Tips on U of Chicago Divinity School please.

I have decided that I am going to apply to the University of Chicago Divinity School and get a PhD in religion (although I need to decide in what area to specialize in).

The deadline is December 15, which has passed. So, I will use the next year to prepare my application and my case for admission.

What do I need to do? Are there any idiosyncratic things that the Divinity School likes (applicants meeting the Divinity School’s faculty members, applicants being published, etc.)? I’d like to meet several faculty members to find out what the faculty’s like and thereafter what area to focus on, but my mother tells me to just decide and apply - no need to waste my or their time.

Should I begin chatting up faculty members of the department of the University I graduated from and whom I studied under/worked with (so that when I ask them to write a recommendation, they remember who I am)?

My college performance was less than stellar (for a variety of reasons) - if I tried to get published or write a research paper on my own will that help me? What else can I do?

Other tips, suggestions, etc.?

WRS - I should mention I will be applying to other institutions, but my focus right now is on the Divinity School.