If you haven't checked out this article it is a good one. Puts the admission process into perspective. NotSoGifted not sure you were referring to this but at the end of the day it is a hook. You don't want to look like everyone else. You need good grades/SAT but it is the hook that gets you in. Pick one thing, go deep with it and have that story line ripple through your application extracurriculars. That one thing can't be something they see every day or it is not a hook.