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YBD2.JH

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Hello, I would like to get honest, true, unbiased, and wise advices from both current pharm students as well as prospective students on my situation.

As of now: I have been accepted to VCU and USC, waiting for admissions from UNC-Chapel Hill, and Western U.

(1) I liked UNC and Western schools. Very warm, friendly, and professional. love the fact that UNC has a close tie with GSK pharmaceuticals (one of my interviewers was from there).

(2) I don't like Richmond as a city, so not very inclined to go to VCU although the program of the school itself is impressively organized.

(3) This past interview at USC was my second one. didn't like the USC campus very much nor did I like their program or the students there. But during this year's interview, I found it even less appealing.

I'd like to go to NC or CA for school and CA for working in the pharmacy field. Tuition and loan are definitely a big issue.

So my dilemma is:
(1) should I go to UNC SOP (if accepted) and get a job in CA to pay off the loan more quickly? or
(2) should I go to a CA school and get a job there?
(3) If I should go to school in CA, which one would benefit me most in getting a job easier, preferrably in hospital settings?

I know about "go where you will be happy." But, honestly, every school is great in their own ways that I CAN become happy where I end up going.
SO HELP PLEASE.
 

futuredruggist

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If you know you want to work in CA, it might be helpful to attend school there as CA schools will train you for the state licensing requirements (which are different and supposedly more difficult than other states).

As for UNC vs. Western, you only have access to a research institution at the former. I don't know if that matters to you.

Finally, as long as you get hospital rotations and maybe work experience in school, any pharmacy school should suffice for working in the hospital setting.
 
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KARM12

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If you don't like USC and don't see yourself there...then don't choose that school. Honestly, choose the school you like the best. Don't worry too much about the name. You'll be much happier that way!
 

Farmercyst

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I'd say Western in your case. You already like the program. It's in CA which will make licensure there easier. They get you on a hospital rotation within the first year. Seems that would give you the best chance of determining whether or not the hospital setting is what you're looking for. (Though if you're like me your already 90% certain that it is.) I don't know that much about UNC or VCU. USC definitely has name recognition, but I don't know how much reputation plays in hiring in a field where you take what you get and are pretty happy just to fill the position. (Not that I'm saying they'd intentionally take a lousy pharmacist, but that wasn't part of your question really.)
 

YBD2.JH

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As for UNC vs. Western, you only have access to a research institution at the former. I don't know if that matters to you.

So are you saying after graduating from UNC, one is most likely advance to a research institution?

anh80>> yes, I know. Before going to the interview, I really didn't think that I would like Western. But after going through the interview process and taking a tour, I couldn't believe how good I felt about the school.


Farmercyst>> I've only volunteered at hopital pharmacies before (ambulatory, inpatient and outpatient). I work at retail right now, and I can only say that I do NOT want to end up in retail even though they pay more. It is just not worth my four years of education. I'm sure it depends on me to get the enough knowledge and training to be a proficient and FAST pharmacist. :p
 

ZpackSux

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What was it about USC's program you didn't like?

UNC is a fine school... but don't forget USC was the first institution in the US to grant PharmD. What does this mean? you'll find didactic studies similar between pharmacy schools. What separates USC and UCSF's programs from other newer PharmD programs? It's the history and quality of their core rotations. Take it with a grain of salt.. You will not regret being an USC alumni.
 

YBD2.JH

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Thanks Zpacksux for your advice.
When I went to the USC (and this year was not my first interview at USC), I didn't really feel that the school was investing much on their program. There was no lab to show in the building, and there were only three classrooms on the first floor that students will utilize during their enrollment in pharmacy school. When I went to Western, it seemed that the school had invested more in technology and the studying environment, for example. It seemed with USC students, all they could boast about was "networking" and how easier it would be to get a job as an USC alumna because they have the largest number of graduates.

To compare USC with UNC, money is a huge factor. Although you can't fathom how valuable education is in terms of money, paying off 100G (UNC) vs. 200G(USC) plus interest after graduation is a lot of difference. That's why I am so hesitant...and yes, I have been admitted to all of the above schools, now.
 

Farmercyst

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Thanks Zpacksux for your advice.
When I went to the USC (and this year was not my first interview at USC), I didn't really feel that the school was investing much on their program. There was no lab to show in the building, and there were only three classrooms on the first floor that students will utilize during their enrollment in pharmacy school. When I went to Western, it seemed that the school had invested more in technology and the studying environment, for example. It seemed with USC students, all they could boast about was "networking" and how easier it would be to get a job as an USC alumna because they have the largest number of graduates.

To compare USC with UNC, money is a huge factor. Although you can't fathom how valuable education is in terms of money, paying off 100G (UNC) vs. 200G(USC) plus interest after graduation is a lot of difference. That's why I am so hesitant...and yes, I have been admitted to all of the above schools, now.


I still would say Western for you, even with the increase in money factor. Certain schools, I know UCSD for instance, were setup with funding from Biotech companies with a nearly insatiable need for research minded pharmacists. So yes, there are schools with a greater propensity to educate with research in mind. I don't know if UNC is such a school, but it is possible. USC may not boast about money put into labs and such, but they've been around long enough, you can bet they've got enough technology in their facilities to match Western's technology. The structure won't be the same, but the investments were made. I've never been there, but I'd be willing to bet that you're just as likely to connect to an in class LANline (or most likely wireless LAN) at USC as you are at Western. The difference is that Westerns' school is ~10 years old. Their technology has to be newer and the investments more recent because the school is that new.

While networking can be a great thing, especially if you want to move into administration, regulatory type settings, it's not an absolute must if you just want to be a staff pharmacist somewhere in a hospital setting. I would say you could probably get just as much networking done by frequenting summer or mid-year ASHP conferences. I could be wrong there.

Definitely look into what you want in the future here. If you want to practice in CA then school in CA is almost a must. Otherwise you have to work outside CA to pay off your PharmD, while you study for the CA law exams to get licensed in CA. Western vs USC is pretty much the same tuition wise. Commute is usually shorter to Western since housing markets are cheaper the farther east you go. That being said housing is usually a little cheaper for Western as well.

I'm sure there are other factors I left out. Family, etc, but those are things I'm sure you've already considered before you even applied.
 

eddavatar

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Thanks Zpacksux for your advice.
When I went to the USC (and this year was not my first interview at USC), I didn't really feel that the school was investing much on their program. There was no lab to show in the building, and there were only three classrooms on the first floor that students will utilize during their enrollment in pharmacy school. When I went to Western, it seemed that the school had invested more in technology and the studying environment, for example. It seemed with USC students, all they could boast about was "networking" and how easier it would be to get a job as an USC alumna because they have the largest number of graduates.

To compare USC with UNC, money is a huge factor. Although you can't fathom how valuable education is in terms of money, paying off 100G (UNC) vs. 200G(USC) plus interest after graduation is a lot of difference. That's why I am so hesitant...and yes, I have been admitted to all of the above schools, now.

I'm very interested by the fact that you mentioned "Lab". What do you mean by labs? Do you want chemistry wet lab type? Also, we've plenty of computer labs and labs in other buildings.

And I'm also interested in what kind of technology have Western impressed you so much with. I've not been exposed to Western so I can't make a proper comparison. It's just kinda depressing that USC made such a poor impression on you.
 

Farmercyst

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I'm very interested by the fact that you mentioned "Lab". What do you mean by labs? Do you want chemistry wet lab type? Also, we've plenty of computer labs and labs in other buildings.

And I'm also interested in what kind of technology have Western impressed you so much with. I've not been exposed to Western so I can't make a proper comparison. It's just kinda depressing that USC made such a poor impression on you.

The Pharm students receive all their instruction in the same room. Teachers move in and out of classrooms instead of students. (Based on my psych class, my guess is it's supposed to help retention. Familiarity with environment and all.) LAN connections at every seat for laptop connections. Projectors project on every wall of the hexagon-shaped room and students can download onto laptops to follow on screen if they don't want to look at the walls. Wireless mic's and instructor/podium are centered. The building is pretty new. This was really stressed in the intro to the school.
 

crazyrice610

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actually we do have labs upstairs and in CHP building.
also we also sit in one classroom and the professors shift in and out too.
we don't have lan line at each desk though b/c i think that actually distracts the students from learning. instead all the lecture notes are printed out for us and passed out to us in the beginning of each class & also posted online via blackboard.

sorry usc made such a bad impression on u. i know how u feel during the interview b/c there's too many of u guys that most of u probably felt that u didn't get much personal attention. but our staff is actually friendly and helpful.
 

acetyl

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I can say with an honest, 100% guaranteed response, that all my Carolina classmates are going to have a great time while at UNC and are going to ascertain whatever type of job their heart desires after graduating.

And honestly, let's rationalize this: how can you compare labs and research grants, versus partying with a crazy Kentucky boy, who gets to inherit a better basketball team and so many pine trees?
 

calipharming

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I can say with an honest, 100% guaranteed response, that all my Carolina classmates are going to have a great time while at UNC and are going to ascertain whatever type of job their heart desires after graduating.

And honestly, let's rationalize this: how can you compare labs and research grants, versus partying with a crazy Kentucky boy, who gets to inherit a better basketball team and so many pine trees?

I don't think you necessarily have to go to a pharmacy school in CA in order to get a job there. These days, there's such a shortage of pharmacists in CA (as well as the rest of the nation) that it doesn't really matter if you have a degree from the East Coast or the South or Alaska. Okay, there's no pharm school in Alaska, but you get the idea. However, you will need to pass a pharmacy law exam (CPJE) to work in CA, so you'll have to study for it but it should be doable. And as a side note, it seems like UNC has a pretty darn good basketball team whereas USC has a pretty darn good football team. Good luck in your decision making!
 

pologirl242

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One of the California schools is what I would advise if you want to work there later on or live there later on. Right now, all states except California and some other one do not accept reciporcating licenses. Meaning you will have to take their state test plus law exam, whereas if you went to school in CA and wanted to move to NC, then you will only have to take the law exam. This may change in a couple of years, but as it stands CA will not recognize you as a pharmacist until you take their test. So this is something to consider. I don't blame you for wanting to go to Chapel Hill, it's one of my top choices too, and a very renowned school. Just my 2 cents.
 

sdn1977

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I gave you my reply to the same question you posted in the residency forum, so I won't repeat it here.

But....I am in CA & you can indeed work here if you've been educated anywhere.

The difference will be - what will you be doing?

I've just returned from a conference & if you want to be a lick & stick pharmacist in CA - all you have to do is pass the tests.

If you want to be more....you have to BE more. That doesn't mean you have to go to school here....it means you have to do more with what you have gotten out of the school you went to.

IMO - labs & technology are meaningless unless you can actually do something with what you learn in them. I can triturate hydrocortisone & glycerin like I did 34 years ago...but I don't......neither do I isolate an unknown like I did in the pharmaceutical chemistry lab. I also can't surf the web as fast as any of you or my kids.....but - I can find most any piece of pharmacy related information I need very fast because I have a great base of information & know how to get what I need.

The point???? Great technology is wonderful....whether its subsidized by private money or public funding. However, you'll leave all that behind when you graduate & you're left with what you can do with what you've learned. But, IMO - the better way to judge a school is the faculty & their mission - what do they envision the future of the profession to be....because, unless you want to swim upstream - that will be your vision as well.

Is my answer honest - yes - its my honesty. Is it unbiased - no - I'm a UCSF grad & I'm vehemently in favor of proactive pharmacists. Is it wise - you come back & tell me after you're done. I'll be happy to be a colleague!

Congratulations!
 

calipharming

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By the way, one of my friends got his degree in another country. He's planning to do a residency in CA and then work in a hospital. If you are interested in clinical pharmacy in a hospital, you should seriously consider doing a residency. So you can always come to CA for the one-year residency or just go straight to a job. Either way, you don't need to go to a California school in order to work here. But you should go to the place you feel most comfortable at, whether it's in Cali or Carolina. By the way, I thought CA already recognizes the same NAPLEX test as all the other states. So if I'm not mistaken, you take the same test for the CA license. I heard the NAPLEX is much easier than the old CA-specific exam, whatever it was called. But you do need to take the pharmacy law exam for CA.
 
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