Electronic Standardized Letter of Recommendation (eSLOR)

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 and Canada.

Required Steps for Applicants

Prior to creating an eSLOR, medical students must:

  • Sign an agreement
  • Provide their ERAS AAMC ID

Medical students: click here to complete this step.

Required Steps for Letter Authors

Authors completing an eSLOR:

  • Must have the applicant’s ERAS AAMC ID.
  • Must login to the eSLOR webpage to submit the eSLOR
  • Must be orthopaedic surgery faculty.

Authors: click here to complete this step.

Note: To login, one must have an AOA username and password, regardless of membership or affiliate status.

Please carefully review the instructions below.

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 ERAS AAMC ID.
    You must verify the ERAS AAMC ID number before you can begin an eSLOR.
  2. Log in with your unique AOA username and password. (If you don’t have an AOA login, create a new account.)
  3. Once the letter is complete:

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 a comment section 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 portal. To access, they will log in with their AOA ID and password, or create a new account.

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.