2021 Application Cycle - VA Health Professional Scholarship Program

BC_89

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This scholarship is the VA - HPSP which will pay for your education in exchange of working at the VA with a time commitment based on how many years of education is covered. For the first time, this application cycle has converted over to an online format. For those interested, please visit the following link (For further education and job placement details, please follow the same link and look at the appropriate tabs):

Application Process - Veterans Affairs (intelliworxit.com)

After reading the requirements, you'll see an "Apply Here" tab on the top right of the page. Once this is accomplished, you'll be brought to the Applicant Registration page. Fill out the information and for the Scholarship Program section just choose HPSP from the drop down menu (You'll see different versions of the HPSP pertaining to different scholarships). When you hit submit, it'll take you to the VA Application Management System Page with a message that will read the following:


"Your account has been created in the VA Applicant Management System (VA-AMS) using the email address that you provided. The next step is to create an account with ID.me+VA. This will confirm your identity and allow you to begin using the VA-AMS system to engage with the scholarship program team. You will receive an email with the instructions to complete the next account set up with ID.me+VA. Be sure to use the same email address as you did with VA-AMS."

Check your email (spam) and you'll receive a step by step list of how to set up your account and continue with the application process for submission. For further details of the Application Process, here's what they provide:

Application Process - Veterans Affairs (intelliworxit.com)

I have decided to apply this cycle before taking off on my APPEs this upcoming May. For further questions or progress reports go ahead and leave them here. For all others planning on applying this cycle, I wish the best and look forward to hearing about any updates.
 
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**Edit** - Moved out of the residency sub-forum as the residency question was answered. I think this will be a good focus for current students looking for opportunity for school being paid for with an exchange of a job placement after graduation. This thread is a continual process of last years thread pertaining to the 2020 - VA HPSP application cycle for pharmacy students posted here:

2020 VA HPSP (Pharmacy) | Student Doctor Network
 
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capri1722

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Do you know if this has the same requirements as the other HPSPs? That was something I was interested in as a P1 but I didn't qualify for medical reasons.
 
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BC_89

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If you were to go the physician route, can this scholarship dictate which specialty you go into?

You can do any residency and fellowship under the VA umbrella as has been done in times past. The only exception to this rule is if you are interested in going the pediatric-route. What residency you choose can also dictate the location placement should you be offered the scholarship. For additional references on how the cycle worked for med students last year (along with their questions), here's a link:

VA HPSP (Physician) | Student Doctor Network

If you have other specific questions regarding the online packet submission and detail requirements for med students, I'd email the program specialist at [email protected] You'll get a response from Scott Dixon with additional detailed information regarding this cycle.
 

lord999

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This is not the military so there are no medical qualifications.
I know you don't remember your physical, but yes, there are physical qualifications.

If you can stay awake in pharmacy school, lift 20(?) pounds, and give a negative drug test (including marijuana), and actually pass the Boards, you'll be fine. It's not the military one.

You can do any residency and fellowship under the VA umbrella as has been done in times past. The only exception to this rule is if you are interested in going the pediatric-route. What residency you choose can also dictate the location placement should you be offered the scholarship. For additional references on how the cycle worked for med students last year (along with their questions), here's a link:

VA HPSP (Physician) | Student Doctor Network

If you have other specific questions regarding the online packet submission and detail requirements for med students, I'd email the program specialist at [email protected] You'll get a response from Scott Dixon with additional detailed information regarding this cycle.

There is some fine print besides Peds. You have to get approval for Preventative Medicine, Informatics, and Occupational Medicine.


You must do this at a program with VA OAA affiliation. That used to be a problem for Ob-Gyn, but no longer.

There is a penalty of obligation time applied to specialties not in shortage.

You move at your own expense anywhere and any time on your own expense due to the mobility requirements that you sign.


You will be paid less. You don't get incentive pay, and might not even get specialty pay. You are basically giving yourself a loan against future earnings as a pharmacist, and I have some stories on traveling nurses and physicians from this year. Those who are on the pharmacy track can PM me for sob stories.
 
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BC_89

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I know you don't remember your physical, but yes, there are physical qualifications.

If you can stay awake in pharmacy school, lift 20(?) pounds, and give a negative drug test (including marijuana), and actually pass the Boards, you'll be fine. It's not the military one.



There is some fine print besides Peds. You have to get approval for Preventative Medicine, Informatics, and Occupational Medicine.


You must do this at a program with VA OAA affiliation. That used to be a problem for Ob-Gyn, but no longer.

There is a penalty of obligation time applied to specialties not in shortage.

You move at your own expense anywhere and any time on your own expense due to the mobility requirements that you sign.


You will be paid less. You don't get incentive pay, and might not even get specialty pay. You are basically giving yourself a loan against future earnings as a pharmacist, and I have some stories on traveling nurses and physicians from this year. Those who are on the pharmacy track can PM me for sob stories.

I am not familiar with civilian side of the house under VA's servitude (if I can call it that) when it comes to minimal contracts. Is it common to up and move within a 2-year period more so than anticipated? I've had to do that with the DOD plenty of times but that was expected.

I suppose it's hard for me to see someone move more than twice under a 18-24 month obligation under a VA contract for pharmacists (as I can easily see this in other occupations) since legislative changes have either excluded pharmacists or only accept a handful every other cycle.
 

lord999

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I am not familiar with civilian side of the house under VA's servitude (if I can call it that) when it comes to minimal contracts. Is it common to up and move within a 2-year period more so than anticipated? I've had to do that with the DOD plenty of times but that was expected.

I suppose it's hard for me to see someone move more than twice under a 18-24 month obligation under a VA contract for pharmacists (as I can easily see this in other occupations) since legislative changes have either excluded pharmacists or only accept a handful every other cycle.

What's a 2 year contract? It's the same as the DoD, you go where the needs are. No, you are required to move as often as OHRM determines. I think the minimum is a 30 day notice unless they have the additional "temporary assignment" designation, but I have definitely seen those under mobility agreements moved quarterly (as in every three months) until their agreement expired. This causes the household to find one spot and the one under the agreement to keep moving.

The mobility agreement is not boilerplate. You need to read and deal with it carefully.
 
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BC_89

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Since this cycle is new due to 100% online packet submission, I thought I'd record timing and procedures (verification / pending status / accepted or rejected) of my own scholarship submission.

1) Started my application January 22nd 2021. You'll want to give plenty of time for answering three essays and background information on the personal application itself. You'll have 4 sections for submission: Your personal application essay / questionnaire, Academic Verification from the Dean of the program (or proxy), Your two references (one faculty - one employer (OR) outside reference if no employer), and finally a 3-document upload requirement consisting of academic transcripts (can be unofficial or official), a submitted resume, and finally (If a veteran): DD-214.

2) Submitted packet Feb 26th 2021. Once completed, you'll sign an attestation and do a final submission of packet. Your status on the portal page will show "pending" at that point. You'll receive an email summarizing the details and timeframe of an expected answer.

The email will state the following concerning the timeline of a final status:

  • Application is reviewed by administration for eligibility and completeness. The administrative review does not include any quality checks. If something is blank or looks bad, we will not return the application. The application will only be returned if something required is missing. At this point, your application could be removed from consideration for not meeting minimum eligibility requirements.
  • Once the administrative process is complete, the application moves forward for consideration and scoring by the selection committee. This process can take anywhere from 2-days to 1-month.
  • Once scoring is complete, you may receive notification around these time periods:
    • November for scholarships starting in January of the coming year.
    • April through July for scholarships starting Summer or Fall depending on when final agreement is signed.
    • Other selections may occur at the purview of leadership anytime during the year.
  • You will potentially receive one of three application status updates:
    • Offer Award: Congratulations, you have been selected.
    • Alternate: Strong package but not selected at this time. We will reconsider your application for potential selection at a date within 1-year of application.
    • Decline Award: Your application will not be selected as it was not one of the highest tier candidate applications the program office received.

I'll do an update once my status portal changes. Accepted or not, the information will be valid for future applications following these same guidelines.
 
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lord999

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Since this cycle is new due to 100% online packet submission, I thought I'd record timing and procedures (verification / pending status / accepted or rejected) of my own scholarship submission.

1) Started my application January 22nd 2020. You'll want to give plenty of time for answering three essays and background information on the personal application itself. You'll have 4 sections for submission: Your personal application essay / questionnaire, Academic Verification from the Dean of the program (or proxy), Your two references (one faculty - one employer (OR) outside reference if no employer), and finally a 3-document upload requirement consisting of academic transcripts (can be unofficial or official), a submitted resume, and finally (If a veteran): DD-214.

2) Submitted packet Feb 26th 2020. Once completed, you'll sign an attestation and do a final submission of packet. Your status on the portal page will show "pending" at that point. You'll receive an email summarizing the details and timeframe of an expected answer.

The email will state the following concerning the timeline of a final status:

  • Application is reviewed by administration for eligibility and completeness. The administrative review does not include any quality checks. If something is blank or looks bad, we will not return the application. The application will only be returned if something required is missing. At this point, your application could be removed from consideration for not meeting minimum eligibility requirements.
  • Once the administrative process is complete, the application moves forward for consideration and scoring by the selection committee. This process can take anywhere from 2-days to 1-month.
  • Once scoring is complete, you may receive notification around these time periods:
    • November for scholarships starting in January of the coming year.
    • April through July for scholarships starting Summer or Fall depending on when final agreement is signed.
    • Other selections may occur at the purview of leadership anytime during the year.
  • You will potentially receive one of three application status updates:
    • Offer Award: Congratulations, you have been selected.
    • Alternate: Strong package but not selected at this time. We will reconsider your application for potential selection at a date within 1-year of application.
    • Decline Award: Your application will not be selected as it was not one of the highest tier candidate applications the program office received.

I'll do an update once my status portal changes. Accepted or not, the information will be valid for future applications following these same guidelines.
2021, right?
 
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BC_89

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Update (Rather a late update):

After the February 26th Submission, my status went from "pending" over the weekend to "Package Accepted" March 1st 2021. I did attend a meeting with the program specialist of which he spoke in specifics concerning the timing of pending vs accepted vs granted / waitlisted - temp hold / denied. Within 5-10 days the package is looked for eligibility rather than completeness alone. The main requirements of course being the minimal GPA cut-off (3.0) as well as personal information not omitted when required in the packet (current student status, address, contact info, etc). If any other criteria is left blank or has incorrect info, that is on the applicant. This is a basic screening for simple eligibility criteria being met.

The next phase is the final committee meeting. At least 3 individuals will rank each applicant based on a point system with the following factors:

1) GPA
2) Essay Responses
3) Academic / Award Achievements
4) References
5) Remainder of time left in school ($$$ coverage)
6) Veteran Status

Once the point system is ranked, it gets reported in a "data-base system" against other peers for the same profession (Final decision may take up to 90 days). Depending on the VA needs of the career path will determine how many applicants in the cycle will be picked for the scholarship. If an applicant is not picked, the file will remain for 1 year based on projected needs for the next cycle (presuming the applicant was still competitive enough to be considered for next year).

More to follow as this first online packet cycle continues.
 
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tomorrowforgotten

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Update (Rather a late update):

After the February 26th Submission, my status went from "pending" over the weekend to "Package Accepted" March 1st 2021. I did attend a meeting with the program specialist of which he spoke in specifics concerning the timing of pending vs accepted vs granted / waitlisted - temp hold / denied. Within 5-10 days the package is looked for eligibility rather than completeness alone. The main requirements of course being the minimal GPA cut-off (3.0) as well as personal information not omitted when required in the packet (current student status, address, contact info, etc). If any other criteria is left blank or has incorrect info, that is on the applicant. This is a basic screening for simple eligibility criteria being met.

The next phase is the final committee meeting. At least 3 individuals will rank each applicant based on a point system with the following factors:

1) GPA
2) Essay Responses
3) Academic / Award Achievements
4) References
5) Remainder of time left in school ($$$ coverage)
6) Veteran Status

Once the point system is ranked, it gets reported in a "data-base system" against other peers for the same profession (Final decision may take up to 90 days). Depending on the VA needs of the career path will determine how many applicants in the cycle will be picked for the scholarship. If an applicant is not picked, the file will remain for 1 year based on projected needs for the next cycle (presuming the applicant was still competitive enough to be considered for next year).

More to follow as this first online packet cycle continues.
Applying to a different profession, but did he mention the time from “Application Packet Has Been Scored” status to receiving the final decision?
 

Rhorn

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I know you don't remember your physical, but yes, there are physical qualifications.

If you can stay awake in pharmacy school, lift 20(?) pounds, and give a negative drug test (including marijuana), and actually pass the Boards, you'll be fine. It's not the military one.

Do you know if the marijuana test is done regularly? I worked under several different federal agencies (including the VA) as a civilian and never had to deal with drug tests, but I was never at GS-13 or above, only a GS-5

This program does seem like a good fall back plan if my Voc Rehab claim doesn't work out in my favor.
 

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Applying to a different profession, but did he mention the time from “Application Packet Has Been Scored” status to receiving the final decision?

If you happen to be applying for the program for the MD/DO route, here is the other active link you might find helpful:

VA HPSP (Physician) | Student Doctor Network

Application score to Offer Pending to final decision has varied greatly from 48 hours to 30 days. Again though, this would depend on the professional route you're taking since different committee members look at different career track applicants. Lately, MD/DO applicants have gotten a turn-around rather quickly (within 1-2 weeks). This varies from cycle to cycle but that is what's happening now with the online version.

As for the rest of us applying for different career paths, I would hold true to the 30 day rule that he mentioned.
 
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BC_89

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This program does seem like a good fall back plan if my Voc Rehab claim doesn't work out in my favor.

I would definitely still apply now as a fall back plan. Voc-Rehab (Now known as Veteran Readiness & Employment Program) is very difficult for professional program seekers to get an acceptance. I was rejected twice before getting in with a high service connected disability rating. Other than the handful of us on here who beat the odds, the majority of graduate seekers get denied right from the beginning.

Some stories on the veteran benefits forum might help you but look at my signature block for additional details on how to best prepare for the Chapter 31 preparation. As a side note, I'd go ahead and apply on e-benefits and get registered as that'll be the only way to get your interview date with a VR&E counselor (it's backed up for a couple months so might take awhile). You'll need your DD-214 to get it up and going but from that point you should be good to go.
 
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lord999

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Applying to a different profession, but did he mention the time from “Application Packet Has Been Scored” status to receiving the final decision?
It's profession-based. Sometimes for a long final decision, it comes down to the parent office going back to requesting more funds. ONS-M (Office of Nursing Service - Manpower) historically and at present is a strong advocate for theirs (both RN and CNS/NP's) to the point that they've convinced VACO to fund additional spots for them.

Do you know if the marijuana test is done regularly? I worked under several different federal agencies (including the VA) as a civilian and never had to deal with drug tests, but I was never at GS-13 or above, only a GS-5

This program does seem like a good fall back plan if my Voc Rehab claim doesn't work out in my favor.
No offense, I don't believe it. VA tests all of their employees by Title 38 law at hire (it's not even a policy left to us anymore) and there are stringent sanctions on the supervisor who fails to do it (it's actually one of the termination offenses that a HR supervisor can screw up). If you were an NTE Green Badge GS-5, then maybe you avoided it, but that loophole was closed a decade ago with the NACLC check.

But for clinicians, guaranteed with the RDT lottery draw. Also, for pharmacists, doubly guaranteed. Pharmacists draw specifically for RDT where everyone else is in another pool. I loved winning, because you did your 10 minute test and were released for the day otherwise.
 
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tomorrowforgotten

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Thank you both for the response! I’m applying under the mental health nurse practitioner profession, and just got a little over zealous when I saw the quick turnaround for the physician applicants! Hopefully I find something out soon since my application has been scored for over a week. Just have to trust the process and relax, I guess.
 
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BC_89

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Update:

March 7th 2021 my online status went from "Application Packet Accepted" to "Application Packet Scored." At this point, I simply wait to see my status go from offer pending to final decision (accepted, waitlisted, denied). This step system is happening rather quickly than I anticipated even though the decisions come out differently for each health professional student applying. I can only speculate that either very few student pharmacist applicants have applied this cycle (unknowing of the scholarship) or the number of slots available this cycle is very few (thus wait-listing folks fairly early for the next cycle).

Either way, my turnaround rate is matching the timeframe for some of the med students applying. In that case, I'll just wait and see what happens over the next week or two.
 
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tomorrowforgotten

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Update:

March 7th 2021 my online status went from "Application Packet Accepted" to "Application Packet Scored." At this point, I simply wait to see my status go from offer pending to final decision (accepted, waitlisted, denied). This step system is happening rather quickly than I anticipated even though the decisions come out differently for each health professional student applying. I can only speculate that either very few student pharmacist applicants have applied this cycle (unknowing of the scholarship) or the number of slots available this cycle is very few (thus wait-listing folks fairly early for the next cycle).

Either way, my turnaround rate is matching the timeframe for some of the med students applying. In that case, I'll just wait and see what happens over the next week or two.
I had a quick turnaround as well—it took only two days for them to score—so I hope it’s a good sign for us both. As for me, it does seem that my time from scoring to a final decision is taking longer than most MD/DO applicants.
 
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Rhorn

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No offense, I don't believe it. VA tests all of their employees by Title 38 law at hire (it's not even a policy left to us anymore) and there are stringent sanctions on the supervisor who fails to do it (it's actually one of the termination offenses that a HR supervisor can screw up). If you were an NTE Green Badge GS-5, then maybe you avoided it, but that loophole was closed a decade ago with the NACLC check.

But for clinicians, guaranteed with the RDT lottery draw. Also, for pharmacists, doubly guaranteed. Pharmacists draw specifically for RDT where everyone else is in another pool. I loved winning, because you did your 10 minute test and were released for the day otherwise.

I only worked at a Vet Center and a VSO and there was no drug testing there. The other job I had was at the USDA and nobody got tested. I wasn't a full time employee though. At the USDA they gave me the same paygrade that I had when I got out in the Army. First job I ever had where I wasn't paid minimum wage, it was very nice.

Okay, so it looks they do drug test. I'm guessing marijuana is against their policy? That's a huge bummer because it does help me sleep. Hopefully the new administration will ease the marijuana laws with the VA. Yeah I remember getting drug tested in the military, it was kinda the same thing. Get tested at 5:30 (if you have to go) and then you got released until 1.
 

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Final Update:

March 8th 2021 I received an email stating that my evaluation had been finalized. My results came in. I was declined the scholarship. I did receive a follow-up email stating that if I had applied a bit earlier for the semesters I wished to have covered (APPE rotation year) my chances would've looked promising. Apparently since September of 2020 the cycle applications are year-round but by the time I applied for the upcoming semester coverage, the slots were already filled and I was to little to late :confused:

Apparently the slots for pharmacy were so few that it wasn't sure if a VA-HPSP for pharmacy would come to light. I was told that unfortunately I would not be eligible for an alternate list or reapplying since by the time I did (or records kept for 1 year) I would already be approaching graduation.

Nonetheless, it was worth a shot and I'm glad I had the opportunity to try and take advantage of a potential job placement before graduation. I would still encourage those interested to still apply for the later cycle semesters. Since it is year-round and based on specific time-frames and semesters, it seems as if for pharmacy it is a first come first serve opportunity with very few slots.

I hope this serves as a guide for those interested in the program and I still strongly recommend anyone capable to still take advantage of this opportunity! Although I missed my own window of chance, I am still thankful my education / housing is still covered. Best of luck to the other student-professions tracking this thread as well!
 
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Final Update:

March 8th 2021 I received an email stating that my evaluation had been finalized. My results came in. I was declined the scholarship. I did receive a follow-up email stating that if I had applied a bit earlier for the semesters I wished to have covered (APPE rotation year) my chances would've looked promising. Apparently since September of 2020 the cycle applications are year-round but by the time I applied for the upcoming semester coverage, the slots were already filled and I was to little to late :confused:

Apparently the slots for pharmacy were so few that it wasn't sure if a VA-HPSP for pharmacy would come to light. I was told that unfortunately I would not be eligible for an alternate list or reapplying since by the time I did (or records kept for 1 year) I would already be approaching graduation.

Nonetheless, it was worth a shot and I'm glad I had the opportunity to try and take advantage of a potential job placement before graduation. I would still encourage those interested to still apply for the later cycle semesters. Since it is year-round and based on specific time-frames and semesters, it seems as if for pharmacy it is a first come first serve opportunity with very few slots.

I hope this serves as a guide for those interested in the program and I still strongly recommend anyone capable to still take advantage of this opportunity! Although I missed my own window of chance, I am still thankful my education / housing is still covered. Best of luck to the other student-professions tracking this thread as well!

I'm sure you'll have little difficulty getting hired on at the VA when you graduate.
 
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tomorrowforgotten

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Final Update:

March 8th 2021 I received an email stating that my evaluation had been finalized. My results came in. I was declined the scholarship. I did receive a follow-up email stating that if I had applied a bit earlier for the semesters I wished to have covered (APPE rotation year) my chances would've looked promising. Apparently since September of 2020 the cycle applications are year-round but by the time I applied for the upcoming semester coverage, the slots were already filled and I was to little to late :confused:

Apparently the slots for pharmacy were so few that it wasn't sure if a VA-HPSP for pharmacy would come to light. I was told that unfortunately I would not be eligible for an alternate list or reapplying since by the time I did (or records kept for 1 year) I would already be approaching graduation.

Nonetheless, it was worth a shot and I'm glad I had the opportunity to try and take advantage of a potential job placement before graduation. I would still encourage those interested to still apply for the later cycle semesters. Since it is year-round and based on specific time-frames and semesters, it seems as if for pharmacy it is a first come first serve opportunity with very few slots.

I hope this serves as a guide for those interested in the program and I still strongly recommend anyone capable to still take advantage of this opportunity! Although I missed my own window of chance, I am still thankful my education / housing is still covered. Best of luck to the other student-professions tracking this thread as well!
I actually heard back the same day as you. I was placed on Alternate status. Apparently, my school is too long (3 years) and too expensive. :/
 

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I actually heard back the same day as you. I was placed on Alternate status. Apparently, my school is too long (3 years) and too expensive. :/

I have definitely heard that all else the same, those with fewer semesters for cost coverage will get top priority (all about the green). My education is already covered so I was using this purely as a job placement opportunity for myself. After working with the VA system and being a service connected rated veteran, I definitely felt like I took a gut-check when I was declined.

For being on alternate status would mean you still have a competitive application and for that I hope the best for you further along in your studies!
 

tomorrowforgotten

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I have definitely heard that all else the same, those with fewer semesters for cost coverage will get top priority (all about the green). My education is already covered so I was using this purely as a job placement opportunity for myself. After working with the VA system and being a service connected rated veteran, I definitely felt like I took a gut-check when I was declined.

For being on alternate status would mean you still have a competitive application and for that I hope the best for you further along in your studies!
Thanks for the kind words, and I hope you get the VA position when you graduate!

Quick question: who were you receiving emails from? (Specifically about application updates) Oddly, I haven’t received a single email since I completed my application. I’ve just been checking my portal and emailing directly.
 

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Thanks for the kind words, and I hope you get the VA position when you graduate!

Quick question: who were you receiving emails from? (Specifically about application updates) Oddly, I haven’t received a single email since I completed my application. I’ve just been checking my portal and emailing directly.

I have not received any emails concerning the updates. I have to manually look. I did however get the email when the final decision was made. Along the way, I did reach out for additional questions to some of the program directors. On the site portal, if you click on program office contacts, you'll find a few individuals that you can contact. Since Dixon was the individual who put on the virtual meeting last January about details of the program, that is who I had been corresponding with.
 
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  1. Pharmacy Student
I applied in September/October and got accepted in December. I am a 3rd year pharmacy student so they are only paying 1.5 years and my service length is 2 years (assuming I'm not doing residency).
 
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May 8, 2020
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  1. Pharmacy Student
I applied in September/October and got accepted in December. I am a 3rd year pharmacy student so they are only paying 1.5 years and my service length is 2 years (assuming I'm not doing residency).
Nice congratulations!! :) Would you mind sharing your stats if you don't mind?
 

tomorrowforgotten

2+ Year Member
Jan 3, 2017
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  1. Pre-Psychology
I applied in September/October and got accepted in December. I am a 3rd year pharmacy student so they are only paying 1.5 years and my service length is 2 years (assuming I'm not doing residency).
Congratulations! Can you speak to the process after you get an acceptance? What do they require (background check? Drug testing? Etc)?
 
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