If you look at the graph at the top of this article, you might think that students with a GPA and high SAT or ACT scores would have a good chance of getting into Stanford. The reality, unfortunately, is that plenty of academically stellar students get rejected. As this graph of rejection data reveals, the upper corner of the graph—students with straight "A" averages and excellent standardized test scores—are frequently rejected by Stanford. As a school with a 5% acceptance rate and a very high admissions bar, Stanford is going to reject plenty of valedictorians and academic all-stars.
In the graph above, the blue and green dots represent accepted students. As you can see, the majority of students who got into Cornell had a GPA in the "A" range, SAT scores (RW+M) above 1200 and ACT composite scores above 25 (scores higher than this lower range are obviously going to improve your chances measurably). Hidden behind the blue and green are a lot of red dots, so keep in mind that high grades and test scores are no guarantees of admission to Cornell. For this reason, even strong students should consider Cornell a reach school .