Below are answers to some frequently asked questions regarding the CORD O & E Standardized Letter of Evaluation (SLOE) from Medical Students.
Start with this YouTube Video by Cullen Hegarty, MD; Co-Chair of the SLOE Committee, as he discusses some of the most popular questions.
Q: So many SLOEs, can you explain to me each different type of SLOE?
-eSLOE for academic EM faculty. This is the letter you will get from doing an EM rotation at an academic/residency program. This SLOE typically holds the most weight. Most years students will get 2-3 eSLOEs from the rotations they complete at residency program sites. (For 2020, the number of recommended eSLOEs is 1, given COVID restrictions on rotations)
-SLOE for non-academic EM faculty. This is a letter designed to be written by an Emergency Physician that works at a hospital not affiliated with an EM residency program. Examples of this letter from the Midwest would include the University of North Dakota and the University of South Dakota—both schools have EM rotations, but neither has their own EM residency.
-SLOE from an EM sub-specialty rotation. This is a letter designed to be written by an Emergency Physician that you worked with during an Ultrasound, EMS, Peds EM or Toxicology rotation.
-O-SLOE. This is NEW for 2020. Off-service Standardized Letter of Evaluation. Given all of the changes to medical student rotations, and therefore to the EM application process, we have created this letter to be used for all of your non-EM letter writers to use (ex: Surgery, Medicine, Pediatrics, etc.). For this letter, we recommend having someone write the letter that knows you well, more than someone that is well known, and we are truly open to reading this letter from any clinical rotation that you have done. There is not one key off-service rotation that leads to a better letter than any other.
Q: What should I do if I have already asked my non-EM letter writers to write a letter for me?
A: I would politely ask them to transfer the letter they have already completed to the O-SLOE form, and if they have not done the letter yet I would definitely ask them to use the O-SLOE form. It will hold slightly more weight than a standard narrative LOR.
Q: Do I qualify for SLOE?
YES: You a current medical school student
NO: Only current medical school students should have a SLOE completed. Non-medical students such as faculty, returning to medicine, rotating through EM after completing another residency, should complete TWO, up to four, Letters of Evaluation. Because you are NOT a current student, you cannot be compared to your peers. Unanswered questions on a SLOE can do more harm than good.
Q. How do I request a SLOE from my letter author?
A. To request a SLOE, please send your letter author the ERAS Letter Request Form (that should include your ERAS Letter ID), and the SLOE website link (www.cordem.org/sloe), which has instructions for completing the Form and information on eligibility requirements.
Q. Who can complete a SLOE?
A. A SLOE may be completed by the Emergency Medicine Faculty from an Emergency Medicine Residency Program.
Q. Please define Emergency Medicine Faculty?
A. We define Emergency Medicine Faculty as a faculty member of an Emergency Medicine residency program.
Q. My Letter Author is not faculty for an Emergency Medicine residency program, is there an alternate version of the SLOE?
A. There are 2 alternate versions of the SLOE currently available. 1. For Authors who do not have an established emergency medicine residency program at their institution BUT regularly have medical students complete rotations and monitor and/or supervise multiple students OR 1. For Authors from a subspecialty rotation. More information on the different versions of the SLOE as well as eligibility information for authors can be found at www.cordem.org/sloe. If your author does not fit into any of the categories they will need to complete a regular letter of recommendation.
Q. Can I create a login for the eSLOE site?
A. Access to the eSLOE site is only available to SLOE authors via the CORD office.
Q: Can you generate a SLOE from a virtual EM rotation?
A: A SLOE has always been and should continue to be based on clinical experience. Virtual rotations with no in-person patient contact should not generate a SLOE. If a student completed a rotation with mixed clinical and virtual components, such as a rotation where the student saw patients, but labs and didactics were changed to virtual experiences, this would still count for a SLOE.
Q. I am a medical student applying in emergency medicine, I want to make it easier on my SLOE writer to access the eSLOE. Can you create a login for my SLOE writer and give it to me or send it to them?
A. No, if the person writing your SLOE is faculty for an emergency medicine residency program they can contact their program director about creating their login. If they are not faculty of an emergency medicine residency program but still feel they are eligible to complete a SLOE they need to contact the CORD office. We will not release login information or accept requests to set up an account for someone else.
Q. How does my letter author get access to the SLOE site?
A. Your letter author will need to contact CORD for more information.
Q. Does my authors' SLOE automatically upload to my ERAS file?
A. No, at this time we do not have access to automatically upload to ERAS. We do hope to add this functionality in the future.
Q. What does my author do with my SLOE once it is written?
A. Your letter author will need to download the PDF created for the completed SLOE from the eSLOE site and upload the eSLOE PDF to your ERAS file.
Q. How does my letter author upload my SLOE to ERAS?
A. Instructions for uploading a SLOE to a student's ERAS file can be found on the ERAS website. Uploading a SLOE is exactly the same as uploading a Letter of Recommendation. Click here to view instructions from the ERAS site.
Q. Can I have the eSLOE in word format?
A. No, the new SLOE is only available on the new eSLOE website. This is to ensure uniformity in the SLOE and that the SLOE is being completed by the proper faculty. (Alternate SLOEs are only available in PDF format)
Q. Can I use an old SLOE template if I have them completed earlier?
A. Each program will decide what they will or won't accept. It is in your best interest to have a new SLOE completed but this is entirely up to you.
Q: My SLOE doesn't look correct on my MAC, what can I do?
It opens in preview on a MAC automatically, you should save to your MAC, then when you are opening the file again can you tell it to open with Adobe Reader instead of preview. It should be different after you save the document and reopen the file that is saved on your MAC.