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Anxious and in Need of Advice

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nerdy_integral

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Hello all! I am a recent college graduate with high hopes of furthering my education by going to pharmacy school. I'm from New York and the school I went to was mostly known for business and psychology, but it had a very dedicated science faculty. Part of the reason why I choose the school was because it was small (so class sizes were at most 25 students) and also because of the various affiliations they had with companies and other colleges. I went in freshman year as a biology major wanting to go to medical school. I realized by the end of that year it really wasn't for me. I am not really interested in academia and I've always been fascinated with working in healthcare. Due to personal reasons, I struggled a lot my first two years of college and I did pretty well my last two years. I struggled a lot with organic chemistry and I put too much my second semester (organic chem 2, analytical chem, genetics and two electives) I feel very embarrassed. I got C's in both semesters for organic chemistry, and I am contemplating whether I should re-take those courses. I am very strong in mathematics and I really loved physical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, and environmental science. I've always wanted to take courses in drug treatment, and mechanism of action. I think part of the reason why I had a hard time with organic chemistry (especially trying to teach myself) is because I couldn't really apply myself well. It wasn't until senior year where I took synthesis (orgo 2 lab might be the familiar name for it) and I got an A where I had a full appreciation for orgo. I graduated college with a BS in Chemistry (ACS certified) with a 3.450 gpa.

I have research experience in computational chemistry, and internship experience in radiation oncology. I am taking time off so that I can focus on taking the PCAT in the fall, and finding work. I have an interview this week with CVS pharmacy and I am hoping to get it. I also am waiting on two positions from two different companies involving laboratory work.

I feel very lost in this whole process, and I am very discouraged looking up various pharmacy schools and their specific requirements. I've never taken A&P, economics or Microbiology and I have no clue if I should go back to school and take those courses. Some colleges require it, others don't. But I wonder can you just apply anyways? I also ordered the PCAT book this week, and I am afraid that my biology knowledge might not be as solid. I acknowledge that some schools do not require it, but my mentality is if I can score really high maybe that will back me up. I also have no one to talk to about the whole process, and I feel that I need to start moving fast before I miss the deadline for next year.

The schools I've been looking at are Northeastern University, University of Connecticut, University of California San Francisco, University of California San Diego, University of South Carolina.

I'm sorry I wrote too much, and I appreciate any advice or tips! Thank you :)
 

Thestrugglez

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I think your stats are pretty good. Your gpa is a higher than mine and I am applying this fall. The fact that you showed improvement is also really good (I wish I could say the same for my last two years). My friend who is in a mid tier pharm school told me that I look pretty competitive for a mid tier program (based on the fact that I have a very good pcat score) and have a chance at a top tier program.

I am in a pretty similar boat, but I have taken/re-taken enough courses to meet most requirements/redo classes I needed to. Since you're a chem major (me too :),0 you should have no problems with the PCAT chemistry and math (I got 90+ on both with almost no studying). Based on your post, it seems that you have a good grasp of the English language, indicating that you'll probably do fine on the reading and verbal as well. Biology also happens to be my weak point so I can sympathize, but if you do well on least 2 of the other sections, you should have no problem getting a very good score.

As for whether you should take classes or not, I have been told by one school that they do look at your Fall 2014 grades, but recommended that I apply later in the cycle if I really wanted to improve my grades. In your case, I don't think you should worry about classes that much since most programs accept science prereqs up till the Spring before matriculation and non-science prereqs up till the Summer <---- (PLEASE CORRECT ME IF I'M WRONG). It's more important to get some work experience (IMO), unless you feel that you can juggle studying for the PCAT, classes and work.

As for your EC's do you have decentvolunteer experiences? Also, did you get any publications for your research?

P.S.: Props to being the first case I've ever heard of where someone liked PChem
 
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oldstock

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Hello all! I am a recent college graduate with high hopes of furthering my education by going to pharmacy school. I'm from New York and the school I went to was mostly known for business and psychology, but it had a very dedicated science faculty. Part of the reason why I choose the school was because it was small (so class sizes were at most 25 students) and also because of the various affiliations they had with companies and other colleges. I went in freshman year as a biology major wanting to go to medical school. I realized by the end of that year it really wasn't for me. I am not really interested in academia and I've always been fascinated with working in healthcare. Due to personal reasons, I struggled a lot my first two years of college and I did pretty well my last two years. I struggled a lot with organic chemistry and I put too much my second semester (organic chem 2, analytical chem, genetics and two electives) I feel very embarrassed. I got C's in both semesters for organic chemistry, and I am contemplating whether I should re-take those courses. I am very strong in mathematics and I really loved physical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, and environmental science. I've always wanted to take courses in drug treatment, and mechanism of action. I think part of the reason why I had a hard time with organic chemistry (especially trying to teach myself) is because I couldn't really apply myself well. It wasn't until senior year where I took synthesis (orgo 2 lab might be the familiar name for it) and I got an A where I had a full appreciation for orgo. I graduated college with a BS in Chemistry (ACS certified) with a 3.450 gpa.

I have research experience in computational chemistry, and internship experience in radiation oncology. I am taking time off so that I can focus on taking the PCAT in the fall, and finding work. I have an interview this week with CVS pharmacy and I am hoping to get it. I also am waiting on two positions from two different companies involving laboratory work.

I feel very lost in this whole process, and I am very discouraged looking up various pharmacy schools and their specific requirements. I've never taken A&P, economics or Microbiology and I have no clue if I should go back to school and take those courses. Some colleges require it, others don't. But I wonder can you just apply anyways? I also ordered the PCAT book this week, and I am afraid that my biology knowledge might not be as solid. I acknowledge that some schools do not require it, but my mentality is if I can score really high maybe that will back me up. I also have no one to talk to about the whole process, and I feel that I need to start moving fast before I miss the deadline for next year.

The schools I've been looking at are Northeastern University, University of Connecticut, University of California San Francisco, University of California San Diego, University of South Carolina.

I'm sorry I wrote too much, and I appreciate any advice or tips! Thank you :)

agreed with @Thestugglez said above.

I want to add that you should cast your net wider and apply wisely. The schools you're looking at are top ranked. No problem with that if you have excellent PCAT and solid EC + LORs. But always have some good backups imho.
 

nerdy_integral

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Thank you for the messages, and I'm so sorry for the late response back!

I know what to expect with the reading comprehension, math, and chemistry sections for the PCAT in general. My knowledge in O-chem is probably the weakest, but I took a practice exam and the questions didn't seem too bad. (Of course I didn't know how to answer them, but with some studying I'm sure I can tackle them.) If I brush up on general chem I know I shouldn't have much of a problem. The math part was the easiest. I felt pretty discouraged when I first took the practice exam concerning the vocab section. I didn't recognize they were analogies at first. If I was studying for it two years ago (when I took evolution/ecology and genetics) I would feel a bit more confident about the biology section (concerning that area). It seems like I forgot a lot. xD

I am trying to extend my school search, because for the most part I want to stay in the northeast region. I only started to lighten up to the idea of moving to the west coast if ever given the chance. (Schools in California seem really tough to get into!) I did not get any publications for my research, but I did make a few presentations. I was recently going to contribute to a paper (collect and send over data, since my research was based on computational studies, to complement the study) but something unfortunately happened at the end of the semester and I couldn't continue research onto the summer. I participated in various community service events at my school, and also set up a couple of them with my club. I'm hoping now to volunteer at the local hospital just for the purpose of experience. As for letters of recommendations, I am still in contact with my research professor. I was hoping to get my old boss to write me up one as well, but I was wondering how many would I need?

Also I got the job at the pharmacy so that's a start :)
 
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