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For people applying from unknown schools where one's senior has never hit that department before, what is the evaluation metric for graduate admissions ? Probably all schools are not equal, but what if the applicant's school is unknown or a newly established one without a reputed faculty who are unknown to the researchers in the field.

How do you judge if the candidate is good enough ? What is the value of GRE Subject Test especially in these situations ? How does top 10 programs approach such candiates, do they spot reject them ?

My question is about MS level admissions, please answer considering that fact.

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Most schools are unknown schools; there are just too many for the admissions committee members to have an idea of the quality of all of them.

So the standard approach is to de-emphasize the GPA and make the decision based more strongly upon the other parts of the application. If the GPA would be troubling if it were from a good school, then it's still troubling; otherwise, it's more of a threshold ("Well, that's good enough--let's look at the rest of the application.").

(This is generic advice for all academic fields; there's nothing special about CS in this regard.)

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