Greetings all, I found some similar threads to this but none that answered my exact question. I am doing an REU at a school I would like to attend for graduate school, and some students there have said that in graduate school admissions, I am going to be judged relative to my peers from the same school in things like GRE scores, research experience, and GPA. Is this true? For instance, I come from a very small school where no one (save one person in 2001) has scored above a 700 on the pGRE. If I take it and do well, will this fact work in my advantage or will it not matter at all? I have also heard that if two students with similar applications apply for the same school, the school is likely to take only one of them. Is this also true? I heard from professors who are on admissions committees that you are judged according to how you have taken advantage of the opportunities present to you. For instance, my school has no grad program so grad courses are out of the question, so in this matter I would not be discriminated against in the same manner as someone who had grad courses available but did not take them. I am just wondering how absolute/relative grad school admissions are. Can anyone comment on this?