Background: I'm a junior who just got a 34 on my ACT. My dream school is UPenn, but since I live in NC the most reasonable option is probably UNC Chapel Hill, which is also a school I love so it's not a big problem.
I want to go to a school with a record of academic excellence that'll give me a lot of opportunities to do research and experience new things, etc. etc. etc. However, I don't want to incur a huge amount of debt in the process of attending one of those universities.
So, my question is: do you think it's better to go to a school such as Penn, where the population is undoubtedly very intelligent, passionate, and driven, and accept the debt I'll probably have as a result, or would it be more intelligent to go to a less-renowned school (as in, less than Chapel Hill) where I could probably get more scholarship money and probably be one of the top students?
Incidentally, what kind of scholarships does a 34 ACT score grant in this day and age? I know 34s at Penn are a dime a dozen, I'm asking about smaller state schools, etc.