Do high school results affect one's chance of being accepted into grad school for a master's degree? I'm an undergrad who's doing quite well in a B.A in journalism, but my HS results were disgusting, to say the least.
That said, what do you recommend I further my studies in? I would love to be an 'academic activist' (Sloppy term, I know. Well, basically someone who researches into things such as discrimination and influence changes in a concrete way, like policies. I would love to work in a think tank/non profit). My prime interest is gender (other interests include racism, poverty, etc) but women's studies would be too narrow, wouldn't it? (though not out of the question). Other ideas floating in my head are international relations, anthropology, sociology, public policy and development studies.
High school results matter not at all. Most grad schools look at your bachelor's results and extra stuff e.g. your undergrad research projects, whether they've been published, etc. If you want to be a shoo-in for the position, make sure that you make an impression on the person who you want to be your supervisor. Preferably, do some sort of a project with him/her, even if it's free.
Even if that person doesn't take you on eventually (due to funding reasons or some other reason) make sure that you've made a good enough impression and done enough work so that they'll write you a stunning recommendation for someone else to take you on. Also try (if possible) to work with someone who's recognised in that particular field so that you'll make an impression just by name-dropping while you're supervisor-hunting.
I can't advise you much on which course to take because I'm doing the science route.
It's all about the SOP, research experience (working with a prof on a project, conference presentations, even publication if that's possible for you...it wasn't really for me), GRE, and recommendations.
About the transferring business...if you're shooting for elite schools (Ivy league, top ten program) then you will have a better chance coming from a better undergrad institution. This is only true, though it shouldn't be misinterpreted as meaning that you have no chance if you went to a lower ranked and less prestigious school. Just lower than if you had gone to a 'better' school (even though rankings and prestige are utter bullshit...but you have to put up with this sort of attitude in academic circles, no matter how egalitarian and progressive they purport to be). If you're shooting for anything less, then I'd say it's not worth it to transfer, especially if your credentials are good.
Thought I'd throw my opinion in there. Good luck with your studies.