You go to the course catalog to understand requirements for depth and breadth and the sorts of classes available- your major and gen ed courses or cores. If you are engineering or another math-sci track, how prepared are you for what you'll face? Top of your game is different than liked physics and want more.
In general, for most in-state kids, how easy is it to get admitted to these schools? (My flagship routinely admits kids with 2.0 gpa- that tells a lot about general competitiveness.) Does your dept stand head and shoulders above others? Is it "the" destination for top state kids in your major? Those sorts of considerations. See if you can find the breakdown (eg, for the "college of engineering," ) for how many kids were 32 ACT or higher.
Sometimes, you can glean info on students review dot com- how cooperative a dept is versus competitive. Whether the school practices serious grade deflation. But that's not sure. Some kids have axes to grind. Are there forums here for these colleges?
In the end, it has a lot to do with your confidence and determination.
Last edited by lookingforward; 07-29-2012 at 12:07 PM.