I have been in contact with a potential supervisor in one of tier two US universities before applying and all the way to receiving my rejection letter a few days ago.
The individual department I applied for has seven faculty members including my potential supervisor and as I know he is not on admission committee.
I try to quote his responses to me in our email exchanges.
When I first contacted him in October to show my interest in applying for Fall 2017 semester he replied: "I am interested to have you as my PhD student. But, you should apply fast to be here by Spring Semester. I can get you on a research funding that I have for next semester on ***** Project."
I couldn't prepare my application materials on time and I was told: "It is too hard to get the I-20 in a timely manner that you can be here for Spring semester. So, I am changing my plan of the project to be able to support you for the next fall."
I updated my application for Fall 2017 semester.
Last time before receiving my decision he replied, "Your application has come to college and is under consideration, I supported your application strongly. We should see the result soon." to my email regarding application status.
After receiving my rejection letter I emailed him to let him know I was rejected and thanked him for his support during this period.
But I think he was as shocked as I was on hearing that I was rejected. He replied: "Why, your application was rejected!! Please let me know, I should be able to help you." and "Everything were positive on your application from my last communication. I am thinking that your application may not have gone from **** Department to college of Engineering and to Graduate school, I will check on that tomorrow morning and I will let you know."
Do you think is it possible a rejected applicant being accepted when their potential supervisor really wants them?