Is it possible to be admitted to a first or second tier graduate school (ex. NYU, USC, Boston College, etc.) with an undergrad degree from a lower-ranked school (ex. Washington State University, Arizona State University, etc.)? If so, what can an undergrad from these lower-ranked schools do to become more attractive to a top tier grad school, and what are the realistic possibilities for financial aide? I will most likely be going to a lower-ranked school such as WSU, for financial reasons, but I have decently high stats and have been told that it's better to go to a better grad school as opposed to a better undergrad school. My stats and background are as follows, #1 ranked at my high school, graduated 1 year early, GPA of 4.54, SAT super score of 1500, took Calc my freshman year, am actively involved in community service, News editor for my high school newspaper, in My high school's top women's choir, and was on a junior rifle team as the #1 female shooter. Furthermore, I am currently at Beijing University studying through their one-year language-intensive program. Thoughts? Any advice or input would be extremely helpful.