Who's the absolute exception to the rule? And why?

<ul>
<li> 80% in top 10th of graduating class

<ul>
<li>96% in top quarter of graduating class</li>
<li>99% in top half of graduating class</li>
</ul></li>
</ul>

<p>Who do you think is in the 4% that's not in the top quarter? What else made them so incredibly enticing to Cornell that they were accepted regardless of not being in the top 25%, or even the top HALF! I couldn't even see an incredible athlete being admitted to Cornell if they weren't even in the top half.</p>

<p>Also, looking here: <a href="http://dpb.cornell.edu/documents/1000001.pdf%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://dpb.cornell.edu/documents/1000001.pdf&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Cornell admitted over 100 students with scores lower than 549 on the Math part of the SAT. How the hell did they get in? What do you think they did to make themselves stand out? The reason I ask is, though my SAT scores are much higher than 549, my class rank and GPA are quiet poor for a few reasons, and seeing this gives a bit of hope for admissions chances.</p>

<p>Cornell may have a few students with lower verbal SAT scores ... but the college is also loaded with international students or those who know english as a second language. I'm sure it's similar with math ... heck, if you win a prestigious literary contest and intend to enroll as a creative writing major, who cares what your math SAT scores were?</p>

<p>For that other 4% ... some athletes are in there, URM's who went to ultra-elite or competitive high schools, the sons/taughters of trustees to the university, or the kids of either very cherished professors at Cornell or very high donors. Ridiculous accomplishments will also do the trick.</p>