Electronic Standardized Letter of Recommendation (eSLOR)

Updated April 2024**

The Electronic Standardized Letter of Recommendation (eSLOR) provides orthopaedic residency programs a concise perspective on a candidate. It replaces a separate narrative letter of recommendation.

It was devised and adopted by the members of the Council of Orthopaedic Residency Directors (CORD), which represents a substantial portion of orthopaedic residency programs in the United States.

**In an effort to create a more seamless process, updates have been made to this eSLOR process for both applicants and eSLOR authors. Please see instructions below.

Preferred Browser: Chrome.

Required Steps for Applicants (Chrome is the preferred browser)

Prior to creating an eSLOR, applicants must:

  • Enter your first name, last name, and email address. Please be sure to provide this information to the author(s) from whom you requested eSLOR(s).
  • Sign a consent agreement.
  • Applicants do not create an account, and therefore, are unable to re-login to make any changes.
  • If you are re-applying and already created an eSLOR account last year, your first name, last name, and email address are already in the database. However, authors will need to login and create a new eSLOR on your behalf. Authors are able to search for your first name, last name, and email address to complete the eSLOR.
  • eSLOR authors are required to download a pdf of the completed form and upload the pdf to the AAMC/ERAS Letter of Recommendation Portal (LoRP).
  • Any questions about whether an eSLOR was uploaded to the AAMC/ERAS application portal should be addressed to AAMC/ERAS.
  • Any questions specifically about the eSLOR form can be addressed to cord@aoassn.org.

Create an Applicant Account

Required Steps for Letter Authors (Chrome is the preferred browser)

Authors completing an eSLOR:

  • Must have the applicant’s first name, last name, and email address.
  • Must login to the eSLOR webpage to fill/complete the eSLOR.
  • It is encouraged that recommendations come from orthopaedic surgery faculty.
  • Your completed eSLOR form must be signed, downloaded as a pdf, and then uploaded into the AAMC ERAS Letter of Recommendation Portal (LoRP). Please note: AAMC ERAS is a separate organization from the AOA. The AOA only provides the eSLOR form, but the AAMC ERAS is the application portal for all application materials. The eSLOR form will not transfer automatically from the AOA site to the ERAS site. You will need to download the completed eSLOR form from the AOA site and manually upload it into the ERAS site. Please contact AAMC ERAS if you need technical assistance with that step.
  • When you upload your completed, signed eSLOR pdf to the AAMC ERAS Letter of Recommendation Portal (LoRP), please make sure to check the box “This letter contains or is a SLOE.” Additionally, in the PDWS, programs are able to see if a letter of recommendation is a standardized form under a column labeled “SLOE.”

Create an Author Account

Author Login Page After Account Creation

To login after creating your account, go to the eSLOR login page, and log in with your username (email address) and the password you created.

eSLOR Login PageFOR AUTHORS ONLY

Please carefully review the instructions below. *NOTE: This is a new process as of June 2023.

Key Tips for Authors

Do’s for Authors

  • Do answer every question.
  • Do use the “Personal Comments” field to explain responses and highlight distinctive accomplishments.
  • Do place an applicant on your hypothetical rank list. Be as accurate as possible. (Please keep in mind that the majority of applicants will match. An applicant placed into the middle third of a hypothetical list will still be viewed as a competitive candidate.)
  • Do provide comments and perspectives not easily found in other parts of the ERAS application packet.

Don’ts for Authors

  • Don’t append any additional information or letters of recommendation. The eSLOR is meant to be a stand-alone document.
  • Don’t reiterate information found elsewhere in a student’s ERAS application (i.e. on the applicant’s transcript or in a Dean’s Letter).

Steps to Completing the eSLOR

  1. Make sure you have the applicant’s first name, last name, and email address.
    You must search for and find the student before you can begin an eSLOR. Because some names may be similar, make sure to verify the student’s correct email address when searching for a student.
  2. If you already created an account last year, go to this page to login. If this is your first time using the eSLOR, register for an account on this page. *This database is separate from the AOA website. This process has been updated in April 2024.
  3. Once the letter is Complete and Signed:
    • Click the Print button.
    • After clicking Print, a Download PDF button will appear. Click the Download PDF button, and then Save the PDF to your local computer where you can easily locate the file.
    • Alternatively, after completing the form, you can click the Back button, and then click the PDF icon next to the name of the student for whom the eSLOR has been completed. Then Save the PDF to a place on your computer where you can easily locate the file.
    • Navigate to the Letter of Recommendation Portal on the AAMC ERAS website and log in using your ERAS portal username and password.
    • Upload the eSLOR PDF that matches the student’s correct ERAS Letter ID.

PDF Standardized Letter of Recommendation

CORD encourages authors to use the Electronic Standard Letter of Recommendation. However, authors may download a PDF version if necessary.
AOA CORD Standardized Letter of Recommendation

Does my eSLOR automatically upload to the student’s ERAS file?

No, ERAS does not accept automatic upload at this time. AOA hopes to add this functionality when available through ERAS.

Is the eSLOR sufficient, or do you recommend the letter writer create an additional summary-type letter?

No, no additional summaries are required. The eSLOR specifically exists to standardize this process, reduce work for letter authors, and  serve as the sole letter for applicants.

The eSLOR contains comment sections for the letter writers, if they wish to provide additional summary information at the close of the document.

What do I do with my eSLOR after it is written?

Note: The process is exactly the same as it is for uploading a recommendation letter in narrative form.

Who can complete an eSLOR?

An eSLOR may be completed by any board eligible or board certified orthopaedic surgeon who has useful information about the applicant. The request is generated by the applicant.

I am a medical student applying in orthopaedic surgery. I want to make it easier for my SLOR writer to provide a letter. Can you create a login for my SLOR writer, and give it to me or send it to them?

The author must create his/her own account. Please direct your letter writers to the AOA CORD eSLOR author account creation page.

Can I have the eSLOR in another format?

The eSLOR is only available through the AOA CORD portal. This ensures uniformity in the letter, its contents, and the data captured by its use.

Can I use an old SLOR template if I have forms previously completed?

We understand the hardship that duplicative work entails. If at all possible, it is in the applicant’s best interest to have a new eSLOR completed, but this is entirely up to you. If you choose to use the old SLOR, a pdf exists under the Instructions tab of this page.

What does the AOA do with completed eSLORs?

The eSLOR is used by the letter writer for submission to ERAS. The AOA does not use or disclose personally identifiable information contained in the eSLOR or disclose the eSLOR to any third-party.

The American Orthopaedic Association does not review the content of any eSLOR completed by a letter writer. AOA has no responsibility or liability for the content of the completed eSLOR or the use thereof by any third party and shall not be liable for damages or claims of any kind whatsoever related to or based upon delivery, receipt or use of or reliance on the completed eSLOR.

AOA takes reasonable steps to protect the confidentiality of the completed eSLOR, including physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards as required by law. We continually review our security procedures and mechanisms to ensure that reasonable protections are in place.

Although AOA uses commercially reasonable efforts to protect the confidentiality of the completed eSLOR as stored by AOA, AOA cannot guarantee the strict confidentiality and security of the eSLOR and disclaims liability for disclosure thereof.

Why Use the Standardized Letter of Recommendation (SLOR)?

The standardized letter exists to fully replace the traditional letter of recommendation.

The electronic standardized letter of recommendation allows for a standard display of the credentials of the letter writer, the degree of involvement between the applicant and the letter writer, and an ability to select answers to questions that are mapped to the 6 ACGME core competencies. Letter writers may provide additional information in a generous comment section of the standardized letter of recommendation.

In essence, the eSLOR was developed to perform the following functions:

  • Provide a global perspective on an applicant’s candidacy for training in a format that allows meaningful comparisons to peers.
  • Highlight this information in a standardized layout for simplified data queries on individuals.
  • Encourage the creation of a completely electronic interface. This will eventually yield a database of information that will undoubtedly improve the match process as a whole.

Background

In the most recent application cycle, the nation’s orthopaedic surgery residency programs will have reviewed more than 80,000 applications from over 1,000 unique applicants. Each application contains three-to-four letter writers lobbying for their candidate’s acceptance.

A thoughtfully completed eSLOR provides an invaluable perspective to every reviewer. It allows for the writer to evaluate applicants with common language. Additionally, there is a generous section that allows for personalization of the letter if the writer so desires. In addition to standard categories of medical knowledge, communication skills, and professionalism, personalized comments highlight unique aspects of the applicant. At the end of the form is a summative statement to provide the letter reader with a suggestion on where a potential applicant places a hypothetical rank list constructed by the writer in question.

Lastly, a historic match rate of 75% among senior medical students applying into orthopaedic surgery from US medical schools, we  encourage letter writers to be mindful of grade inflation. We also encourage reviewers to be equally mindful of those writers who give an honest and accurate summative statement. It is unlikely that every candidate should be ranked for a guaranteed match. In fact, an applicant who is ranked in the middle 1/3 of applicants is still very likely to match!

If you experience problems using the eSLOR or wish to provide feedback, comments and suggestions, please contact the AOA’s CORD program staff by phone at (847) 318-7330 or cord@aoassn.org.