You are talking about "special honors" programs for 2 schools that are already top notch. The SAT score ranges of these schools as well as median SAT scores are most likely 2000-2100 + just to get into the score, this is disregarding the fact that many students with 2000+ scores get rejected due to other reasons (GPA, EC's etc..)
So for these programs unless theres a seperate application im sure its exclusively to those in the top 5% of the pool who apply. If you really want to get into these schools shoot for a gpa near to 4.0, a class rank within to top 10 (if you have a big class 600+), SAT scores above 2250 (estimate), and great EC's both quantity and quality.
These students are all top-notch (obviously). Scores are generally very high, but what distinguishes these students is not their scores (although they are impressive), it is what they have done beyond grades and test scores. To be competitive for these programs, you should aim to be competitive for Ivy-level schools, because that's what they are looking for. These scholarships are designed to entice outstanding students who may be choosing from a handful of top tier universities. Grades and scores are necessary, but ECs and a great essay are more important to be very competitive.
I considered myself quite competitive and didn't get the Emory scholars program. Had a 3.95 unweighted GPA and a 2220 on the SATs. My friend had a 3.952 unweighted GPA and a 2100 on the SATs and got it. I'm thinking they consider your ethnicity and whether you're a minority (I'm East Asian, he was Hispanic).
you can always choose to not put your ethnicity.
To be honest with you, as much as they say they don't discriminate...it happens, schools want diversity, theres nothing you can do about it. Just try your best. Ideally, if you get rejected from Emory honors or whatever, and you have the grades to be competitive for the spot, you will get in somewhere else thats equivalent, thats kind of how the system works.
A person who has a 3.9 gpa and a 2100 might not get into Harvard, but will get in somewhere that is a top tier. They certainly would not be accepted to just a community college or city school, asumming they applied to a variety of top tier.