Medical School Performance Evaluation (MSPE)

"The MSPE describes, in a sequential manner, a student’s performance, as compared to that of his/her peers, through three full years of medical school and, as much as possible, the fourth year. The MSPE includes an assessment of both the student’s academic performance and professional attributes." - AAMC

Rising Fourth Years,

In May, you will begin meeting individually with Dean Fleming or Dean Miller for one hour each to discuss your Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE, formerly known as the 'Dean’s Letter'). In preparation for that one-hour meeting, we ask that you contribute to the composition of the Noteworthy Characteristics portion of the letter. This year there is a new recommendation from the AAMC for a change in formatting of this portion of the letter. This change consists of presenting the information as a bulleted list (see below for examples). In order for us to write the best MSPE for each of you, we ask that you please write a few paragraphs based on the content detail provided below and underline 3-4 points that will best highlight what you have accomplished during medical school. Do not use these paragraphs to focus on experiences prior to medical school unless you think it will help us to write the best letter possible. During your individual meeting you will decide together with your letter writer the best points to include in Noteworthy Characteristics.

We find that your contribution is incredibly important in the letter writing process.  Program directors comment that Vanderbilt’s MSPE really help them understand “who” an applicant is and their potential contributions as a future resident.

Below is a link to a list of points your composition should include, as well as sample mock-ups. According to the AAMC recommendations this section of the letter should describe the student as follows:

  • 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. Each characteristic should be described in 2 sentences or less. Information about any significant challenges or hardships encountered by the student during medical school may be included. (See sample MSPE)
  • 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 identification of the noteworthy characteristics can be done by each student in consultation with a designated mentor or advisor, or by the MSPE author.

Examples of new format:

Noteworthy Characteristics Ex 1.png


Noteworthy Characteristics Ex 2.png


Content Detail for Noteworthy Characteristics


Examples of Noteworthy Characteristics: 

Sample One

Sample Two

Note deadline:

Please go to (this page requires you to log-in with your Vanderbilt ID and password) and complete the Noteworthy Characteristics section at least 2 weeks prior to your meeting. If this is not completed as directed, your meeting will be canceled and rescheduled for a later date.

Together we will work to produce the best possible Medical School Performance Evaluation, a document that showcases you and your accomplishments.

- Dean Fleming


An email will be sent to your Vanderbilt email address inviting you to schedule your MSPE appointment. You must follow the link contained in this email to access either Dean Fleming's or Dean Miller's calendar. DO NOT make changes to the pre-populated email address when scheduling your appointmentYour Vanderbilt email address is the unique ID used to administer your appointment. You may only schedule an appointment on ONE CALENDAR, either Dean Fleming's or Dean Miller's. Students found to have appointments on both calendars will have both appointments canceled. The deadline for scheduling an appointment is July 1st. After that time, an appointment will be scheduled for you.

Students planning to be away during June, July, or August should be mindful of their travel commitment and be sure to schedule accordingly. Every effort should be made to avoid rescheduling or cancelling of appointments.

Your appointment will be approximately 1 hour. Please bring a copy of your Noteworthy Characteristics, CV, and your personal statement with you to your MSPE meeting. Prior to this meeting please have your college mentor review your personal statement. Portfolio coaches are also a good resource for review of your personal statement and CV.

The appointments will be scheduled Monday through Friday in May, June, July, and August. Please be sure to mark down the date and time of your appointment. Reminders will be sent via email two working days prior to your appointment. Please keep your appointment as it will be difficult to reschedule. We understand some compelling circumstances are unavoidable. Please contact Susan Lewis with justification to reschedule and we will do our best to accommodate your situation.

In order to get the time you want, you are encouraged to schedule as soon as possible.

Follow this link to access your Noteworthy Characteristics (outside site):