Quantcast

Finishing a BS degree vs. not

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

ChemiE

New Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2011
Messages
8
Reaction score
0

Members don't see this ad.
Is there an advantage to finishing a BS degree if you plan on applying to Pharm school?

I am currently in chemical engineering, and I think I'll be able to finish my pre-reqs while working on my chemE degree. I would then apply to UNC pharmacy school (and some others) and attend after my junior year if I am accepted. If I'm not accepted, I figure that I can apply the next year and attend after I graduate.

I want to have a backup plan in case I don't get into pharmacy school, and engineering is a solid career path. However, I'm weary that I'll be able to get a 3.5 GPA (the average for the pharm school I want to attend) if I stay in engineering. I have a 3.9 now as a freshman, but I haven't started the tough engineering classes.

So, I'm thinking of switching to a biochemistry major. Then, I will have an interesting undergrad experience that is easier than engineering. I will be able to complete all the pre-reqs possibly by the end of my sophomore year, saving me an extra $18k for undergrad. I would still be able to take a minor in chemE and pursue chemE grad school if I don't get into pharmacy.


Is this a bad idea, putting nearly all of my eggs in one basket?

What do most people do? -- Finish undergrad or enter pharm school without graduating? If the latter, then after what year would you enter pharm school?


Thanks.
 

Rockinacoustic

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
May 16, 2009
Messages
1,326
Reaction score
1,023
It's still early for you- If you're dead set on Pharmacy, then plan your undergrad coursework accordingly towards it. No sense in getting a Bachelors if you really want to be a Pharmacist.

Personally, I didn't consider Pharmacy until midway through my junior year of undergrad. Since my tuition was so cheap, I never had a doubt in my mind that I wanted to complete my B.S. (Biochem) along with the pharm school pre-reqs. I don't have the stellar GPA, but I believe a degree makes me a more attractive candidate.
 

GJLaw

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2010
Messages
82
Reaction score
0
Is there an advantage to finishing a BS degree if you plan on applying to Pharm school?

I am currently in chemical engineering, and I think I'll be able to finish my pre-reqs while working on my chemE degree. I would then apply to UNC pharmacy school (and some others) and attend after my junior year if I am accepted. If I'm not accepted, I figure that I can apply the next year and attend after I graduate.

I want to have a backup plan in case I don't get into pharmacy school, and engineering is a solid career path. However, I'm weary that I'll be able to get a 3.5 GPA (the average for the pharm school I want to attend) if I stay in engineering. I have a 3.9 now as a freshman, but I haven't started the tough engineering classes.

So, I'm thinking of switching to a biochemistry major. Then, I will have an interesting undergrad experience that is easier than engineering. I will be able to complete all the pre-reqs possibly by the end of my sophomore year, saving me an extra $18k for undergrad. I would still be able to take a minor in chemE and pursue chemE grad school if I don't get into pharmacy.


Is this a bad idea, putting nearly all of my eggs in one basket?

What do most people do? -- Finish undergrad or enter pharm school without graduating? If the latter, then after what year would you enter pharm school?


Thanks.

I've been told by a few faculty and admissions board people from different schools that having a degree is a definite plus to your application in terms of both admission into pharmacy school and residency/fellowships (assuming your coursework dictates that you've done well w/ appropriate recommendation). That being said, if pharmacy is the career for you then getting into school as soon as possible would still be the best option in the long run.
 

chemguy79

New Member
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2006
Messages
1,191
Reaction score
139
I don't really see what the issue is; Having a degree will make you a stronger applicant, no doubt.

However, you should apply to Pharmacy school whenever you please and if you get accepted, WOO HOO! If not, apply again the next year.

Engineering is uber tough; However, if you want to study the subject, you should do it otherwise you'll probably be less interested/engaged with a different subject.
 

crazybob

Full Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2009
Messages
7,402
Reaction score
8
I don't really see what the issue is; Having a degree will make you a stronger applicant, no doubt.

However, you should apply to Pharmacy school whenever you please and if you get accepted, WOO HOO! If not, apply again the next year.

:thumbup:

Starting pharmacy school later when you feel much more prepared is better than starting a bit early and having a hard time with all of your classes.
 

Jackie B

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2011
Messages
204
Reaction score
1
Finish your degree. You always need a backup plan. What if pharmacy school doesn't work out for expected or unexpected reasons? You need your degree to fall back on.

Anectode - my friend got accepted to med school in the Carribean and went without finishing her BS. Well, that was too hard for her....she either dropped out or got kicked out (not sure) and is now in med school in Mexico where her classes are in SPANISH (she knows a bit but it's not her first language) and at this point she's stuck and just needs to try to finish that MD or she'll return to the US with no bachelor's, behind in life, and a jillion dollars in debt.
 

rlau929

Full Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2010
Messages
13
Reaction score
0
Finish your degree. You always need a backup plan. What if pharmacy school doesn't work out for expected or unexpected reasons? You need your degree to fall back on.

Anectode - my friend got accepted to med school in the Carribean and went without finishing her BS. Well, that was too hard for her....she either dropped out or got kicked out (not sure) and is now in med school in Mexico where her classes are in SPANISH (she knows a bit but it's not her first language) and at this point she's stuck and just needs to try to finish that MD or she'll return to the US with no bachelor's, behind in life, and a jillion dollars in debt.

I agree with Jackie that you should get a degree as a backup.

Also, enjoy undergrad and what your college has to offer. There could be things you might want to do like intramural sports, clubs, or anything fun.

goodluck
 

1TB4RKSB4CK

wussup doge
5+ Year Member
Joined
May 6, 2010
Messages
2,893
Reaction score
127
If I don't get accepted my first time applying (3rd year) I'll try and finish my Bachelor's then apply again. A Bachelor's does help a lot with the application.
 

crazybob

Full Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2009
Messages
7,402
Reaction score
8
If I don't get accepted my first time applying (3rd year) I'll try and finish my Bachelor's then apply again. A Bachelor's does help a lot with the application.

So I'm assuming you're a junior right now?

I think I was in the same boat when I applied to pharmacy school. Sometimes in school, I wished I could have finished my degree and graduated.

I think I actually wished more that I had taken more upper level courses (like biochem 2, molecular cell bio, etc)
 

BigEvilRx

Owner, StudyRx.Org.
10+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2009
Messages
170
Reaction score
0
I was hoping to be in the same boat but the G.I. Bill kinda limits that. The initial plan was to finish most of my pre-reqs at a community college and then finish the rest at a 4-year while I try to get into Pharmacy School.

2.5 Years later and I have my Associates in Science and a Junior @ UNC-CH going for a BA in Biology. With the GI Bill, I have to pursue a degree at all times which is a positive thing but it makes the task that much longer. However, I am not too worried about it as it is a fun ride and I am enjoying the other classes that I wouldn't normally sign up for.

I would say that expect your time at a 4-year to be 4 years but if you can, all the best luck to you. I had a few veteran buddies going for engineering and they seemed to handle it all real well until the hard classes came along. Then their GPA wasn't so great and they were always stressed (or tired). They were really intelligent, so I imagine engineering is a tough road. Good luck with it.

Best,

Steven
 

ChemiE

New Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2011
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Thanks for the advice. It looks like finishing a degree is the best option.

I'm not 100% sure I'm going to stay with engineering; I'm mainly doing it for the backup career option. I'm starting my second semester of it now but am taking the same classes as a chemistry major. I really don't want to burn out during undergrad though...it seems that most of the upperclassmen I know are always working on problem sets. I guess I have time to decide..
 

Lubeckd

Learner
10+ Year Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2010
Messages
1,577
Reaction score
318
I didnt go for the bachelor... I could have finished it in 1 year; but I want to be a pharmacist, not have a bachelor's in chemistry. I applied early and studied for the October PCAT instead.
 

ChemiE

New Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2011
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
^ When did you decide you wanted to do pharmacy? Did you ever have any considerable doubt?
 

1TB4RKSB4CK

wussup doge
5+ Year Member
Joined
May 6, 2010
Messages
2,893
Reaction score
127
So I'm assuming you're a junior right now?

I think I was in the same boat when I applied to pharmacy school. Sometimes in school, I wished I could have finished my degree and graduated.

I think I actually wished more that I had taken more upper level courses (like biochem 2, molecular cell bio, etc)
No, I'm a Sophomore right now. I'm planning to apply Junior year. I'm really torn between finishing the BS or going straight to Pharm school. I even have a tiny contemplation of Med School. :confused:
 

hillwilliam

Full Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2010
Messages
150
Reaction score
1
I have a BS in Engineering and I don't think you need to worry about your GPA dropping because the classes are going to get "harder". Yes, they will get harder, but also more focused. When I was going thru Engineering school, I liked the focused classes better than the more general first year engineering stuff. Engineering degrees are highly respected and it will never be a bad thing to have one. IMO, they can carry alot more weight than your typical non-eng BA/BS degree.
 

Lubeckd

Learner
10+ Year Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2010
Messages
1,577
Reaction score
318
^ When did you decide you wanted to do pharmacy? Did you ever have any considerable doubt?
well my position was different, I applied last year (PCAT was too low, so was rejected). I wanted to be a pharmacist once I got a A in ochem, my confidence's was soaring. I considered medical school/Nursing at one point, but I volunteered in the setting with the nurses and doctors, I didnt like it one bit. Crossed out both of them.

My hero is in Boston college, so I hope I can go there, my long term goal is become a professor in some kind of chemistry. Of course Pharmacy was one type of Chemistry, I told that to my professor. I am very sure Im going to come back to get my Bachelor's in Chemistry once I finished the PharmD.

My ochem professor told me to get a Ph.D or become a Doctor, I ended up choosing Pharmacy because in our class there was like a 10% amount of people who wanted to do Pharmacy, and they were cool people :thumbup:. Two of his best students were my good friends, one ended up going to chem, one went to pharmacy.

My position was in the PCAT + Experience vs Bachelor's phase. I ended up taking 2 pre reqs for LIU while gaining experience and working as a chem tutor. Turned out my LOR were pretty strong.

Once I was volunteering, I had no doubt in my mind, pharmacy was what I wanted to pursue. I made a lot of good friends, and everyone was like a family there.
 

fateluver

Full Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2010
Messages
15
Reaction score
0
No, I'm a Sophomore right now. I'm planning to apply Junior year. I'm really torn between finishing the BS or going straight to Pharm school. I even have a tiny contemplation of Med School. :confused:

I was on the same boat as you. I am a Junior this year with a major in biochemistry. I got into UNC, so it definitely shows that without a B.S. degree you can still get into a good school. The key thing is to know what you are getting into (also a great PCAT and experience).

I was also thinking of medical school, but you have to have a B.S. degree for that. So I recommend switching into an easier engineering or science major that does not require too many specific coursework in order to graduate early. Or you can just take the PCAT and MCAT around the same time and see how you do. These are just my thoughts, hope it helps :D
 

ashlee090

Full Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2009
Messages
21
Reaction score
0
I am on the same boat,
I am in my sophomore year of BA chemistry. I am torn between the idea of aplying or not....I currently have a good GPA, some experience volunterring at a hospital pharmacy, and will take PCAT on june or august. My delima is that i do not have many extracurricular activities and will not have a bachelor degree. I am working on my extracurricular act., but find it extremely hard. I barely have time to manage it.

It would be very stressful to apply in junior year since you have to study hard while preparing well for the application/interview process. Besides, you may not able to do any research until your junior year, which would help u to gain some experience and relationship with professors for LOR.
 

Elisaveth

Full Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2010
Messages
106
Reaction score
2
I'm pre-pharmacy just like you, but I'm a career changer who received my bachelor's a little while ago. From my perspective, I would strongly encourage you to get a bachelor's degree. Here's why:

1. You are probably extremely committed to pharmacy right now. But you may want to broaden your horizons in a few years (people change a lot in their twenties and thirties) and do something completely different, or maybe even related that might require you to have a bachelor's degree.

2. You don't want to end up trying to finish your bachelor's online in just something (like general studies or liberal arts) if some silly organization or company has some weird requirement about needing a bachelor's for promotion. Lots of companies have really dumb HR people and dumb policies that they continue to follow. They might tell you, "We want to promote you, but we really need you to have a bachelor's." It's lame, and while I'm applying a friend's experience having an associate's in information systems to the hypothetical pharma industry job (at like Pfizer or someplace in a management role where people are asked to get an MBA (for which you often need a bachelor's degree (which could be in anything) to get into the MBA program) in order to be promoted) where it may or may not actually be an issue. You'd think they'd value experience and respect a PharmD, but sometimes you have to slowly explain to them (some are just out of the loop MBAs who can't fathom the idea that you could have a doctorate without a bachelor's degree) that you don't need a bachelor's in this field to earn a PharmD. They'll assume that you have one and then write it into their policy. Then you'll end up trying to work and get a bachelor's at the same time. This cuts into time you can spend doing fun stuff.

3. You're still young and it's okay to be in school. I never understood what it means to feel off-schedule until I went back to school to do prereqs. You don't have to get anywhere early, unless saving money and earning money ASAP is an absolute priority.

4. Keep this in mind re your worry about your GPA: admissions folks know that chemical engineering is hard and that there's some grade "deflation" in place.
 

mommy0217

Full Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2010
Messages
45
Reaction score
1
I wanted to just jump in after my pre-reqs too, but after I thought long and hard I figured it would be safer to get a bs. first. I went and talked with a pannel of students at the school I want to go to and all of them had a bs. in biology. I figured if I didnt get in after I had my bs, then I could at least find a job, and I would have more time than the other students to study for the admin test, and also allow me time to plan and finance my move to my new school.

I would get a bs. I am working on a bs. in psychology- I am really intersted in it, but I heard there are no jobs for bs. in psych, so I am either thinking to changing to biology or double major, idk yet
 

Passion4Sci

LML
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2009
Messages
7,504
Reaction score
12
I wanted to just jump in after my pre-reqs too, but after I thought long and hard I figured it would be safer to get a bs. first. I went and talked with a pannel of students at the school I want to go to and all of them had a bs. in biology. I figured if I didnt get in after I had my bs, then I could at least find a job, and I would have more time than the other students to study for the admin test, and also allow me time to plan and finance my move to my new school.

I would get a bs. I am working on a bs. in psychology- I am really intersted in it, but I heard there are no jobs for bs. in psych, so I am either thinking to changing to biology or double major, idk yet

Oh there are jobs for the two ply toilet paper B.S. in psych degree, they just suck for the most part. About the best you'll be able to do is a Psych Tech.
 

Glotan

New Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2010
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
I'm pre-pharmacy just like you, but I'm a career changer who received my bachelor's a little while ago. From my perspective, I would strongly encourage you to get a bachelor's degree. Here's why:

1. You are probably extremely committed to pharmacy right now. But you may want to broaden your horizons in a few years (people change a lot in their twenties and thirties) and do something completely different, or maybe even related that might require you to have a bachelor's degree.

2. You don't want to end up trying to finish your bachelor's online in just something (like general studies or liberal arts) if some silly organization or company has some weird requirement about needing a bachelor's for promotion. Lots of companies have really dumb HR people and dumb policies that they continue to follow. They might tell you, "We want to promote you, but we really need you to have a bachelor's." It's lame, and while I'm applying a friend's experience having an associate's in information systems to the hypothetical pharma industry job (at like Pfizer or someplace in a management role where people are asked to get an MBA (for which you often need a bachelor's degree (which could be in anything) to get into the MBA program) in order to be promoted) where it may or may not actually be an issue. You'd think they'd value experience and respect a PharmD, but sometimes you have to slowly explain to them (some are just out of the loop MBAs who can't fathom the idea that you could have a doctorate without a bachelor's degree) that you don't need a bachelor's in this field to earn a PharmD. They'll assume that you have one and then write it into their policy. Then you'll end up trying to work and get a bachelor's at the same time. This cuts into time you can spend doing fun stuff.

3. You're still young and it's okay to be in school. I never understood what it means to feel off-schedule until I went back to school to do prereqs. You don't have to get anywhere early, unless saving money and earning money ASAP is an absolute priority.

4. Keep this in mind re your worry about your GPA: admissions folks know that chemical engineering is hard and that there's some grade "deflation" in place.

Great Advice. :thumbup:
 
Top