Pharmacy and Pharmacy School Admissions

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May 1, 2007
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I have been a recruiter and pre-pharmacy advisor for 7 years now. I have done this at two different schools, one in the east and one on the west coast, so I have a unique perspective.

I will do my best to answer your questions about the admissions process, interviewing, the PCAT, etc.

Ask away!

Questions for Members of Admissions Committees
1. What is the one thing you wish students planning to enter (medicine, pharmacy, dentistry) knew?
That while pharmacy school IS challenging, if you succeed in entering a program, you will find a family of supporters in your classmates, your professors, and the staff at the college. So many students enter thinking they will mostly be on their own and the opposite is true.
There are opportunities to be involved in the community and the pharmacy profession. The faculty and staff do everything they can to help you succeed and students genuinely become friends and family to each other.

2. What are the three top characteristics you like to see in an applicant?
-Knowledge of the pharmacy profession
-Evidence of past academic success
-Good People Skills

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I'm a pharmacy student and I am available to answer your questions about the application process and being in pharmacy school.

1. Why did you choose your field of study?
I find the mechanisms and uses of pharmaceuticals to be fascinating. It's amazing how much these products can improve the quality of life for so many individuals. I also enjoy the flexibility and diversity of practice opportunities in pharmacy, as well as the comfortable salary.
2. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Working in more than one practice site perhaps. I'd like to do a hospital clinical practice along with academic work, teaching in college of pharmacy. I'd probably moonlight a bit in community pharmacy as well.
3. What advice do you have for students planning to enter the field of pharmacy?
Number one: research the field. Know what you are getting into. Shadow, talk to practitioners and do your homework. Pharmacy is great but it is not for everyone (just like any career).
Number two: do well in your basic science pre-requisite courses, especially chemistry, organic chemistry, anatomy/physiology and microbiology. If you can find time to work in an upper level physiology class or biochemistry, it will be well worth your time. I wish that I had. Good luck!
Number three: hone your written and verbal communication skills. Pharmacy is NOT all science. I'd go so far as to say that's it's not even primarily science. Don't get me wrong; you will have to learn a lot of scientific concepts. But pharmacy practice is all about understanding and integrating information and being able to transmit that information to others (physicians, co-workers, patients, etc.) You need to be able to communicate well.
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You may not be able to answer this question, but I figure I'll ask it anyway. My school went through an initial round of acceptances about 1 month ago. Many people from this school received acceptance letters, some received letters of denial and some received a letter stating that they are waiting until the first round of acceptances has been completed so that they have a better idea of how many spots they have left. The problem is, for those of us who are in this "hold mode", we have no idea what our chances are of getting in. In your experiences, have you ever dealt with this and, if so, approximately what percentage of those in this hold mode actually get in. Keep in mind that this is not an alternate list - that will be generated later.

Thanks for your input.

I'm afraid that this is one of those questions that really has no answer. There is going to be a tremendous amount of variation from school to school in terms of how many students actually pay their deposit and hold their spot vs. how many end up giving up their spot. I wish I could be more specific but I can't. Good luck!

PS: you might want to check with the school in question.
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Some background about me: I'm a midcareer, 36-year-old pre-pharm student with a low undergrad GPA (around 3.11; graduated Stanford in Comm.+Sociology in 1994). I'm just getting started on my pharmacy prereqs -- I'm taking the Chem and Bio sequences starting this fall. Organic, Anatomy to follow in 2008.

My initial forays into bio and chem (i took intro survey courses at a local community college) were great -- I got two A's.

Assuming I continue to do well in my prereqs (A's and B's), and can get my GPA up to 3.3 or so and do 80+ on the PCAT, do you think I have a shot at getting into pharmacy school?

My other question relates to pharmacy experience. I don't currently have any, but would you recommend I work as a pharm tech first? This is something I'm seriously considering. I know it's fine to volunteer for a couple hours a week, but because of my low GPA I know I need to really show that I'm committed to pharmacy.

Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Getting some experience in pharmacy would only help you in the admissions process, in my opinion. There are a couple of ways to do this:

1. Get some diverse shadowing experience in several different areas of pharmacy. There is more out there than just community and hospital. This will show that you understand the breadth and diversity of the field.

2. Consider working as a technician in any setting. Community is probably the easiest to get hired for without any experience. I had luck going through the district manager of a large chain (the person in charge of recruiting pharmacists). Even if you find you don't like the particular pharmacy setting you choose to work in first you will still get some valuable experience. Someone told me once: Just because you don't like Walgreens (or Target or Osco or CVS) doesn't mean you won't like pharmacy.

I think if you can demonstrate your knowledge of and commitment to the profession, you can overcome some minor deficiencies in GPA and/or a lower PCAT score. Good luck!
how much does pharmacy experience and participating in lab research help to outway about 3.3 gpa for getting into pharm schools?

I don't know if there is a specific answer for your question. It's going to vary by school. Some schools value pharmacy experience highly. There are schools that require it! There are also schools where it is just considered a "plus" on your application. It won't hurt you at any school.

I think the research experience is also helpful because it shows exposure to research methods and involvement outside the classroom.

Evidence of leadership experience and involvement in community service are good too.

Good luck!
First, PCAT score averages vary from school to school. With a 3.5 GPA, 80th composite PCAT score should be competitive at most schools. As long as you are up front about the misdemeanor charge, it should not hurt you. You mentioned being lost about what you want to do. Make sure that you talk to pharmacists and if possible, shadow some pharmacists, to make sure that this is a path you would want to pursue.

Hello there, I recently graduated 2 weeks ago with my bachelors in Biology and minor in Chemistry. I'm so lost as far as what I want to do. I have a 3.55 GPA and have not taken the PCAT yet. I believe with a month or 2 of studying I could score about 80th percentile. Would this suffice? Another question to. When I was 18 (young and stupid) I was arrested for theft under $250. This was a misdemeanor and not sure if its still on my record. I have not been in trouble since. How bad will this look? Thanks for any advice!
Thank you for offering to give help and advice!

I am currently working towards a B.S. in Animal Science, and I would like to apply to pharmacy school once I complete my degree and the pre-reqs for pharmacy school.
Right now, I have an overall GPA of 3.97 (Science GPA of 4.0, 4.0 GPA for my major), and I am involved in several organizations on campus, including the equestrian team. I have been active in my community, and I also work with the Girl Scout's horseback riding program. I love community service, and I would like to find more community activities.
What would you recommend to supplement my application?

Also, it is very difficult to find a pharmacy-related job in my area. I could possibly land a job as a retail pharmacy clerk, but I am unsure if this would be beneficial.
Anyway, would it be looked down upon if I did not have pharmacy-related work, but instead, I had many hours of job shadowing? I am hoping to shadow pharmacists in different clinical fields, as well as a retail pharmacist.
How many hours of job shadowing / pharmacy experience should I have by the time I apply?

Thank you in advance!

Hi, most pharmacy schools are going to look for a real desire for pharmacy as a career and some knowledge of the profession. Most are going to want to know why you want to be a pharmacist and what you are planning to do with the degree. To answer those questions, it is helpful to have some firsthand experience but I dont' know of any schools that require a minimum number of hours. I think the shadowing may actually be more useful since it will give you a more broad exposure to the profession.

I would recommend keeping your community/volunteer experience to one or two activities that you commit to in depth. Most schools will look for leadership skill development and you can best achieve that with something you have done over time and not just for a day or a week.
Good luck!
Ive taken the first semester of physics (calc. based + lab) should I take the 2nd semester? the requirement of the school is just the first semester.

P.S. im not to good at physics

If the schools that you are applying to do not require two semesters of physics, then it would not be necessary to take Physics II and Lab. Some schools do require that second semester of Physics and if you have any thought at all of applying to such a school, then I would take it.
Given the obvious lack of minorities in pharmacy in the field, currently enrolled and in the application, what do you know about pharmacy schools actively trying to recruit minorities (esp. African American and Latino males....they're in a huge shortage)?

Thank you for your time and your participation on the great website. It is greatly appreciated.

I think that most schools are interested in diversity at all levels, including recruiting qualified students, faculty and staff. At most pharmacy schools there is an interest in recruiting students who are underrepresented in the profession including African American and Latino students as well as students from rural areas. Not sure if that answers your question but that is what I know!
One of the concerns I really have about is re-taking pre-req. I afraid that re-taking courses in my pre-req will really have an impact on me getting into pharmacy school. I have a bachelor in Biology; Chemistry already, I have A's, B's, and some C's especially on the organic courses. I am re-taking the courses over to get a higher GPA in community colleges. I don't know how this would looking when applying. Some people say it's okay, but I don't feel so confident. Could you let me if it is okay, like others have said or are my chances really slim. I would appreciate the suggestions, also one of the school I really want to get into the at the U of M, and with all this in mind, i don't feel so confident in applying because I'm scared I might get rejected. Again many people said there are numerous of reason why how one could present this in a interview when asked, why re-take the courses? So let me know, it would probably help me more in making my decisions.
I would not worry about retaking one or two courses to try to improve your grades. I would hope that you are doing this to improve your knowledge and that is how I would present it if you are asked in an interview. Most schools will not have a problem with retakes of one or two courses. It doesn't sound like it is a pattern with you and therefore, shouldn't be an issue. Good luck with it!
Hi my question is about pharmD/phD joint programs do these always take the amount of time the pharmacy schools say they will or do students sometimes take longer to actually find a research project to do a dissertation on? also do you apply to these together and get accepted to both or none or how does that work from an admissions standpoint?
I can only answer this question from my experience with one school. It is a CONCURRENT degree which means you finish the PharmD first and then begin the PhD. Each degree takes 4 years and that is accurate. You apply to the PharmD first and apply to the PhD program later through the Graduate School. The GRE is necessary. Good luck.
Great, thank you for your time!

I'm very interested in pharmacy school. My dream school is UGA and I've done alot of reading about both the programs, curriculum and research at UGA + I've read many many sources about the actual profession of Pharmacy.

I just finished up my sophomore year and am now taking summer classes. My overall GPA should be around a 3.45 for 65 credit hours. My first year of college was very mediocre, I got a 3.0 for 28 credit. This past year, I did much better with a 3.72 for the year. I also completed a year of chemistry "tutoring" (It's actually a misnomer. I worked as a 'Peer-Led Team Learining Leader in which I was assigned 16 students and met with in groups of 8 each week and we did chemistry problems together). I also managed to help a new faculty professor start a lab and began doing research and presented our unfinished work at the college's symposium.

What I don't have going for me is that I haven't taken the PCAT (Will take it this month) and I don't have many volunteer hours and minimal experience in a pharmacy setting. What's worse is that I will finish all my prerequisites by the end of the summer so I want to apply in the fall of my 3rd year, yet I feel as if I'm serverly lacking.

What is your advice in what I should do? I am actively looking for volunteer work at many places but I'm getting nervous that I'm not getting any feedback.
You do need to learn as much as possible about the profession since that is the field you intend on entering. As much for you as for any admissions committee, you need to learn what pharmacists do and how they do it. I would recommend that you continue to try to volunteer (hospitals are best for this) and if you can not do that, try to research as much as you can about what is happening now in the field. If you can not get any firsthand experience, at least you should be able to articulate why you want pharmacy and what aspect of pharmacy you could see yourself pursuing!

This is a constant question asked all over the forums but is it okay to take pre-req classes at a community college? More specifically, I went to UCLA and took some of the requisites during my pursuit of a non science bachelor's. I graduated with a degree in English and am now taking the prerequisites at a community college. I did not do well in the pre reqs at UCLA but am doing really well now at the community college as I am now a much much more motivated and mature student. Will admissions think that I could not "cut" it at the University level in terms of science classes? I plan to take some of the sciences through the Open University program again, but a good amount of the pre reqs will be completed through the community college, will this be "frowned" upon? Thank you for your time and feel free to ask if you need more information on my background and journey towards pharmacy school!!


The answer to this question will vary from school to school. Some schools say it is ok to take any or all classes at a community college while others will say you MUST take certain prereqs at a four-year school. Those schools who require the PCAT often see it as the equalizer to determine how well prepared a student is. So, if you have a very high GPA at a community college, the expectation would be a commensurate PCAT score. Check with the schools you intend to apply to. Only they can tell you how they will view your classes. Good luck!
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Hi RxPharmD,

I had several questions regarding applying to pharmacy school for Fall 2008, and I was hoping I could converse with you through private messages? Thanks!

These types of questions need to be asked publicly on the mentor forum.
Our mentors are not available for one-on-one consultation.
I need a little motivation/any hope that maybe pharmacy is possible for me. I graduated with a BS in biological sciences. My GPA not too high 2.9. I've worked in an independent pharmacy my senior year of college and just certified this january as a tech. I know work at a Pharmacy Benefit Management company in the Networking dept. I would say I have a good understanding of pharmacy and how it works and what role i want to play...but with such a low GPA is this even possible?

Schools are not known to accept a lot of students who have GPAs < 3.0 but don't give up yet. Is it possible to retake some of the courses you scored poorly in, to boost your GPA? Schools will still see your old grades as you must report them to PharmCAS but it will help if the schools can also see your improvement.

Your work at the PBM is good. You might want to do some shadowing to increase your exposure to the profession. It would be good to cultivate some pharmacists as mentors. You'll also need good letters of reference from people who really know you and can speak to your qualifications.

If you are applying to schools that require the PCAT, doing well on that may balance your low GPA somewhat.
I graduated with a dual b.s. in liberal arts a couple years ago. Since then, I've had a job teaching abroad, but now I'm doing fairly normal work for a liberal art grad - that is, I'm a secretary. I'm stressed about the fact that I'm older and it's going to take me a good long time (3-5 years) to finish my prep work, since I'm paying for it out of my meagre income. Can you shed some light on "non-trad" student paths?
Also, looking at different schools, there's a multitude of requirements. Some require anat/path, some require one, some don't require either. The same for microbiology, immunology, the second term of biology . . . I don't want to aim for only one school, but it's hard to set up a schedule. Also, some schools, like UCSF, require things like English and speech - things I feel I should be qualified for.
I guess the big question is how to start, and how to emphasize my strengths and deal with things that make me "different".

I am also a career changer who is a bit older than most pharmacy school applicants. You will need to show that you've researched the profession and be able to describe why pharmacy is right for you. Shadowing pharmacists in a variety of job roles would be a good start. Make notes for yourself at each place you visit. You could even start a journal focusing on the things you liked and didn't like about each type of pharmacy practice. Write down any questions you have for follow up. When you begin to interview at pharmacy schools, you will have this journal to reference for things to mention in your interviews.

As far as pre-reqs go, I like to be systematic. I'd make an Excel spreadsheet with possible pre-req courses listed in the left-hand column and the schools you are interested in listed across the top. If "College A" requires A & P, check it off, and so on. The courses that the majority of your prospective schools require are a good place to start your prepharmacy coursework. I think all schools probably require General Chemistry.

Good luck!
Hi, I've got a question about course load.

I am a midcareer pre-pharm student, age 36, who is working full-time (40 hours a week). I am volunteering at a local hospital for three hours per week. My two other ECs take only 3 additional hours per week. This fall, I will be taking two science courses (Bio and Chem) and I plan on continuing that two-science-per-quarter trend for the next two years to fulfill all my prereqs.

Do you think I am taking too light a course load? Will AdComs frown on the fact that I am only taking 10 units (even though they're both lab classes)? And how much will my working full-time allay the AdComs' concerns about course load?

Any suggestions, comments or criticisms would be greatly appreciated.


I think AdComs understand that students who are working full time will necessarily have to take lighter course loads during the prepharmacy years. I worked full-time during prepharmacy and no one ever questioned my course load. The most important thing, by far is to do well in your prereq classes.
Hi, I have a question regarding the interview process. How much detail should you give and how much time are you expected to spend for answering questions such as "Why do you want to become a pharmacist?..." etc?

At my interview we did not have time to provide extremely long, detailed answers. Just be honest, sincere and make sure you have thought about the possible questions. Take a deep breath before you answer to collect your thoughts. And relax!
Hi Mentor, I have a few questions. First if you have already applied to the school 3 years ago, can you lie and say no when they ask you on the application when you reapply again.

I would not lie about anything on my application. Especially if it is the same school. You are likely to be discovered and it's wrong.

Second, this will be my third time reapplying, my science GPA is avg. 2.9. I am counting on my PCAT scores to be really high second time around taking it,do you think I have a chance?
Other times I have gotten interviews but I don't no know what happened. Can you pls advise me...

The science GPA is low. You might consider retaking some courses to boost it. See below. Good luck on the PCAT!

Thanks for your pro-bono work..

You're welcome! :)

Do you think I should take Gchem over to raise my GPA. I got C's in both.
Or I am just wasting my time.

Your overall science GPA is low. You might consider this as an option, especially since you've not had success gaining admission to this point.
Hi, I have a few questions regarding the interview process. I've looked at some of the sample interview questions at the universities where I'm intending to apply. Questions that seemed the trickiest were ethical questions that went along the lines of "if somebody refuses to take his medication, would you convince him and how?"

What would be the typical answer that your interviewers would want to hear? I am afraid if I answer that I would make him take his medication no matter what, I would seem rude and stubborn by ignoring the other person's personal decisions. On the other hand, I don't want to say that I'll just let him not take his medication b/c that seems uncaring and irresponsible. Is there a right or wrong answer to this sort of question?? :confused:

Your answer should be honest, sincere and reflect that you've thought about the issue. Take a deep breath before you answer to collect your thoughts. Relax!

Now, on this specific issue - we've discussed this in pharmacy school. Here's my insight:

1. You can't MAKE a patient take their medication. Adults are responsible for their own health and have to decide for themselves to participate or not in treatment.
2. You can only explain the benefits of the therapy and the risks of noncompliance. For example:

Manual Pick, I know this antibiotic is very expensive and you feel you can't afford to pay for it. However, you have a serious infection and this antibiotic is the best medication available to get rid of it. You should start to feel better in a few days after you start the medication. I'm afraid that if you don't take this medication your infection may get worse and you might miss more work or school and possibly even have to go to the hospital for treatment.

Also, if the interviewer asks a question that requires a specific life example, and you really can't think of any, is that an automatic zero on that question?

If you don't have experience with something in your life, just be honest about that. You can try to think through a possible answer. Here's an example:

Q: Your pharmacy dispenses the wrong medication to a child and the child ends up in the hospital. What would say to the child's parent?

A: Although I don't have children of my own, I can only imagine how worried and angry the parents would feel in that situation. I would apologize for the error and make sure that the parents know that I am available to answer their questions and that all my pharmacy staff will be made aware of the error and we will take steps to prevent such errors from occuring in the future.

What kind of answers/interview attitude would make you lose marks? Sorry for asking so many interview questions but it's making me so nervous!

Just be honest, sincere and relaxed. Think before you speak. If you don't know something just say, "I honestly don't know."

Check out SDN's Pharmacy School Interview Feedback to get ideas of questions that have been asked at actual interviews.
Hi do you think it is ok to ask a science professor for a letter of rec if you got a C in his class. The problem is that I have been out of school for a few years and all my chem professors have left the university.

What do you think this professor would say about you? Will his or her letter help your application? Only you and the professor can say for sure. You could approach the professor (set up a meeting) to discuss the issue and see if they think they could give you a good recommendation. That's how I'd handle it.

Is it ok to tell schools that the reason you want to attend their college is to be close to home so you can save money? Is this the kind of answer they want? Pls help thx

It's all how you phrase it. I wouldn't be so blunt as to say, "I want to go to school here because it is cheaper." Rather I'd say something like, "The location of this school appeals to me. I have family in the area and will have a built in support system. Plus, living at home will allow me to avoid relocation costs and minimize my expenses and thus, keep my educational debt low."
Hi, I am about to re-apply to pharmacy schools and I really need some advices.

I have a BS in Biological Sciences with a GPA of 3.7
Last year, I applied to 13 pharm schools, and I got 6 interviews. I was in the alternate list for 4 schools, and no acceptance yet.
I called all the school that rejected me, and they told me that I need to improve my writing and communication, and also pharmacy experience. I volunteered in pharmacy for about 8 months, but I had to stop after applying to these schools because of financial situation. I am working 70 hours a week now, but none of my jobs are pharmacy-related. I want to re-apply this year, but I am afraid that I am going to get the same results as last year.

I really like pharmacy career, but I do not have a specific reason why I like it. It is definitely not because of the money. I think it fits me and that's why I choose it. However, during the interview that I had, this answer about my interest of pharmacy did not convince the interviewers very much. Could you please tell me what i can do to improve it?

You are going to need to come up with an answer to the question: "Why do you want to be a pharmacist?" It's ok to say that you think the profession fits you but you have to be able to articulate WHY. You need to tell the interviewers what aspects of the profession appeal to you specifically and provide examples. I would also recommend that you include what area of the profession that you think you might enjoy. You have some experience so that may help you formulate your answers. It is really important to practice giving those responses also.

I would take the advice you have been given and take a class in public speaking or small group communication and a composition class. Good luck.
Wow, You must be really acquainted with your pharmacy experiences and knowledge

I have some questions too ~^^
Regarding to pharmCas application, after I e-submit my application, can I delete my designated professor and add pharmacy supervisor , because I am going to work as pharmacy technician in July, but I am ready to submit my application right now
could you give me some advices, whether should I e-submit my application right now or wait until I get to know my pharmacy supervisor and ask her a LOR , and if I wait the LOR from my pharmacy supervisor, will it be late ?
because I heard that I should submit my application after around June or July

and when I delete one of my professors in PharmCAS, will she/he be noticed because I don't want to offend them
Thanks in advance

If you know now that you are going to delete one of your PharmCAS references, then I would not include that person in your reference list in the first place. It might not be possible to add them and then delete them later, especially if you choose the electronic reference method. PharmCAS will send your reference the reference form via email and once they have submitted, it may not be possible to delete that reference. (check the PharmCAS web page for the exact ruling on this.)

PharmCAS will not hold up your application waiting for your references to arrive. Some schools may consider your application regardless of whether all the reference have arrived (those who use rolling admissions) and some may not. You will need to check with individual schools.
I'm a Creighton undergrad, 3.2gpa, most of my reqs for Creighton are done except for Organic and Econ which I will take this year (my junior year). If I apply for Creighton, I don't have to take the PCAT. UNMC is the other school in my state, but I will have to take several other reqs and probably won't be finished with them til next year (accounting, physics, etc). And if I want to apply to other schools, I would have to take the PCAT in January after 1 sem. of organic, which will be a little late for fall 2008 admissions. I was wondering if it is too risky to apply to only one school (Creighton) this year.

It sounds like you don't have much choice! If you won't be finished with everything you need for other schools and won't be prepared for the PCAT, then applying to Creighton is your best option for this year. If you are not admitted there this year, then, you can widen your net. I am not familiar with Creighton's averages so I can't say what type of applicant you would be for them. Since you are on campus, you should be able to talk with an admissions person or advisor to assess your competitiveness.
Good luck with it.
I always hear about applicants who experience an upward trend in their GPA. I also always hear about those who retake courses and get As in which they originally received Cs/failing grades in. My questions/concerns are regarding both these scenarios.

Unlike many, I do not have an upward trend, and unlike some, I do not have any Ds or Fs. I performed very well in my general bio, chem, calculus, physics, and ochem courses and labs (1 year for each; straight As in chem, and As and Bs in the rest). However, the moment upper division courses came, I started doing miserably (a reign of B-'s and Bs). I am a neuroscience major and have already finished the core upper division classes (biochem, genetics, molecular biology, microbiology), and I will have my finals in human anatomy, the lab, and cell biology in two days. I am applying to pharmacy schools this summer and have completed my PharmCAS personal statement that does address my performance nicely. However, despite all my extracurricular activities, pharmacy experience, and responses to essay/supplemental questions, I can't help but wonder if any potential rejection I could get would all be due to my spiraling academic performance. While my general science GPA is fine, my cumulative GPA is at 3.13, and this is like 99% due to B-'s and Bs (in my GEs and upper division sciences).

I guess I made this post just to get an idea of what I should do in case I don't get accepted this time around. I am applying only to schools that don't require the PCAT (yes, I will take the PCAT next time if I don't get in this year). At the moment all my course slots through my graduation (next spring) are filled up, so I can't retake any classes (plus my school won't allow me to retake courses because I got Bs in them anyway). Has being a B student cursed me? What am I supposed to do? I believe every other aspect of my application stands strong, but with a blemished GPA like mine, I feel pretty bummed :(:scared::scared::(

I think you are probably getting ahead of yourself. Ideally, you have done some research on the schools you are applying to and are applying to those where you would be a good fit...both academically and personally. I would put all your energy into the application process and preparing for potential interviews and worry about not getting admitted when that happens!
i am just far ahead should i study for the PCAT...usually how long???if i take the first one and don't do well, for those that took it the second it different or is it the similar same as the previous one. I know it ranges from people on studying techniques but I am curious and I wanted to get an Idea of how everyone has been studying for the test?? if i am apply to Pharmcas and the school do should I take the test in Aug or October. I feel that I am not ready for the August test but then I don't want it to be too late when the schools make the early decisions too?? any suggestions???:confused: also hmmm...i think I am still confused about GPA calculations because I have a weird situation with my grades, with re-taking courses over to boost my GPA since I have earned a B.S. in biology and chemistry in 2004. Who do you suggest I ask for help in trying to figure my GPA exactly...especially the last 60 credits stuff that schools keep on talking about. Please give message me privately if there is more that you can suggest for me to do individually, i would appreciate it.

Do you have a pre-pharmacy advisor at your school? I think they could help you figure out some of these issues. How much you need to study for the PCAT depends on where you are in your studies and how well you've done in your core classes. Starting early is always good.

firstgeneration said:
If i haven't taken calculus should i attempt to take the PCAT test or not?? because it is 22% of the test??? any suggestions

How much math have you had? What types of grades have you earned in your math classes? Could you get a review book and study the calculus stuff on your own?
Hi I am applying to a accelerated PharmD Program. One of the questions is: What have a been doing for the last 6 mths if I have not been in school.
My answer is that I been just working as a pharmacy tech. Can you please tell me how to elaborate this answer?

How much elaboration is needed?

I'd write something like, "I've been working as a pharmacy technician in a community pharmacy. This has given me first hand insight into the profession and solidified my desire to become a pharmacist."
I have the question regarding the Loma Linda supplemental essay question :
The last question is this :

This university is owned and operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Pharmacy education at Loma Linda University is taught from a Christian perspective. Please respond to this as it relates to your personal educational and career goals.

I have no religion, and to be honest, I don't even know what the seventh-day Adventist Church is, what should I answer this question ? could you give me some hint ?

I really appreciate that

1. Look up the Adventist Church. Get an idea of its general principles.
Adventist Church

2. Find something you admire about their beliefs and be ready to discuss it. It could be anything. I'm not overly familiar with Adventism so I can't make any suggestions but I'm sure you can find something.

3. In your essay, explain that why you are not personally religious, you have explored the Adventist tradition and admire (fill in here) about it. You hope to learn more about it as a student at LLU and think that you would be very happy in that environment.

That's all assuming that what you are saying is true. Going to a religious school is not for everyone. Do you research and consider your options carefully. Make an informed decision.
I have been a pharmacy educator for 21 years and now at my fifth school.

I have been involved with Admissions for 10 years at a PharmCAS and a non-PharmCAS school.

Please feel free to ask any questions that you might have. I will answer what I can.

Hello, I`m writing this for an honest opinion on weather or not pursuing a pharm/d is a viable option for me.

I apologize if this is rather long-winded.


1- Given the choice, would it be more beneficial for me to take my science pre-reqs at a community college and find part time work/volunteering in a pharmacy/hospital setting; or should I take my science pre reqs at a four year college, but have minimal or no experience in a pharm/hospital?

2-How limited am I by my low GPA? Would the circumstances I had while attending university help to account for my low GPA or would it be dismissed as just another sob story?

3- What is the minimum GPA I should shoot for in taking my science pre-reqs (other then as high as possible) to be a competitive applicant? If i get less then a 3.5 or 3.75 is it virtually a lost cause? If I re-entered a 4 year university would that provide me more lee-way?

4- How common is it for applicants to spend multiple years applying to schools?

I have a B.A. which I finished five years ago. A GPA of 3.19. I started as a biochem major, and took basic chem/calculus, in which I recieved straight C`s. While I was attending uni, i had a four hour (total) daily commute as well as a 25-30 hour work schedual every year. Because of this I switched away from a science major to a major that didnt require daily studying.

I`m currently planning on selling my business and relocating my family to the U.S, and using the money from the sale to further my education. I hope my questions dont make it seem as if Im searching for the easy way out. To be honest, even though I am very interested in pursuing this option, I am nervous about taking two years away from another career path when I have to consider the well being of my family first. Also I am concerned when I see that many pharmacy schools accept 10% of applicants or less, and many posters on this board seem to spend two or three years applying.

Again I apologize for the length of the post. Im not even sure what information you can give me, but any advice or input you can give would be appreciated.

Thank you.

First, I would look at the colleges of pharmacy you plan to apply to. Some will require that you take certain prerequisities at a 4 year school. That information may help you to decide where to begin. Also, just FYI, you can go to a 4 year school part time also, as a non-degree seeking student.

Second, again, decide what schools you are interested in applying to. Some schools will only consider your performance in their prerequisite courses which helps those students whose overall GPA is lower. For those schools that consider ALL your undergraduate courses in makiing their decision, most will consider your overall application and not just the grades you received so they will likely consider your individual circumstances. That said, you will need to perform at a high level in the coursework you have remaining!

As far as GPA for the science classes you have remaining: I think a 3.1 or 3.2 is generally a good starting point. I would recommend that you speak with the advisors at the schools you are considering. Only those individuals can give you an accurate read of how competitive you are for their schools and what you need to do going forward.

I think it is fairly common for students to apply to schools more than once. I think the national trend is for students to spend 3-4 years in school completing prereqs before entering pharmacy school.

Good luck!
Hi there,when sending off LORs,transcripts, and supplementals. Do you think it is better to send it in one big package or send them separately. I know this is a weird question. I am afraid that if I send them in all at once the package will get lost. It will take me a long time to replace everything in the package. Can I get your thoughts..pardon my paranoia.
Also do you think it is worth it to send it certified?
If you are sending to schools that require all of this, I would absolutely send it all together. Make copies of everything you send so if it is lost, you can replicate it. If you send it piece by piece, it will drive the admissions staff crazy and individual pieces may get lost. Yes, send certified so you have confirmation that it was received.
Hi RxPharmD,

First thank you for taking the time to answer questions for us.

I am a current high school student interested in Pharmacy and I hope to apply to a few 0-6 programs. My question is - I do have a very minor physical disability that requires me to wear leg braces knee high because of this I walk with a slight limp. As an advisor would you recommend me disclosing my disability when I apply? Do you think this will keep me from gaining admission? I do not see it stopping me, I just hope that my application will not be looked down upon. I look foward to your advice,
Thanks again

You may want to consider including your disability in your personal statement if it helps to let the admissions committee understand who you are, what obstacles you have overcome, and why you are pursuing the profession. Most schools will want to know what makes you unique.

However, it is not necessary to disclose it until you have been admitted when most schools will request that you let them know of any physical or learning disability that will require special accomodations.
Good luck!
RIte now i have 2.67 GPA. i wonder if i can get into pharmacy school with the GPA that i have, with work experience and some volunteer work at a hospital pharmacy. I haven't taken my PCATs yet, I am planning to take it in october i had to work alot in first 2 years of college due financial reasons. In between i also had some family emergency.. i need help...what do i do? I will be graduating this december with major in bio and minor in chem. and i am also planning to do research with my professor. can u suggest me?:(. I also wanted to know if should i apply now because the school i want to go offers rolling admission? is it worth to apply or should i jst wait until next year to apply? i really need help on making decision and ways for me to get into pharmacy school.

Of course, I really can't say whether you would be admitted or not. I would recommend talking directly with the advisors at the schools you would like to attend to find out how competitive you are. You certainly won't be admitted if you don't apply. If your PCAT is strong, that may boost your application and pharmacy work and volunteer experience is also a plus. If you are applying to a school that has rolling admissions and also requires the PCAT, then you may be at a disadvantage since the October PCAT score won't come in until end of November/early December. That may be late in the process for schools with rolling admission.

Good luck!
I am a community pharmacist with 25 years of experience. The first nineteen years were spent in independent community pharmacies and the last six years with major national chain.

I am here to answer any of your questions related to the practice of pharmacy in the community setting.

I would especially like to help interns as they start out in their chosen profession.

Mindful of the words of the Talmud:

Much have I learned from my teachers....

More from my friends than my teachers....

But from my students I have learned the most.......
Pharmacy is what I really want to do. But I plan on working on a Bachelor of science in rehabilitation studies, with I minor in biology. since I will not be majoring in biology or chemistry is that going to hurt my chances of getting in. i was just going to try and do the prereqs and apply then but I feel like I am rushing it and thus I am not doing well in my classes and my Gpa is a 3.1. So I decided recently to get my degree first to be able to slow things down a little and boost my Gpa. Do you think I am on the right track here? I feel that way while I am working on my degree but not taking 17 hours a semster to finish in two years( like i ahve been doing) will give me time to become a pharm tech and get the pharmacy expereince I Lack right now. Plus My parents want me to go ahead and get a degree anyway they say as a back up plan. Do pharmacy schools still require you to take all the prereqs if I have a degree?:confused: I guess my question is do I have to major in something heavy on the science to look good and get in or will a relevant major like I feel mine is and a science minor along with a good gpa and Pcat score be okay.:)

The schools that I am familiar with will be concerned with your performance in their prereqs, in science courses as a whole, and with your PCAT score, initially. If those first numbers are competitive, then they will also be concerned with your maturity level, communication skills, knowledge of the profession. It is certainly a good plan to get your degree---your major should not matter to most schools. The degree will not typically exempt you from any of the required courses, however. I would check with the schools you are interested in on that question.

Good luck!
I'm finishing up my pre reqs at TSU hopefully by Spring 2007 with mostly sciences that are going to kill me. TSU also only takes PCAT up to 1 year old so when would be the best time to take the PCAT since I haven't taken it at all? I'm also a bad test taker so what applications would review all sections on the PCAT since my math/english/bio was about 2 years ago? I'm also going to start volunteering at a hospital, apply as a tech, and join clubs at school. Is there anything else that would beef up my application? I have no B.S. with a 3.4 GPA.

You generally take the PCAT when you have had at least biology, anatomy/physiology, general chem, organic chem, stats, calculus. The PCAT covers what you KNOW and have learned in those courses so the more of the courses you have had when you take the PCAT, the better you will do. Since you apply to pharmacy school about a year before you expect to enter, I advise students to try to take the PCAT in June or August and then no later than October to meet admissions requirements for most schools. Kaplan puts out a good study guide and they also offer a CD, and a full blown study course. Good luck.
I am a finance major and planning to do Pharmcacy. I have a gpa of 3.3 and I am going to start taking the core pharmacy classes. Would I be able to raise my GPA to a 3.6 or so? Besides this how many years would it take to complete the core pharmacy classes? thanks in advance.

It's impossible for us to answer this because we don't know how many credit hours you have already earned and how many "core" pharmacy courses you need to take. Those are things that are relatively simple to figure out for yourself. Good luck. :luck::luck:

I am wondering if I am completely doomed after my poor PCAT showing! I scored a measly 49th percentile! I scored great in Chem and Bio, also my essays were 4/3.5, but the rest wasnt to swell! I am just wondering if my excellent LOR and my 3.95 science GPA can help me at all. I have volunteered and job shadowed pharmacists many times, and I work as a manager in charge of 10-30 employees at a time-- hoping that will show responsibility and leadership skills. I guess my true question is how heavily is the PCAT weighed in? I realize they look at PCAT, GPA, LOR, and Personal statements-- And I feel I am very competitive in all areas but the 1 (everyone has a weakness eh?). But will a school that has no true bottom line for PCAT score, but an average of 80's even consider a score like mine, despite my above their average Science/math grades? Is there any good news for me?? :confused:

This is going to vary tremendously by school. I won't lie to you - that PCAT score if very low and the Admissions Committee will see that as a red flag. My school screens by GPA and PCAT so if you are below a certain (non-published) point, you don't get an interview.

You need to meet with an admissions representative of the schools you are interested in and ask them point blank if you have a shot at an interview with that score. Only the specific schools can answer that question.

You may want to consider a re-take if you think you can score higher the second time around. :luck:
First, my background: Graduated from USF in 2000 with a degree in microbiology. I am returning to school this semester to take A&P I and II to complete my pre-req requirements. Because it has been so long since I took some of my classes (the schools I am applying to are ok with this) like chem and organic, I decided to audit Chem I and Organic I this semester. I am hoping this will help on my PCAT and help refresh my memory. It is also a good start to get me back into the academic world. The plan would then be to audit Chem II and Organic II in the spring (but of course that wouldnt help my PCAT prep) to help prepare me for pharmacy school.

I have been working on the Kaplan Study Guide, and found my greatest weakness to be in the chem section. (I can assume that is because of the loss of the language, so to speak).

While in my first day of Chem I, the professor recommended I audit intro to chem, and take Chem II this semester if i plan on taking the PCAT in Oct (and potentially January if I need to). :eek:

my question: Do you think this is good advice? :thumbup:

It is not an issue to make changes to my schedule, especially if it will help to better prepare myself both for pharmacy school and for the PCAT.

This is just my opinion but I would not waste my time and money auditing a class. I would probably purchase a good study guide and maybe a chemistry textbook and try to review on my own. How did you do in these classes the first time around? If you did well, your self-directed review should be fairly straightforward.

Here is a good book I used: Schaum's Outline of General, Organic and Biological Chemistry. It's less than $15 on and includes practice problems. I used it a lot during my undergrad chemistry courses and have referred to it in pharmacy school as well.

Good luck. :luck:
Hello, I am currently a freshman in college. I got accepted to pharmacy school last year (0-6 program) but I greatly regret the fact that I decided to attend elsewhere because I wasn't sure pharmacy was right for me. After a lot more research and a lot more thorough thinking, I decided that I would like to get into pharmacy school. I know it's really hard, but I really want to get in after finishing up two years of pre-reqs. I've looked all over this forum but I am a bit confused. Most schools, if I am correct, start accepting applications early summer. Would this mean that I would start applying the summer of 2008? How disadvantageous would it be to do this since I would have only took one year of chem, bio, and calculus? Would it be hard for me to score high on the PCATs?

First of all, I apologize for the delay in responding to this question. I'm one of the volunteer staff here at SDN and I'm in pharmacy school so I think I can help with your question.

There are plenty of people in my class who got into pharmacy school after only two years of college. So they would have been applying and taking the PCAT with the same amount of completed coursework as you have. It can be done but it is not the easiest route. You might consider (since you have had some doubts about your career choice already) completing a bachelor's degree and getting a little life experience behind you before committing time and money to a specific career.

Regardless of what you decide, I wish you luck!
Hello and thank you in advance for taking the time answer. I was wondering what is the best way to go about getting pharmacy experience? Should I call my local pharmacy and ask to volunteer or apply for a pharmacy clerk position? I am interested in clinical pharmacy but I want to have a clear picture of the retail pharmacy setting as well. Any advice given is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Applying to work as a pharmacy technician or clerk is one possibility. Depending on your experience, availability and credentials, there may be a position that is right for you. If you have any friends or families already working in the field, they may be able to assist you.

Volunteering may be an option in some pharmacy settings, although HIPAA privacy laws limit what you can do as a volunteer at some facilities. If you live near a VA hospital, you could try there. My local VA accepts pharmacy students as volunteers. This will vary by location.

Hi. I realize that the last post was over a year ago, but I just found this thread and I was wondering if anyone can suggest some good books to read for a pre-pharmacy student.

I feel pharmacy is a good career path for me because I really like science/research and I want to help people. However I do not have any experiences working in pharmacy. I am currently trying to see if I could get a job or volunteer at a retail store, but I also want to see if there are any good books out there that will give me a detailed, insightful view on pharmacy as a career and/or on pharmaceutics.

Thank you very much for any help/advice you can give me.

A good place to start is the Academy of Student Pharmacists.

SDN has published a Pharmacy Admissions Guide. - the link goes to
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