Let's say a person really wants to go to school X for his PhD, but he was not able to get admission in this round of applications. However, he has an offer from another school Y, where a person with strong ties to school X has agreed to be his advisor in case he attends Y. Is there any good strategy that he can use that will help him get into X, if he applies again next year?
At the same time he would still like to attend Y and do research with said person at Y in case X rejects him again. Applying as a transfer student doesn't seem like a very good option, since transfers happen in graduate school only in very special circumstances. Could applying as a freshman work out? Would admission committees view him more critically if they know he is already a graduate student at another institute?