Originally Posted by HowlerKarma
a) student with top grades and test scores, with a set of three or four possible majors, interest in a wide variety of activities and skill at most of them, and who has leadership potential and clearly pro-social behavior beyond his/her years, versus...

b) student with top grades and test scores, a clear obsession for the stated major, and who has a competitive win-streak and is a bit of a social misfit and loner.
Hey smile. Speaking for the b's, being a very good chess player helped me get my first job in finance. A large fraction of Ivy League graduates go into finance, where employers value a "competitive win-streak". A big reason Harvard and Princeton can find families willing to pay $65K per year is the perceived inside track to finance and consulting jobs. The absence of engineering, accounting, nursing, and other pre-professional majors means that many Ivy league graduates are not qualified to do much else, except go to graduate school or Teach for America. Rich alumni in finance and other fields helped build those 11-figure endowments. And a reason the Ivies recruit athletes is that Wall Street likes them. With the exception of "leadership potential", I'm not sure that the most selective schools value (a) over (b).