Clinical Psychology graduate applicants are becoming more similar to each other over their years. They have stellar applications. But at the same time, many applications have become flavorless. Much like undergraduate applicants, graduate applicants follow a cookie-cutter formula for admission success: a psychology major, several years of research experience, perhaps an honors thesis or a presentation, a 4.0 GPA, a stellar GRE score, and an undergraduate degree at a top undergraduate institution.
Of course professor want to recruit students who have achieved the conventional successes described above. But at the same time, graduate professors want someone who has engaged in something that was not stepping stone towards success in academia. Perhaps one applicant has left a successful corporate law job to pursue his or her passion for clinical psychology, despite a decrease in earning potential and social status challenges.
Professors not only look for the stellar student, but also someone they would like to grab a beer with at happy hour. Such people are generally interesting, curious, risk takers, passionate, have intrinsic motivation and social courage.