TL;DR: does undergrad school's name recognition matter for an international student aiming for top social sciences PhD programs in the US?
Hello. I've been struggling with this decision for quite a while now and thus would totally love to hear some advice.
I'm from Russia and am currently deciding on where to do my undergrad studies. I'm really into the idea of doing a PhD in some social science (economic sociology, or possibly some business-oriented applications of it, like marketing) right after that, aiming for a bunch of good US programs. All the depts that are a perfect fit for my current research interests would be really hard to get into, think 3-5% acceptance rates.
So, I have two options:
A. A well-ranked school. It sends quite a handful of its undergrad alumni to great grad programs all over the world, including some American ones, every year. I'd have lots of research opportunities here, maybe managing to eventually publish something. The problem is, I heavily dislike this school for personal reasons, and the offered courses aren't really my cup of tea. Overall, I'd spend quite miserable 4 years here, but could handle this in case of it having any noticeable impact on the grad admissions.
B. A significantly weaker school in terms of name recognition. The courses offered here align with my academic interests way better. I'd still work on my own, do my best at attempting to get something published, and maybe contact some research centers & labs offering to volunteer, but I'm afraid of the 'no name university' stuff hindering my chances. It's basically the only problem I have here and the only thing stopping me from picking it.
The A school is in top-100 in the world for sociology, my undergrad major, and has lots of experience with sending students to top PhD programs. The B one isn't on any rankings at all. Both are in the same city.
So, the question asked in the title arises.