MSPE: Noteworthy Characteristics Tips and Guidelines
This section of the MSPE 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.
Students must provide a maximum of three characteristics highlighting the most salient noteworthy characteristics of their lives. This section should be presented as a bulleted list, with each characteristic described in two sentences or less.
This is a great time to include any information about any significant challenges or hardships you encountered during medical school. This is not the time for lengthy biographical descriptions, however, due to the time required for review and because these details can be found in other sections of your portfolio, such as in the ERAS application, personal statement, letters of recommendation, or the personal interview.
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.
Here are some examples of Noteworthy Characteristics worth including:
- Achievements in research
- Honors and Awards
- Leadership in student organizations
- Institutional leadership
- Community service
- Hobbies that speak to your career interests (i.e. writing about medicine; leadership of peers in sports leagues)
- Peer education/mentorship/tutoring
- Work experiences before medical school that have influenced your practice
- Life experiences
- Explanation of any difficulties
Students should NOT include:
- Information about what specialty you apply to or why you chose that specialty
- Summative statements about your academic progress or personal traits
- Any simple listing of activities (these should appear in your CV)
SAMPLE NOTEWORTHY CHARACTERISTICS:
- During her second year, Ms. Doe served as President of the American Medical Student Association. As President, she organized several suture and phlebotomy workshops.
- Ms. Doe passed her USMLE Step 1 examination two months after the death of her mother in a motor vehicle accident.
- Ms. Doe gave birth to a son this past August. She successfully completed all her M3 clinical rotations on time, and commenced her Emergency Medicine rotation in mid-September.
- Starting after his first year, Mr. Rey has conducted research with John Smith, MD, PhD on the subject of epigenetic factors influencing childhood obesity which 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.
- Mr. Rey was named to the Dean’s List for four consecutive semesters.
- Jack has shown an interest in teaching and peer mentorship, as demonstrated by his service as a peer educator in two required courses.
- Jack has a strong record of leadership, which includes service as a Dean’s Council representative, as a leader in his advising society, and as a co-chair of a local high school health scholars organization.
- Jack hopes to incorporate his passion for reducing disparities in health care into his future practice, and has been a consistent volunteer in one of our school’s student-run free clinics.
- Jack has demonstrated excellence in scholarship, manifested in two published abstracts and selection for an oral presentation at the Annual Society of Hospitalist Medicine Conference.
- Jack has been an interviewer for prospective students, and has been a dedicated participant in the medical school admissions process.
- Ms. Doe served as a clinic coordinator and volunteered with the student-run UCSF Homeless Clinic.
- Ms. Doe worked with Bob Jones, PhD investigating potential links between GABA biosynthesis and neuropathic pain.
- Ms. Doe worked with Dr. John Hernandez to develop and characterize a line of conditionally immortalized human mesenchymal stem cells; she presented this work at the 2016 Orthopedic Research Society Annual Meeting.
- During Basic Medical Sciences, Mr. Doe was on the university’s Dean List and was selected to serve as a teaching assistant for the Department of Anatomy.
- Mr. Doe was a class representative for the Student Government Association (SGA) in which his role was to bring student concerns and issues to the SGA board members. He also participated in the election of board members and several fundraising events hosted by the association.
- Mr. Doe was a member of AUC’s medical fraternity, Phi Chi, in which he held many leadership roles including treasurer, presiding senior and Grand Chapter Welfare Board of Trustee Member. Through his many roles within Phi Chi, he led the fraternity and oversaw all social, academic and community service events including: Phi Chi Wine and Cheese, medical workshops, community fundraising and medical missions abroad.
- During his clinical rotations, Mr. Doe assisted in Cholecystectomy vs Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy database analysis at St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, Connecticut. The research, entitled "Robotic cholecystectomy in a community hospital setting: short-term outcomes, feasibility and cost-analysis in comparison to laparoscopic cholecystectomy," won the 3rd prize poster presentation at St. Mary’s.
- Mr. Doe participated in a number of AUC’s Community Actions days conducting HIV screenings with the St. Maarten AIDS Foundation and volunteering with the St. Maarten Medical Center for an Alzheimer’s screening service.
- Ms. Doe was the recipient of the Phi Chi Medical Fraternity, Sigma Chi Mu chapter Leadership and Service Honor Award - Ms. Doe’s academic performance and commitment to community service led to her induction into AUC’s Alpha Omega Phi Honor Society.