During your freshmen and sophomore years create an expansive list of schools/programs that meet your specific needs and desires. Among factors to consider are affiliation level (NCAA I, II, III, NAIA and JUCO), competitiveness of the program, cost of attendance, quality of education, geographical location, intended academic major, enrollment size, public vs private, and other factors that matter to YOU.
Do not be mesmerized by the name of a school. See beyond the prowess of their football and basketball programs or their academic reputation. Make sure the school you choose meets your needs for reasons beyond it simply being cool to tell the world you will be running or studying at a particular school. Remember, you have to live, study, train and compete there every day for four years.
Many brilliant scholars and successful professionals have attended state schools with less than brilliant academic reputations. Additionally, many NCAA mid-major athletes have claimed national championships on the team and individual level.
In fact, at this year's NCAA National Outdoor Track & Field Championships nearly 33% of the participants represented non-Power 5 schools - three were crowned NCAA National Champion and an additional 14 scored for their teams by placing in the top eight. Furthermore, two-time US Olympian and World Championships silver medalist, Nick Symmonds competed at the NCAA Division 3 level while in college.
Plain and simple, choose a school that you would be happy at without track and field - just in case your athletic career does not go as planned.