So I was browsing past years applicant profiles, specifically looking at ones that have acceptances from top tier programs, and I can't help but notice trends in regards to their undergrad like Top 20, Ivy, UCB, Top Liberal Arts, etc. Of courses all of their applications were excellent by all measures, but I felt many others who didn't get such acceptances were also comparable, but instead got accepted at respectable, but not prestigious, programs.
(I know the forum is not perfectly representative, but I sort of think it is somewhat representative of the most competitive applicants)
I come from a a decent R1 school but it isn't comparable to those schools and I fear its physics reputation may have been tarnished as of late. Given the reality that most research positions are taken by graduates of top schools, I worry that my school will dissuade schools (especially top schools) from accepting me, despite comparable achievements, to student at better universities, perhaps not being helped by me being a prototypical Asian American male. I love going to my school, but I worry about my chances. Apologies for the meandering thoughts, but what is your take?