<p>"I guess I'm skeptical because the college only uses numbers for admissions and the other schools at UIUC are miles behind it."
The other schools at UIUC <em>are</em> miles behind it, except for a few gems like the graduate programs in chemistry, physics, and psychology. That's what I felt was one of the drawbacks of UIUC, that your fellow students in other classes (including math, chemistry, and physics) won't be as academically accomplished, generally speaking. But this is true of most other public schools too, like Berkeley. Also, UIUC has a huge Greek scene, so there are a lot of people who don't do anything but drink and watch football.</p>
<p>"What makes the College of Engineering so much better than everything else at UIUC?"
Since Engineering is such an interdisciplinary field, top programs tend to be require a critical mass of faculty working together, for which you need a lot of money to invest into. Thus, you'll find that many top Engineering programs are at large (but not top) universities, such as UIUC, Purdue, Texas, Texas A&M, etc.</p>
<p>"Is the reputation/prestige hurt because the university as a whole isn't as good?"
I think this is true to a small extent. If you're looking for a non-traditional Engineering job after graduation, such as investment banking or business, it may be tougher since UIUC's overall reputation isn't as well-known as its Engineering program.</p>
<p>"How do employers and graduate admissions people view UIUC?"
On the whole, however, employers (at least those in Engineering) and definitely graduate admissions people regard UIUC Engineering very highly, so it will definitely help you out. For example, my incoming class of graduate EE students at Stanford had about 10 students from UIUC out of 210 students, only about half of which came from U.S. universities. That really says something when you consider that there are about 300 ABET-accredited EE programs in the country.</p>