First, allow me to preface this article so others do not get offended by what I have to say. Choosing a large University has benefits that I will never get to experience because I chose to go to a smaller school. Big name universities have funding from prestigious alumni as well as facilities that surpass my schools. Sports are bigger and better, and there are tons of societies and clubs that my school does not have. Choosing a big school is not wrong, but there are advantages to going to a smaller school.
At a smaller school I have the benefit of being in a program where there are only 200 students. Not 200 freshman students, 200 students in total. In my program I speak with professors on a first name basis. Within my major I have already been able to get my feet wet and practice using the equipment that I will be using in my future job. At larger schools, I would not be allowed to touch the equipment until junior year at the earliest.
Socially, going to a smaller school is easier. The overwhelming number of people at larger schools makes it more intimidating to make friends. At smaller schools, there is more common ground to be found between students and it is found quicker. Communities are closer knit, because there are usually many people with the same interests in a centralized location. Larger schools make it difficult to convene, because of the sheer size of the campus.
Size of campus is also a huge factor to whether or not people even hear about activities that may interest them. With a small school, the number of buildings are fewer and the distance between each building is minimal. At some schools there are entirely separate campuses for certain majors. Hypothetically a student could have an interest, but never be able to show it because they did not know a club that has people with similar interests exists.
While ultimately going to a big school might give you the storied, "real college experience," the benefits of smaller schools should not be overlooked. In the real world having a degree from a prestigious school may look good on paper. However knowledge weighs more than a degree. If someone is able to come out of a smaller school with more knowledge in the subject of your field they will get the job first.