So, let's assume, say, state flagships for the purposes of my question.
There will always be some people who have opinions based on ignorance and some who generalize too much.</p>
<p>Using one of the metrics you stated, the 'median SAT scores', the scores of someplace like UCB, UCLA, UCSD, UVA, and others are higher than that of many privates. </p>
<p>One should evaluate a particular one versus a particular other one (i.e. not ALL state vs ALL private) for criteria that's important to them. They should factor reputation, cost, availability of the major, research and other opportunities, class sizes, average SAT scores of incoming freshmen, etc. - whatever they find important. Some people put a lot of weight on class size yet others don't care at all if the lecture in an intro bio class is to 30 students versus 400 students (and it often is irrelevant) yet in other more focused classes it's beneficial to have some smaller class sizes. There are some privates that will have larger class sizes than some state schools but it doesn't necessarily make them the poorer choice. </p>
<p>Average incoming freshman SAT scores can be a marker for the pace and depth a particular course can achieve so IMO it can be an important statistic yet some colleges that accept a broad range of applicants in this area offer honors classes where the high SAT scorers may be clustered allowing them to still achieve the pace and depth and some places, like the school of engineering at UCLA, already have very high incoming average SAT scores.</p>
<p>I just discount the opinions of any poster who makes a broad generalization in this area since it doesn't really mean anything. In some cases they're taking a slight liberty with generalization, which most of us do, and in some other cases they're simply uninformed and/or haven't looked into the public/private question deeply enough.</p>
<p>Regardless, who cares what they think really. You likely know more about your college than they do, you know why you selected the college you did, you know what it offers you, and you know whether you're happy enough there or not. Their opinion can be irritating but doesn't really matter.</p>