I agree that it's really tough trying to find someone to be as close a match to you as possible. We went with a clinic that had an in-house pool, which meant that the pool was smaller than what we would have found through an agency.
My husband and I are also very academic, so we encountered some of the same issues that you've mentioned. I couldn't find anyone who looked a lot like me. My background is Northern European, and while I found several blonde, blue-eyed donors, none particularly looked like me. My husband has a very Mediterranean look - so we look nothing alike. In the end, we found a donor who looked a tiny bit like me, and the elements of her appearance that were nothing like me looked as though they could have plausibly come from my husband's side of the family.
However, I am pregnant now, and if this child is born looking at all like me, I will die of shock. When I say the donor looks a tiny bit like me, I am really stretching it.
As I went through the files, I realized that I really wanted to see a sense of humor and intelligence. A lot of donors are very young, so they will not have had a chance to get multiple degrees. Our clinic reports grades and SAT scores where available. Our donor's SAT scores were good, and my sense was that she got her scores without doing a ton of prep. She also expressed herself very well in the donor profile, and those two things were enough for us.
Our donor also seemed like a kind, caring person. I got to talk to our donor coordinators about her, and they said very good things about her. One thing that made me happy was that they said that the donor wanted to donate to help couples who couldn't conceive, and I found that was very important to me.
In the end, after searching for many donors, I realized that I had a small list of the things that were important to me. I could see that it would be hard to find someone who looked just like me, so I picked a couple of characteristics that were critical, and beyond that, I waited for the donor who had a "whole picture" that seemed like a good fit. In my situation, personality and intelligence took a backseat to resemblance to me.
Regarding appearances: the genetics thing is such a crapshoot. I can think of several kids I know who look nothing like one parent (or nothing like either parent).