Jan 29, 2010
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I've read through a number of threads and the general concensus is that the MSPE/Dean's letter from foreign medical schools does not provide useful information to US program directors. Having said that and being an IMG (med school in Germany), can I say that I'm unable to secure the MSPE from my medical school since I graduated well over a year ago and most of the information required is not applicable as the courses were pass/fail?

Note: The ECFMG website states "If you are unable to secure the MSPE from your medical school, you must indicate this on page 12 of the MyERAS application. A neutral placeholder letter will be provided in place of the MSPE. The placeholder letter will be provided to all of the programs to which you apply, and will state, “This is in lieu of an MSPE.” This will ensure that your application will appear as complete for those programs that require an MSPE before considering your application."
 

JSI124

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Feb 20, 2009
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I've read through a number of threads and the general concensus is that the MSPE/Dean's letter from foreign medical schools does not provide useful information to US program directors. Having said that and being an IMG (med school in Germany), can I say that I'm unable to secure the MSPE from my medical school since I graduated well over a year ago and most of the information required is not applicable as the courses were pass/fail?

Note: The ECFMG website states "If you are unable to secure the MSPE from your medical school, you must indicate this on page 12 of the MyERAS application. A neutral placeholder letter will be provided in place of the MSPE. The placeholder letter will be provided to all of the programs to which you apply, and will state, “This is in lieu of an MSPE.” This will ensure that your application will appear as complete for those programs that require an MSPE before considering your application."
Well, although the format of MSPE is something that non-ACGME schools are not generally familiar with, it does not hurt to ask your Dean's office if it would be possible to scramble something similar.
I did that with my school and it worked. I did provide them with rough instructions on how it should be written, ask the attendings with whom I have worked for brief LORs and I got a pretty decent MSPE. I also asked them to explicitly state that MSPE is not a form they are accustomed to write, which I think selection committees should know in order not to reject your letter based on an MSPE that is written poorly (or rather, not up to ACGME-school standards).
 
Jan 29, 2010
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I also asked them to explicitly state that MSPE is not a form they are accustomed to write, which I think selection committees should know in order not to reject your letter based on an MSPE that is written poorly (or rather, not up to ACGME-school standards).
How is this any different than saying that I was unable to get an MSPE from my school? The ECFMG website states, "A neutral placeholder letter will be provided in place of the MSPE. The placeholder letter will be provided to all of the programs to which you apply, and will state, “This is in lieu of an MSPE.” This will ensure that your application will appear as complete for those programs that require an MSPE before considering your application." Does anyone believe that a neutral placeholder letter in lieu of a worthless MSPE would hurt my application?
 
Feb 2, 2010
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How is this any different than saying that I was unable to get an MSPE from my school? The ECFMG website states, "A neutral placeholder letter will be provided in place of the MSPE. The placeholder letter will be provided to all of the programs to which you apply, and will state, “This is in lieu of an MSPE.” This will ensure that your application will appear as complete for those programs that require an MSPE before considering your application." Does anyone believe that a neutral placeholder letter in lieu of a worthless MSPE would hurt my application?
Having an MSPE is a whole lot better than not having one. You will stick out like a sore thumb for lacking it. By the way, you will need a whole lot of US clinical experience and good US letters in order to even dream of a match, regardless of scores -- I assume you're taking care of this. I think your best bet is to do a google search for your school or related German schools to see if you can find any graduates at US residency programs, and ask them how they took care of the MSPE. I'm sure your German school has received requests from previous students for them, so they wouldn't be completely alien to the concept. You need to do a lot of research and maybe meet with PD's in person to present your situation. Somehow I don't think a mere email from a random foreigner saying "I don't have an MSPE, will you still take me into your residency program?" will go over well.
 

mcl

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Sep 6, 2008
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How is this any different than saying that I was unable to get an MSPE from my school? The ECFMG website states, "A neutral placeholder letter will be provided in place of the MSPE. The placeholder letter will be provided to all of the programs to which you apply, and will state, “This is in lieu of an MSPE.” This will ensure that your application will appear as complete for those programs that require an MSPE before considering your application." Does anyone believe that a neutral placeholder letter in lieu of a worthless MSPE would hurt my application?
The application only looks complete until I click on the MSPE link and see your placeholder statement. If I were reviewing your application, I would say that you didn't fulfill the requirement of having an MSPE and not forward your application to the Selection Committee for review. Same with using the placeholder in lieu of having a transcript. If you are on my bubble--meaning that your application is good but not quite strong enough on its own in relation to the other applicants in the pool--I need a letter from your medical school outlining your activities and progress, especially in the clinical arena, to make a case that you should be part of the 30% of my applicants who receive an interview invitation.
 

JSI124

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Feb 20, 2009
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How is this any different than saying that I was unable to get an MSPE from my school? The ECFMG website states, "A neutral placeholder letter will be provided in place of the MSPE. The placeholder letter will be provided to all of the programs to which you apply, and will state, "This is in lieu of an MSPE." This will ensure that your application will appear as complete for those programs that require an MSPE before considering your application." Does anyone believe that a neutral placeholder letter in lieu of a worthless MSPE would hurt my application?
Well, if your school's administration cares about it's graduates, they will try to create an MSPE that is as close as possible in format to the ones provided by the US schools. Disclaimer clause is there only to serve as a reminder to the selection committee that the format might not be identical to the ones they typically get.