For undergraduate studies is it preferable to go the a prestigious school and get decent GPA or to go to not well known school but be top of the class?

closed as primarily opinion-based by scaaahu, jakebeal, Wrzlprmft, gman, JeffE Sep 30 '15 at 11:06

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Honestly, when I'm reading applications I barely notice either one. I don't have to look at GPA 99 times out of 100 because those below the minimum are screened out, and I don't care much about what school you went to because prestige schools have some crappy departments and low-prestige schools have some great ones, and I'm almost never going to know which is which.

I spend most of my app-reading time on the personal statement. Can you write? (Very important in my department; importance to others is obviously somewhat variable.) Can you tech? (Likewise.) Do you understand what you're getting yourself into, and have decent, non-clichéd, at least marginally realistic reasons you're doing it? Do you have skills or an educational or life background we're specifically looking to recruit? Relevant experience?

Go be a worthwhile person with a clue. That's what we're looking to admit, not shiny GPAs or fancy-schmantzy schools.

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