Top American colleges have a student population over 45,000 while the less popular colleges have students numbering only a few hundreds.
Bigger colleges have a higher student budget, more space but higher teacher to student ratio. They also have larger selection of programs, social opportunities and distinguished faculty.
Smaller colleges have smaller classes with more access to faculty, but more hands-on learning. Resources are less, limited social opportunities and lesser choice of programs.
Finally the choice is the student's. He should weigh the pros and cons and make a decision that is more favorable for his academic growth.