The Standardized Letter of Evaluation (SLOE) for Off-Service or Other Rotation

Dear Letter Writer:

Thank you for writing a letter of evaluation (Off service- Standardized Letter of Evaluation) for an Emergency Medicine (EM) applicant. This letter is intended to be completed by an attending physician. While many characteristics are universally valued by all specialties, emergency medicine prioritizes specific attributes based on the tasks and demands of the profession. We would like to provide you some guidance on which clinical skills and professional attributes on which to focus in order to maximize the impact of your letter. This form will ask you to think about your students by comparing them to their peers.  

By using this form you will be able to highlight the strengths and growth opportunities for your student and provide valuable guidance to residency programs during this challenging application cycle. We understand that not all writers will be able to comment on each specific area, but we are excited to hear your insight into your student’s interest and aptitude for emergency medicine.  

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding this letter writing process and please review the additional instructions below. Thank you for your dedication to student education and training. 

Best- CORD SLOE Committee

O-SLOE Instructions

The SLOE is intended to be an evaluative tool, first and foremost. This differs from traditional letters of recommendation. It should provide a global perspective on an applicant’s candidacy for training by providing meaningful comparisons to peers applying for training in Emergency Medicine. This peer comparison may be unusual or uncomfortable for you, but it is standard for this type of evaluation in our specialty. Please keep comments succinct and relevant, and make every effort to avoid grade inflation in your comparisons so as not to detract from the effectiveness of your SLOE.

The SLOE was developed to be:

  • Standardized
  • Concise
  • Discerning/Discriminating

A well written SLOE provides an overall perspective on what the candidate offers to a training program. It presents comparative data with an applicant’s peers, in addition to distinguishing non-cognitive characteristics (e.g. maturity, professionalism, leadership, compassion, initiative, enthusiasm) an applicant demonstrates.

The pool of candidates applying to emergency medicine is very competitive. As such, ratings of applicants “at the level of peers (middle 1/3)” are viewed by program directors as a positive evaluation, and even those “below the level of peers (lower 1/3)” are interpreted as a candidate who will likely match in emergency medicine. 

In addition to describing an applicant’s non-cognitive qualities, written comments should highlight strengths and explain any areas of focus for the student. Keep in mind that training programs vary in the attributes they value in a successful candidate.

Dos:

  1. Use the O-SLOE form
  2. Complete the SLOE in its entirety and then download the completed PDF after clicking submit.
  3. Answer every question to the best of your ability
  4. Answer the global assessment as it is written. Middle 1/3 and lower 1/3 global assessment estimates will be viewed as competitive applicants who will likely match (Section C). Most programs match out between #40-100 on their rank list.
  5. The first section of section D is for applicant highlights of strengths and growth opportunities and should be limited to 50 words. The larger text box can provide additional narrative comments and should be limited to 250 words.

Donts:

  1. Don’t list other faculty members’ comments verbatim from a rotation without context
  2. Don’t reiterate information that can be found elsewhere in the ERAS application
  3. Don’t use the comments section in Section D to describe your grading system or institution. 

!!STOP!! READ THROUGH BOTH OF THESE FAQ PAGES BEFORE STARTING YOUR SLOE. 

Instructions and Frequently Asked Questions

Medical Students Frequently Asked Questions

Complete O SLOE