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The MSPE and Noteworthy Characteristics

The MSPE is a significant part of your residency application. The Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) is a summary letter of evaluation intended to provide residency program directors an honest and objective summary of a student’s salient experiences, attributes, and academic performance through medical school. In 2016, the AAMC MSPE Task Force released recommendations for revising the MSPE that emphasized increased standardization across schools and inclusion of grading rubrics and comparative performance data. Your Lead Advisor and an assigned Dean from IUSM MSE/MSA, including the Regional Campus Deans, will collaborate on this with you throughout the summer of your applications year. The MSPE is intentionally not specialty specific.  Any specialty specific language will be removed.  The MSPE is broken down into the following sections:

  • Identifying information
  • Noteworthy characteristics
    • See next section for additional information
  • Academic history
    • Dates of medical school matriculation and expected graduation
    • Gaps or extensions
      • Any time added to your medical education beyond four years must be discussed here
    • Dual degrees
    • Adverse actions
      • Any change in academic status must be reported in the MSPE – this includes academic probation
  • Professionalism performance
    • Any lapses in professionalism must be discussed here – this includes status changes to academic monitoring due to professionalism issues
    • Any commendations for professionalism can be highlighted
  • Academic progress
    • Basic Science
      • 2-3 comments from the first two years of medical school will be included in your MSPE
    • Core clinical clerkships
      • Clerkships are reported in the order in which they were completed.
      • The Clerkship dates and the grade received are reported.
      • Only the Summative comments are automatically pulled into the MSPE.
        • Discuss formative comments with your Lead Advisor
      • Summative comments can be edited for spelling/grammatical errors by your Lead Advisor, but the content and tone cannot be changed
        • If you have concerns about the content of the summative comments, discuss them with the clerkship director
      • A histogram graph of the grade distribution for the clerkship over the year is included
  • Summary
    • Written by your lead advisor, with your input
    • Goal of the summary is to capture common themes throughout your summative comments

 Noteworthy Characteristics – from the AAMC 

  • This section includes information intended to help a residency program selection committee review applicants holistically to achieve a residency class that brings a diverse set of background experiences, characteristics and perspectives.
  • Provide a maximum of three characteristics highlighting the most salient noteworthy characteristics of the student.
  • This section should be presented as a bulleted list, written in the third person. Each characteristic should be described in 3-4 sentences, or less. Information about any significant challenges or hardships encountered by the student during medical school may be included. (See sample below)
  • Lengthy biographical descriptions are not recommended due to the time required for review and because these details can be found in other sections of the applicant’s portfolio (e.g., ERAS application, personal statement, letters of recommendation, interviews).
  • The noteworthy characteristics for IUSM students are done by each student in consultation with a designated mentor or advisor.
  • You can consider organizing your Noteworthy Characteristics around particular themes.  This information was likely included in the student’s CV as well but it adds more and highlights a theme that is easy to identify.
  • Your Lead Advisor will work with you to refine your NC’s, and your MSPE Dean/Director providing the final review will give input as well. Please contact your Lead Advisor if you are having any difficulty, as they are an important part of your residency application!

Sample Noteworthy Characteristics – from the AAMC

  • Mr. Rey began has been conducting research with Myrna Loy, MD, PhD, on the subject of epigenetic factors influencing childhood obesity since the end of his first year of medical school. This research has resulted in a series of publications including one with him as first author in the journal Lancet.
  • Mr. Rey is the first member of his family to graduate from college.
  • Student A has shown a dedication to maintaining his health by competing in multiple triathlons during his time in medical school. His commitment to regimented training began during his years of collegiate soccer and continues to this day.
  • While in medical school, Student A helped organize campus events such as the first ever bone marrow drive and the MLK day of service. His continued commitment to serving his community was demonstrated through his service as a health educator for inner city sixth graders, teaching them about the importance of healthy eating and exercise habits.
  • Student A has worked diligently on his community capstone research, which pertains to the complex relationship between the emergency department and the homeless. He has spent many hours interviewing the homeless in their home shelter about their experiences. Student A presented his work at a homeless health care collaboration and participated in multiple events and poster presentations. 
  • Student B was awarded a summer stipend from the National Institute of Diabetes and Kidney Disease to study at UCLA/Cedars Sinai. She has since presented projects in obstetrics/gynecology and otolaryngology.
  • Student B has been dedicated to service as a medical student by volunteering at the Student Outreach Clinic, a student-run clinic providing basic medical care to the underserved community.
  • Student B has developed her interest in medical education as a supplemental instructor for the cardio-pulmonary block and volunteer instructor at anatomy lab review sessions.

Themed Examples

Community Service: Ima Doctor has worked diligently on her community capstone research, which pertains to the complex relationship between the emergency department and the homeless. She has spent many hours interviewing the homeless about their experiences and presented her work at a homeless health care collaboration.

Example Themes:

  • Leadership
  • Concern for the medically underserved
  • Patient advocate
  • Caring
  • Problem solver
  • Well rounded
  • Academically outstanding
  • Research oriented
  • Service oriented
  • Respected
  • Resilient
  • Works well under pressure
  • Determined
  • Inquisitive
  • Wellness
  • Social conscience
  • Team work
  • Educator
  • Quality and cost containment
  • Community
  • Teaching
  • Mentoring
  • Initiative
  • Creativity
  • Global perspective (or Impact)
  • Balance
  • Accomplished
  • Skilled
  • Knowledgeable
  • Insightful
  • Resourceful
  • Confident
  • Ambitious
  • Intellectual