Writing the MSPE: Your 2023 Guide

Writing the MSPE: Your 2023 Guide

Table of Contents

1. The Purpose of the MSPE

The Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) serves as a comprehensive and honest overview of your personal attributes, experiences, and academic accomplishments. This synopsis is based on verifiable data and thorough evaluations. Whenever feasible, the MSPE aims to provide relative assessments of your attributes, experiences, and achievements compared to your peers within the institution. While the primary focus remains on your medical school performance, you may include a concise overview of relevant premedical experiences and accomplishments. It’s important to note that the MSPE is not a letter of recommendation but an evaluative summary. The information in the MSPE should be standardized, clear, concise, and easily accessible.

2. Noteworthy Characteristics (NC)

The Noteworthy Characteristics section is designed to give residency program selection committees a comprehensive view of applicants. This aids in creating a diverse residency class with a wide array of backgrounds, qualities, and perspectives.

3. Guidelines

  • Select up to three noteworthy characteristics that best represent you.
  • Present these characteristics as bullet points, each described in two sentences or fewer. This section can also cover significant challenges faced during medical school.
  • Avoid extensive biographical details, as these are available in other parts of your application.
  • The Student Affairs Office (SAO) provides individual guidance through the process. Start by generating at least three noteworthy characteristics, up to a maximum of ten. During your dean’s meeting, you’ll choose up to three bullet points for inclusion.
  • While most NCs will relate to your medical school experiences, you can include significant pre-medical life events if applicable.
  • Write all NCs in the third-person, past tense, avoiding “I” statements.

4. Ideas for NCs

  • Addressing healthcare disparities through activities
  • Engaging in community service
  • Overcoming challenges
  • Pursuing hobbies
  • Achieving awards and honors
  • Holding leadership positions
  • Sharing life experiences
  • Contributing to research or publications
  • Offering tutoring or mentoring
  • Describing a gap year during medical school

5. Noteworthy Characteristics Bio Bullets

Create these in a Word document and submit to OSA. These bullets offer a holistic view of you to residency programs.

  • Focus: Aiming for diversity in applicants.
  • Format: Dot-bulleted list.
  • Content: Up to three characteristics, each within two sentences or less. You can include significant challenges or hardships faced during medical school.
  • Style: Third-person, past tense; avoid “I” statements.
  • Length: 35-40 words per bullet.
  • Review: Consult with mentors or advisors for selection

6. Writing the MSPE

  • Formerly known as the “Dean’s Letter,” the MSPE summarizes your medical school performance.
  • It’s not a letter of recommendation or self-evaluation.
  • Contains standardized character descriptions, academic career summary, and highlighting strengths.
  • If necessary, addresses academic difficulties or disciplinary issues.
  • You can read and suggest factual corrections, but evaluation content changes must come from the faculty.

7. A Marvelous Tapestry of You: What Not to Include

While the MSPE is your canvas, there are certain elements best left off. Summative statements about your academic progress and personal traits are like leaves swept away by the wind. Similarly, refrain from including information about your chosen specialty or the reasons behind your selection. Keep in mind that the MSPE is not a reimagining of your CV; it’s a masterpiece painted with distinct strokes.

i. Final Touches and Timetable

  • MSPE drafts available for student review in early September, with final versions by mid-September.
  • Crucial evaluations from September and October can be added later.
  • National MSPE release date is October 1.

ii. Getting Advice

  • Mentors and faculty members can provide guidance.
  • Engage with faculty, residents, consultants, and specialty Program Directors to learn about specialties.
  • Attend specialty interest group sessions and shadow physicians to explore fields of interest.


Example 1:

  • ALEX’s journey was shaped by a single father who navigated financial hardships. Despite the challenges, ALEX excelled in academics and sports, achieving the distinction of being the first in their family to attend college, all while securing a full scholarship.
  • ALEX’s leadership roles as Treasurer and later President of the Emergency Medicine Interest Group highlighted their commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration. This culminated in a successful partnership with local EMTs, leading to the creation of a novel educational opportunity.
  • ALEX’s academic achievements extended beyond medical school, with an MPH degree and a thesis exploring the connection between obesity and reading levels in inner-city students. This background enriched their clinical experiences during medical training.

Example 2:

  • EMMA’s affinity for National Public Radio, particularly Morning Edition and Hidden Brain, has been a source of intellectual engagement. They even participated in a local radio podcast on WYPR, sharing insights into medical student life.
  • EMMA’s dedication as the class representative for the Student National Medical Association led to impactful initiatives. Their leadership in a STEM camp at a local Baltimore City high school paved the way for a youth enrichment project.
  • EMMA’s two-year involvement in the education committee for the Eva Dodge House Advisory system included orchestrating, promoting, and organizing faculty-student round tables and panel discussions, enhancing the academic experience.


The (SAO) provides guidance throughout. Start by generating at least three noteworthy characteristics, up to a maximum of ten. During your dean’s meeting, you’ll choose up to three bullet points for inclusion

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