And, for whatever it's worth, I think a state school student who pursued a vigorous honors curriculum, wrote a thesis, and generally did all he could to exhaust his schools academic opportunities, is much more impressive than a student from a higher ranked school who avoided the honors program and graduated with a decent GPA. Hard work counts.
i agree. honors programs are nothing special, but many people involved in them chose scholarships over ivies and other higher ranked schools. adcomms probably aren't blind to this fact.
You're right. While it varies per school, I spoke to an admissions guy at a very prestigious law school about tbe importance of academic records. For this school, he said that the quality of the classes you took is more important than the resulting GPA (remember--the US News GPA is a median, so only half the class need have super high ones to keep this score up).
Certainly taking advantage of available opportunities is important, and he said they count the number of honors classes that you have taken (at my school, you had to be in the honors program to take honors classes).
Two people read every application submitted, so I wouldn't worry too much about something being missed. I would certainly highlight your achievements in the section called "awards and honors."