Medical Student Performance Evaluation Before Residency

The Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE), also called the dean’s letter, is an important part of your application for residency training. It helps residency programs gauge your performance from a mostly objective perspective. 

What goes into the MSPE?

Guidelines have been created to help medical schools evaluate the applicant’s entire medical school career. The Association of American Medical Colleges recommends that the MSPE include the following sections: identifying information, noteworthy characteristics, academic history, academic progress, summary, and medial school information. The process of creating an MSPE in many schools entails a meeting with your dean or his or her designee so it can reflect some personal insight into your performance and career goals.

How is the MSPE released to programs?

Medical Student Performance Evaluations are released to residency programs on October 1 each year. Whether you’re applying to all of your desired programs via ERAS® or via other channels, schools will not release the MSPE until October 1. ERAS is programmed to embargo the MSPE at the ERAS PostOffice until 12:01 a.m. on October 1. The only exception is MSPEs for fellowship applicants. They are available to fellowship programs as soon as they are transmitted from the ERAS Fellowships Documents Office.

Questions to address in preparation for the MSPE

To make sure letters are as accurate as possible, deans or their designees will hold short appointments with students. Getting answers to the following questions will help you ensure that you are prepared for this meeting and know what to expect from the process:

  • When can you begin scheduling appointments to visit with the dean?
  • Whom should you contact to schedule an appointment?
  • What resources should you have in preparation for your meeting with the dean? Should you have a draft of your CV and personal statement ready? What other information (e.g., transcripts, list of potential residency programs, etc.) should you bring along?
  • How do you obtain the MSPE to send to residency programs that are not participating in ERAS?
  • How long does it take for the MSPE to be drafted, signed, and sent out?
  • Will you have the opportunity to review your MSPE before it is sent out?
Misdemeanor/Felony Questions

The American Board of Medical Specialties requires all participating specialty boards to have guidelines for professionalism as part of specialty certification and recertification. Applicants are required to answer questions concerning felony or misdemeanor convictions.

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