Here is my unsolicited advice to my seniors about how to pick a college.
Put together a list of schools in which you feel you can be successful academically. Adjust the list to include only schools within about 300 miles from your home. Then close your eyes and pick one.
It doesn't matter where you go to school. It only matters what you do when you are there. The absolutely most successful guy I know went to school at Middle Tennessee State University. Another guy I know is 50 years old, unemployed and STILL has $15,000 in student loans due from his years at Princeton.
I absolutely believe that where one attends school has zero effect on his or her future success. The big lie is that college rankings matter. They don't. The cream will always rise to the top.
I'll acknowledge that at some schools, the alumni REALLY look out for one another. Notre Dame grads look to hire other Notre Dame grads. Harvard nerds love to surround themselves with other Harvard nerds. But in the norm, connections are made at every college and university.
Stay close to home, work harder than everyone else, and don't treat college like a 4 year party.