One word: food.
The one thing you need and will find a location while on campus. All of the colleges I know require freshman and on campus students to buy a meal plan.
A meal plan is pretty much paying for the average meals you will eat in a week.
Instead of going for the smaller cost, take into consideration these aspects:
Do you like your campus food? Do the meals change everyday or is it the same? Is there a variety? Can you see yourself eating their x times a week?
Are you a vegan or a vegetarian? Do you eat gluten or dairy free foods or are you allergic to soy, pork, or nuts? When visiting your campus, check the amount of options it has for someone with dietary restrictions.
-on campus restaurants
How many dining options does your college have? Some would not be covered under your meal plan. Will you eat more from those dining options instead of the main dining hall?
-transportation and city
If you decide to bring your car or attend a college in a central city, would you prefer to eat out? Would the cost be better based on your work schedule (example)?
Will you and your roomate(s) have a refrigerator and/or kitchen area in your suite/dorm? Will you go grocery shopping and buy food more than eating out? What is the estimate?
The average person eats three meals a day. Think about your lifestyle. Do you skip breakfast everyday or eat three meals? Do you eat two meals but snack more often? My college counts a visit to the cafe as a swipe on your card. So, if yours is similar, count a snack and meal as the same.
I chose a meal plan where I can go to the dining hall at anytime. This brings leniency on my part without a set time.