Has anyone here heard of such a thing as being immediately rejected from a grad school just because admissions didn't receive all the letters of recommendation? This just happened to me. They didn't even notify me; prior to this they lost my unofficial transcript, but they actually did notify me to resend it to them, which they ended up not needing because they found the first one I sent! They didn't even ask for more contact info for my recommenders than their email addresses. (I heard in the old days, an undergrad adviser would just recommend his student to another adviser over the phone! What's happened since then‽) I've been reapplying yearly for about four years now to third-rate physics graduate programs, but have kept getting rejected: 14 schools in total, 100% rejection rate. I am in very close personal contact with a professor on the admissions committee at the latest school I've applied to because I wanted to purse a PhD thesis with him, and he helped me make my application very good and proofread my personal statement, etc., but because of this annoying letters of recommendation issue, I've been ipso facto rejected! (He's the only one who's told me I've been rejected because of the letters of recommendation issue.) I've taken grad level classes already; I teach high school physics; and I've published a first-author paper, so I certainly seemed qualified. There seems to be something quite wrong and far too impersonal and mechanized about the grad admissions process. Noam Chomsky thinks there's a selective weeding process in grad admissions, filtering out students who don't conform. Perhaps that's my problem; I want to pursue my own PhD thesis and ideas, and maybe that's the real reason for all my grad school rejections? I'm too much of a risk for the schools because I want to pursue my own ideas?