As someone who attends a "top 10 school", I'll make a few points.
1.) Compared to my high school- the general student body is way more intelligent and talented. On the other hand, my high school was kind of dumb- so that may not be saying much. However, I've met a lot of incredible people here- people who are very bright and intellectually curious.
2.) There are a lot of ridiculously wealthy people where I'm at- not everyone gets in based on academic performance- some people get in for athletics (I think we've had some cases in which a basketball player or two barely met NCAA academic requirements), a lot of legacies and development admits go here too. I never felt prouder to be middle class,
On the other hand, I have some bright friends who are attending state universities for financial reasons- they could have gone to higher-ranked, more expensive private schools but chose not to. I'd argue that I'm having similar experiences to them academically- except I face tougher competition because academic standards are higher and there's a more ambitious student body.