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Why is it so hard for me to become a stronger applicant????

Discussion in 'Pre-Pharmacy' started by Oink, 04.21.12.


  1. Thanks to Crack the PCAT
  1. Oink

    Oink

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm a third year undergraduate and I am trying so hard to find some kind of pharmacy experience. I've literally been going store to store asking if pharmacies are willing to accept volunteers for the past 3 months and I've gotten nothing! Not even the independent pharmacies would let me shadow! They all say they're full or they don't allow it.

    I feel what's holding me back is my awful first 2 years of college where I've had no extracurriculars and GPA of 3.0. I've been trying my best to make up for those two years! I got my GPA up to a 3.3 and got involved in two health related clubs and Ophthalmology research.

    People used to tell me that research looks really good for applicants but now I'm hearing the opposite because my research is not pharmacy related. Is it true that my research is not really going to help me strengthen my application to pharmacy schools?

    I really don't know what to do. I feel like those first 2 years of college is keeping me from going anywhere for example being denied from tutoring and leadership positions that I've tried out. I'm a certified Pharmacy Tech but I only self-studied and passed the test for the certificate. I feel like I'm just stuck and can't go anywhere further to make myself look better to pharmacy schools :(

    Please, any advice on what I should do is greatly appreciated!
  2. AlPacino

    AlPacino "We Will!" Moderator

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    You are a Certified Pharmacy technician and for the past 3 months every single pharmacy you have asked has denied you from even shadowing(not looking for job) for the day?

    I dont know, I find that hard to believe. Something smells fishy here. Unless you have Lil Wayne tattoos(neck and forehead) and end your request to shadow with "Oh by the way, I was wondering if you got the Roxicodones 30MG in today?" I dont understand why every pharmacy you have asked has denied you?

    I too am a CPht and have never had problems asking to shadow for the day. Just make sure you look, speak, and sound professional. A pharmacy is a professional environment, so you want to show the Pharmacist that you are mature enough for the position.
  3. Oink

    Oink

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    Like I said, they usually say they have too many people or insurance issues don't allow them to have unpaid volunteers. All I do is walk in, greet myself, express how I want to go to pharmacy school, and then ask if they will let me volunteer/shadow. I don't see how it's unbelievable if I always hear about how it's so hard to find any job in pharmacy. I am also a normal person and all I ask for is some advice. I live in Southern California if that helps.
  4. Oink

    Oink

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    Oh sorry, I meant to say 3 weeks.
  5. AlPacino

    AlPacino "We Will!" Moderator

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    Since you havent had much luck with retail, then why not try a different setting like a hospital pharmacy? I work in a retail pharmacy as a CPhT and also volunteer once a week at the hospital. Go on the hospital(nearest you) website, search for volunteer options, and fill out the online application. Hospitals are always looking for volunteers so maybe you will have better luck there.
  6. henryharry

    henryharry

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    I am having the same problem, but I am not a certified pharmacy technician. I tried asking at a hospital, but was told that due to compliance reasons, volunteers are not allowed in the pharmacy.
  7. tydt

    tydt

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    Apparently you must have it really hard in Cali! Getting job shadowing position shouldn't be hard to get. I recently called a local walgreen pharmacy and asked to job shadow and they gladly offer me a spot. I'm pretty sure CVS and Walgreens are easy when it comes to shadowing but hospital is a different story though.
  8. dancingallday

    dancingallday

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    It took me a full year to get into a pharmacy. Three weeks? That's nothin'. Keep pounding that pavement.
  9. Oink

    Oink

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    Thank you everyone for the responses. I have tried hospital but that was quite a while ago. I'll try applying again and hopefully they don't remember me because my application wasn't as good back then.
  10. AlPacino

    AlPacino "We Will!" Moderator

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    Try a different hospital then. I applied had to go to two of them to get the position. The first one was horrible. The employees have this "I dont care" look on their face and speak like they just want to get rid of you.
  11. Twentytwelve2

    Twentytwelve2

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    Have you visited your school's internship and career center? There should be internships available for pre-pharmacy students. This way, you dont have to go looking on your own.
  12. Oink

    Oink

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    Yeah, I've talked to the career fair and a counselor but they told me that internships are only for people who are already pharmacy students. I believed them because I've never heard any pre-pharmacy student in my university that talked about looking for a pharmacy internship at this time and there are A LOT of pre-pharmacy students. The only advice they gave me about getting experience is to keep applying to jobs, asking pharmacies for openings, and getting involved in campus organizations, which is what I've been doing.
  13. Twentytwelve2

    Twentytwelve2

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    I guess every university is different. At UC Davis, they offer positions in pharmacies for students only like the one sent to us below:
  14. ImmunoPharmD

    ImmunoPharmD

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    Why don't you apply with the stats you have now and see how it goes? They don't look too bad to me, and some schools do not require pharmacy experience.
  15. Uwrf

    Uwrf

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    What a funny coincidence. I also self studied for the PTCB exam, passed it, and was denied by my own retail workplace for a long time before hearing that a pharmacy elsewhere was looking for another tech and found a job there. Where you are located, perhaps you need to have connections in finding a job as a tech.

    Do you network with other pre-pharmacy students? The reason I found a tech position was because of the network I have with other pre-pharmacy students in the pre-pharmacy club I belong to at school.
  16. Oink

    Oink

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    Well, I haven't taken the PCAT and I don't feel ready to take it yet. I also want to stay in California, but a lot of schools require a LOR from a pharmacist which I don't have since I don't have experience. I believe the two schools that don't require but is recommended to have a LOR from a pharmacist is Western and Touro if I can recall correctly. I was hoping to take a year off to get as much experience as possible and increase my chances of getting into pharmacy school. Maybe I'll take the PCAT too during the year off.

    Should I try to apply to Western and Touro this cycle anyway to see how it goes? At first I didn't want to take a year off because I didn't want to push back schooling but I believed it would be best for me in my situation. I also really want to get into University of the Pacific because I heard good things about it.
  17. Oink

    Oink

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    Yeah I'm in a pre-pharmacy club but when they have opportunities for a job, they forward the email to everyone in the club and the club has maybe around 50-70 members. So that's one spot for about 50 people trying to get the job. I've been told of a couple opportunities but they get filled pretty fast. As a matter of fact, I was contacting a Vons pharmacy last week about an open tech position I saw. I tried contacting the district manager, left a message, and emailed my resume. I drove back to the pharmacy a couple days ago to check on the status of the position and they told me that it someone already filled it.
  18. ImmunoPharmD

    ImmunoPharmD

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    Make sure you are certain that Touro and Western don't need PCAT scores before you apply so you don't waste money.
  19. Oink

    Oink

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    Yeah they don't need PCAT because they're in California. California pharmacy schools don't need the PCAT. Which is why I'm debating whether or not I should still try this cycle or not :\
  20. jimmyat

    jimmyat

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    I have like the identical story. I applied this Feb to 3 schools and got interviews for all of them including Touro. I also just self study for the tech license, however, i had a friend who was working for CVS that got me a job. I would recommend finding a friend that works in a pharmacy
    You'll get interviews, you just need to ACE the interview since we have a lower GPA. Research pharmacy field find weaknesses and strength. Everyone knows the strength, but most will choke on the weaknesses. Come into the interview confident because it really shows. Acknowledge your weaknesses in your application and know how to address it if asked. Emphasize your strength. My main selling pt was that I had a very strong research background where I've obtained grants and presented my studies at multiple symposiums. Hammer in your strength during the interview and show no weaknesses unless you are directly asked. Confidence and preparation is key.

    I got into all of my schools.
  21. FBZ28

    FBZ28

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    Try your county hospital. They aren't privately owned so they are little more lenient than the "corporation" type hospital.
  22. Uwrf

    Uwrf

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    Why is it harder to become a stronger applicant? Well, the strength of your application is the measure of how many other applicants you surpass. If we're honest with ourselves, we'll say that there is always someone out there better than us. The question is, how many?
  23. Nelcovp

    Nelcovp

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    Maybe its just me, but I found it very easy to get into Pharmacy school.
  24. Oink

    Oink

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    Thank you everyone for the responses. A lot of them helped!

    I went back on the road and drove around the city for 3 hours straight going pharmacy to pharmacy asking for volunteering positions. I was able to find two that would let apply and now I'm waiting for their responses ><
  25. Uwrf

    Uwrf

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    Hey good to hear. Many times you find it only when you seek it like it is of value to you.
  26. FBZ28

    FBZ28

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    Awesome! Good to hear that! Stay persistent with them if they take too long to call you back.
  27. Oink

    Oink

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    Thanks everybody! I was contacted by an independent pharmacy and started yesterday to volunteer. It's only a couple hours a week so I'll probably try to get one more volunteering position if I can. I'm so happy! haha

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