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Remember that some State U.'s are top schools in their own right, at least in certain fields. If the state school is really good in a certain area, and you are interested in staying in the region, then a state school can often provide better connections and possibilities than a distant top private school.

For example, I went to U. Illinois, which has an excellent engineering school. If you want to work for an engineering firm in Chicago, then U. Illinois is an great choice: everyone recognizes the quality, most people are proud of having a top quality local school, and many employees will be alumni. But, if you want to go work on one of the coasts, going to U. Illinois could be a serious handicap, as people may not recognize the quality of your education.

The one typical difference between state schools and private schools is their size. Most state schools are quite large, while private schools are often small. This has a bunch of implications, and there are pros and cons to each. In the end, this depends on your taste and needs.
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