is so often not a cut and dry decision. There are several things to consider, things like location, cost, programs/majors, clubs and sports teams.... I could go on, but I think you get the idea. I want to share my experience with choosing a college to perhaps help you with yours.
For me, choosing a college seemed so easy. I went to the college near my home because I could commute to school, thus saving money on room and board costs. Further, I wanted to do something in bioengineering or microbiology, and because the school I chose was a large, public research institution, it seemed to make perfect sense for me to go there.
However, after just the first quarter I realized what a grievous error I had made in selecting my college. The school was huge and I felt like simply a number in the system. The only professor that actually knew my name was my Women's History professor, and that was because it was the only class I had that was fewer than 100 people. I realized that continuing my education here would be a waste of money because I was having so much trouble learning in that environment. So, I transferred to a school that is only about a tenth of the size of my first one. I have never had a class that is more than 40 people, and most have only 20. I have had the opportunity to develop personal relationships with my professors, which makes it so much easier for me to approach them, and makes them much better resources for advice and recommendation letters.
To sum up, I believe that it is very important to consider the factors mentioned above. However, what is equally important (if not more so) is the experience and the education that you will get out of going to a particular school. For instance, I am now paying much more money to go to a private institution versus the public one I attended previously, but it is so worth it because I feel at home here. The only way to determine whether you will like a school or not is to visit. The school may look superb on paper, but if you stay in a dorm and visit a few classes, you may find that the atmosphere is simply not conducive to your learning style. Also, don't rule out a school simply because of cost. Private institutions are much more generous with scholarships because they are not funded by the government. You may find that you will actually spend LESS money at a private school versus a public one.