I attend a great, public university. We're ranked high nationally as a school and we're ranked in the top 100 in many areas from fine arts, to liberal arts, to business, to law. I know some people from my high school who were rejected from my school and attended a handful of colleges that aren't selective. Some of them who were rejected to my school got scholarships to attend these other schools. I have a good GPA and I have friends that have good GPAs too and they're working hard. My high school was tracked with Track 1 being Honors as the highest and 4 being the lowest. I know people in the 2nd and 3rd tracks who now have 3.9s and 4.0s and in some cases are on the Dean's list at the colleges they attend. When I mention their schools, people from other parts of the state have not even heard of them. And when I looked them up, they were ranked regionally but not ranked nationally at all.
It's clear to me that the average student at my college had to do more to get in than the students at these lesser ranked schools. And I also think that their schools are less challenging academically. Say we had the same major and applied for the same job and had the same GPA, would we be viewed the same or would the person from the superior school receive more consideration?