Issues with Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) Letter

After seven years of undergraduate and graduate studies, you're finally preparing your residency applications and the Medical Student Performance Evaluation letter is a critical component. Although it replaces what used to be the Dean's Letter, it is not a letter of recommendation. According to the AAMC, it is a “summary letter of evaluation.” As such, the information inside of it includes many factors. You've already spent seven years studying, and you don't want academic concerns or professionalism lapses to impact your match.

What May Be Included in a Medical Student Performance Evaluation Letter?

The Medical Student Performance Evaluation Letter (MSPE) provides a summative review of your academic career within the framework of a standardized format. If you've experienced academic difficulties or disciplinary action, the letter will reference these experiences. The letter will also include any summative comments that your supervisors noted in your clerkship evaluations. The goal of the letter is to offer residency programs an honest evaluation of your medical school performance. Often, your school will provide you with a draft of your MSPE during the beginning of September, so that the letter is ready by October 1.

What Are Some Potential Areas of Concern?

The first area to be aware of is the clerkship evaluations; you can evaluate these as they come in, during your third year and fourth year. Many schools only allow three months for evaluation revision, so it is important to be vigilant and proactive. 

Professionalism is another concern; for example, if you attended a medical school conference and received a citation for minor damage to a room, something like that could be included under academic progress in the professional performance section.

Once the MSPE is submitted, it is only possible to add to the original letter, as an addendum, rather than to edit the original. As such, you will want to make certain that it best represents you, before the Oct 1 deadline. 

Why Does it Matter?

The path to becoming a doctor is a long one, and residency is one of the crossroads. Residency programs may impact your participation in a fellowship year, and the quality of your residency influences your future earning potential. According to the 2018 NRMP Program Director Survey Results, 81% of programs cited the Medical Student Performance Evaluation as a factor in selecting applicants to interview for the program. These residency programs also indicated that the average rating of importance was 4.0 out of 5. Items of concern on an MSPE should be addressed by a professional who can help you advocate for yourself. 

Contact Us

For many years the Lento Law Firm has defended more than a thousand students across the United States and in the Caribbean with academic and related concerns. As a medical student, you have dedicated significant time and energy to your studies and your desire to practice as a physician. With such a huge investment and such a great impact on your future career, you want to make sure you have the best possible shot at a residency match. Let us help you remedy your Medical Student Performance Evaluation Letter (MSPE). Call us today at 888-535-3686 or contact us through our website.

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact our offices today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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