Need suggestions and opinions

<p>I just found out that my friend got rejected from University of Arizona at Tuscon, I dont really know how good a school it is , and frankly I was pretty suprised by the response.</p>

<p>Just to give you a background of the guy: Undergrad at USC, 3.4 GPA
780M 560V. Applying for Phd in EE. Recipient of over 5 scholarships in his school , research grants included. Over 2.5 years of research work with pretty much the best in the field he has applied to, good recommendations from really good professors and decent essays.</p>

<p>Now my concern is that do you think a person with this profile has a shot at the following:</p>

<p>Phd- USC
Phd- Caltech
Phd- UIUC</p>

<p>And if you could suggest any last minute schools it would be great , my friend thought arizona would be his "safety" school.</p>


<p>Adcom usually extends offers to candidates whom they think are most likely to accept (sort of a yield issue). My best guess is candidates with his profile rarely apply to Arizona so why waste an offer for someone who won't accept anyway. Another possibility is his "low" GPA. Some departments cut off applicants based on quantitative factors during the first round. He should just call and inquire.</p>

<p>Also you have to remember that:</p>

<p>PhD admissions=1,000,000 mitigating factors.</p>

<p>Most PhD's are extremely hard to get into from the outset, but beyond that there is usually a host of different factors that can either work for or against you. Thats why, when you read any "Application Acceptance/Rejection" thread, you will usually see some seriously weird stuff when it comes to PhD admissions, i.e. an applicant getting into his top school than getting rejected by his "safety." PhD admissions are notoriously weird.</p>