I didn't have stellar scores, I didn't have amazing grades.
I made my application "distinct". I went and talked to actual faculty -- members of the pharmocology graduate program admissions board/council, profs in the chemistry department, some of the CSE faculty. I let them know what exactly I was about and who I was. In turn, I walked away with a recommendation from a pharm professor that I did internship work for.
my GPA was about a 93; my SAT was a 1420, SAT II mathIIC was 710, SAT IIC bio-M 720, SAT II Wri 660. I'm the first generation of my family to graduate from high school, I'm also from one of the top public schools in the state (which, conveniently is located in Philadelphia also) and I live about 10-15 blocks west of campus.
Penn is required to admit 100 students from the greater phila. area and a certain percentage must be public school graduates.