Aug 28, 2010
4
0
Status
Pre-Pharmacy
Hi all,

So I am new here on Student Doctor Network and I need your advice! I am a biochemistry major and psychology minor and have taken some pre-reqs for pharmacy school already. Currently, I have a 3.5 GPA cumulative, but my science pre-reqs. classes grades aren't looking so great.

In fall 2009, I started taking my science pre-reqs for pharmacy schools and didn't do so well on them; General Chemistry I (B-); General Biology I (C+), while taking English 20 (A), pre-calculus (B), a pharmacy tech class (B); totaling in 21 units. During Spring 2010, I couldn't get into my science classes because of the budget cuts and so I took psychology classes for my minor and got all As and one B (13 units). This semester I was taking General Chemistry II (5 units), Human Anatomy (5 units), and Calculus I (5 units) (15 units total) but had to drop General Chemistry because someone in my family got really ill and so it was too overwhelming for me having to cope with their illness. So then, I decided to add a 2-unit credit/no credit psychology independent research class to TA for my professor, resulting in 12 units total so that I could be a full time student again. Right now, I have a D in human anatomy and a B in Calculus because of falling behind on my classwork and exams due to what happened with my family. Will what I have accomplished this semester look really bad when I apply to pharmacy school...seeing that I have one W this semester, a D in anatomy, a low B in calculus, and a credit in psychology?

I know this message is super long and detailed, but I really need to know if I can still be a competitive applicant when applying for pharmacy school. I'm planning on re-taking human anatomy next year because this upcoming spring semester I'll be taking calculus II, general chemistry II, and 2 GEs. My academic advisor said that I should just take one GE instead of two because she wants me to cool down a bit because of what's going on at home. I'm just afraid that when I apply to pharmacy school, I'll be taking 13 units this year and they are like, "oh how come you're not taking a full load, like 16 units because you're not working?" And the reason why I don't work is because I'm taking care of my dad because he's the one that's been sick.

Any ways, thanks for taking time and reading my thread. Any advice would help :)
 
Nov 29, 2010
150
1
Status
Pharmacy Student
It sounds to me like you have an uphill battle. Not impossible though. In addition to taking Human Anatomy again, you might want to also consider taking Gen Chem I and Gen Bio I again. At least brush up on Gen Chem I before you start II. I think classes like that are best to take right in a row without a gap, especially a 2 year gap. Pulling the anatomy grade up to the A/B range will be good, but Pharmcas will still factor the original grade into your GPA. A 5 credit hour D will really weigh down your science and bio gpa, so you will need to balance it with some really high grades.

It sounds like your advisor may be right. Cool off on some of these classes until your Dad is better. Then when you can focus, hit it hard. If you do well, you can explain your rough start in your essays and during interviews.
 

iBeast

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Oct 6, 2008
274
1
Status
Pharmacy Student
I wouldn't worry about them questioning you about not having a heavy enough load. If they do, just say you were playing it safe/sick father/you had to work. Nothing wrong with that.
 
Oct 19, 2010
76
0
Los Angeles
Status
Pharmacy Student
Yeah don't worry about having the heavy workload thing. I only took 3 classes (12 units) a couple of quarters and it didn't hinder me at all. Also, you have other issues that interfered with your schoolwork so if you can explain that it should all go well. Good Luck!
 
Nov 29, 2010
150
1
Status
Pharmacy Student
I wouldn't worry about the credit hours either. Anything above 12 is considered full-time. Plus you spend more time in classes with labs than you actually get credit hours for. One semester I took 3 4 credit hour lab classes. So, it was only 12 credit hours but 18 hours in the classroom each week.
 

Passion4Sci

LML
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Mar 18, 2009
7,504
12
Palo Alto, CA
Status
Pharmacy Student
Only time workload rigor seems to be an issue is when applicant is finishing coursework at the CC level. Since you're at a 4 year university (implicit in the Biochem major) you won't have this problem.

Agree w/ previous posters.
 
Dec 2, 2010
22
0
South Carolina
Status
Pre-Pharmacy
like everyone else had stated i would deff retake all the classes over specially anatomy, but most pharmacy schools will not accept you unless you have taken organic chem 1 and 2 as well as microbiology, so that is something to consider also and I would not recommend taking organic chemistry with out retaking gen chem again. you also have to think about the people you are competing with. you need to have a strong application extracurriculars activities wise because you'll be competing with students who have pre-pharm gpa's for 3.5 or higher and also students who already have a undergraduate degree also a lot of pharmacy tech or work experience. my best advice would be to work as a pharm tech for a while.

i would check out the pharmacy schools requirements on what they want from each student, because most schools want you to take the PCAT and if your not doing well in gen chem or bio or anatomy you may not do well specially since you have not taken micro or organic chem.

if i were u i would wait to applying to pharmacy school until you get ur pre-pharm gpa, pharmacy work experience and ur bachelors or a degree from a community college it is almost impossible to transfer into a pharmacy program during undergrad since most of the students they take have all A's and a gpa of 4.0 or close to a 4.0.... what schools are you applying to... hope this helps ive been in ur situation before w having to retake organic chem and microbiology as well as gen chem 2, and also have tried to transfer to pharmacy school undergrad and like i said the admissions committee told me i didnt get in because my app was not strong due to my grades and not having a high gpa bc i was competing w graduates who had masters degrees and bachelors. just something to think about if you have any questions about my story please feel free to PM me about it id be happy to help. while all this was going on my mother died of cancer so I know what your going thru with a sick father
 
OP
V
Aug 28, 2010
4
0
Status
Pre-Pharmacy
Thanks everyone for your advice. I really appreciate it! :)

In terms of repeating classes, my school won't let me. CSU Sacramento has enforced a new rule: no students can repeat a course that they received a C or higher. So I guess the only class I can only retake is Anatomy. In addition, my school has a limit of how many repeats we can have (18 units max.) and any more after that will be averaged out. :(

I've been doing a lot of extra curricular activities for the past year. I'm an officer in my pre-pharmacy club, an officer in my schools' natural sciences and mathematic's joint council club, and been volunteering at Sutter Hospital in the pharmacy.

Other than that, when it comes to course rigor, seeing that I'm at a university level, does it look bad that I've been taking 12 units? My counselor said that pharmacy schools want their applicants to take at least 16 units, unless they are working. I'm not working, but taking care of my dad does take a lot of time.
 
Dec 2, 2010
22
0
South Carolina
Status
Pre-Pharmacy
Thanks everyone for your advice. I really appreciate it! :)

In terms of repeating classes, my school won't let me. CSU Sacramento has enforced a new rule: no students can repeat a course that they received a C or higher. So I guess the only class I can only retake is Anatomy. In addition, my school has a limit of how many repeats we can have (18 units max.) and any more after that will be averaged out. :(

I've been doing a lot of extra curricular activities for the past year. I'm an officer in my pre-pharmacy club, an officer in my schools' natural sciences and mathematic's joint council club, and been volunteering at Sutter Hospital in the pharmacy.

Other than that, when it comes to course rigor, seeing that I'm at a university level, does it look bad that I've been taking 12 units? My counselor said that pharmacy schools want their applicants to take at least 16 units, unless they are working. I'm not working, but taking care of my dad does take a lot of time.
this is my advice to you. since your school will not let you retake the classes i would take them elsewhere if you can, that is what i did and i just sent all my pharmacy schools. i would finnish your 4 years at your undergraduate school and take on a full course load. even when my mother was sick and struggling with cancer and I took her to her appointments, she always told me to never let her sickness ruin my chances of following my dreams and that i should do well in school and make her proud. but like i said get your bachelors and finished your pre-pharm classes because i donno if you heard but like i said b4 its almost impossible to transfer into a 0-6 program in undergrad and even if you try ur gpa has to be close to a 4.0 and u gotta have C's or higher in all your pre-pharm classes so w that said get ur BS and then retake classes at either a community college or another college/university close to you....
 
Nov 29, 2010
150
1
Status
Pharmacy Student
I agree with Clemsong5, take the classes elsewhere, even at a Community College. You want a strong GPA and a strong knowledge base in Chem and Bio for the PCAT.

What school's are you thinking about applying to?
 
OP
V
Aug 28, 2010
4
0
Status
Pre-Pharmacy
I want to go to UCSF and UOP, schools in California. Both of these schools don't require anatomy, and I emailed the admission's advisor at UCSF about my situation, who said that I still have time to still do well in my other classes seeing that I'm just starting out. Just because I had an off semester this year, I can explain to them about what happened, and continue to do well in my other classes.

As far as just getting my BS and doing the prereqs at the JR. colleges, I hear that other schools like USC in CA is super picky. My club and I went down to visit them last winter, and they said that they don't like seeing students taking pre-reqs at the jr. colleges when they are at a university level.

I'm just gonna retake anatomy during the fall and this winter, start studying and getting ahead for general chem II.
 

Passion4Sci

LML
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Mar 18, 2009
7,504
12
Palo Alto, CA
Status
Pharmacy Student
USC won't care if a couple classes were taken @ a CC. Farmercyst, an esteemed mod here, is at USC right now and he had a full plate of CC classes (and he got in last year, or the year before). They might care more if you had a full load of CC classes over time, but a couple? Especially if you perform well, and the rest of your app is good, I DOUBT they'd so no to you just on that basis.

While UCSF does not require A&P, it does have a Mammalian Physiology requirement... How do you plan to satisfy that?
 

woosiecg

7+ Year Member
Aug 29, 2010
87
10
Status
I had a similar thing happen to me a few years ago. I had a rough few semesters where I dropped out completely or failed a few classes. My overall GPA fell to a 2.91 which was devastating and I did not know how I was ever going to get into pharm school with that looming over me but I picked myself back up and took it slow. For the past 3.5 years I have taken all my upper division biology courses and pre-reqs for school and gotten A's in them all to show a trend of good grades and hoped that would be what I needed. I applied this Fall with a 3.17 cumulative GPA and a 3.27 science GPA but my last 45 semester units GPA was a 3.96 and I got in.

I will add that my intro course grades were not great. I got a B in bio 1, D retook for C in bio 2, A in Chem 1 and C in chem 2, and I got a D the first time I took O chem 1. The only class I retook was Ochem I and I received an A. I did not think it necessary to retake my intro biology or chemistry classes when I got straight A's in all the more difficult biology and chem courses I took later (like A&P, cell, micro, ochem, physics, etc)

So it is possible to fix what has happened and still get in. Most pharmacy schools will give you a chance to explain any anomalies on your transcript or you can discuss it in your interview or in your personal statement if you feel it necessary!

Good luck with everything and don't give up!
 
OP
V
Aug 28, 2010
4
0
Status
Pre-Pharmacy
CSU Sacramento has Bio 131, which is system physiology on its own, and on assist.org it satisfies the requirement for UCSF.

Any ways, thanks for all of the advice and encouragement. I feel better knowing what to do now and will try my hardest. Just had an off semester, but am hoping next semester things will get better.