October 1st

I now have more interviews in my second specialty than I do in my first, which I guess goes to show that it was a good idea to apply to those programs. I’m not getting much love in my first specialty, presumably because I don’t have my Level II scores yet and because programs wait for the MSPE to be released. I also think my educational background and activities are more fitted for my second specialty, which is probably part of the reason why I’m getting interviews even though I applied relatively later.

Speaking of the MSPE, it’s recently been the center of concern for my class. For those who don’t know what an MSPE is, it’s essentially an official academic record of your performance during your first three years of medical school. It includes a blurb about what makes you a unique/great applicant for residency programs, the comments that attendings wrote in your evaluations (whether they were good or bad), along with some fancy charts and graphs that visually show programs how you stack up against the rest of your class. Basically, it’s part of your residency application and is necessary to make it “complete” for review.

Historically, the MSPE is not released by medical schools to residency programs until October 1st of the application year. Once they’re released, the residency programs review applications again with the MSPE and decide whether or not to give applicants interviews. Of course you can get an interview before October 1st without the MSPE. This obviously depends on the program, specialty, and whether the program is AOA or ACGME accredited. However, generally speaking, without the MSPE, programs will not offer interviews.

This brings us to the problem: supposedly many student’s MSPE’s had errors. Some were minor, like grammar and punctuation mistakes (although these should still be fixed immediately). However, some were huge- we’re talking incorrect grades, such as documenting a Pass when you actually got Honors, an “In Progress” grade when all the paperwork has been turned in, incorrect applicant name, and evaluations from the wrong preceptor, just to name a few. Of course, my class was furious, and with good reason. Supposedly (and this is a huge supposedly that probably depends on 1,000 other factors) some programs will auto-reject applicants if they don’t have an MSPE submitted by the time they review the application. Now, the MSPE errors aren’t the school’s fault. We were told that there was some kind of glitchy problem with the website that attendings use for submitting our evaluations. Whether this is actually true or not I’m not entirely sure, but I think my class is lucky in that October 1st actually fell on a Saturday this year. Meaning that no one in any residency program was actually working on the 1st to review applications. Therefore, there’s some buffer time to fix any mistakes and upload a 100% correct MSPE before residency programs download applications on Monday, October 3rd. At least, that’s what I’m thinking.

So to my fellow classmates that are also kind of freaking out: I think we will be okay.

Of course if I get an influx of rejections in my inbox tomorrow then I was wrong and we’re screwed.

Just kidding; I think we’ll still be okay.

-NB

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