PharmCAS background check

Discussion in 'Pre-Pharmacy' started by yungnaira, Nov 10, 2012.

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  1. yungnaira

    yungnaira 5+ Year Member

    Jul 2, 2012
    To be quite honest, my record is blemished.

    To sum it up, I've been arrested twice, each time the charges were reduced (dui & resisting arrest).

    I need you guys to be honest. Will this blow my chances for admission or at least an interview. I feel like I can explain myself out of both situations.

    Does anyone have experience with the method pharmcas uses for background checks and will those arrest will show up.

    Thanks in advance. im ****ting bricks here because i submitted my app over a month ago and still havent heard of anything
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  3. kcha90


    Jul 19, 2012
    I think it will not look good, and probably ruin your chances, unless you explain yourself in the supplemental essays and convince them otherwise.
  4. pharmerbird

    pharmerbird 5+ Year Member

    Jun 13, 2011
    I don't think it will look good. But I think it will also depend on a few other things. How long ago were the arrests? Were you able to explain yourself in the PharmCAS area that asks about the arrests? How is the rest of your application looking?
  5. FarmACollegeE


    Nov 4, 2012
    OP, I wouldn't take the quoted comment seriously. Dude's just a buzzkill.

    I would think it would make things more difficult as professional programs want individuals that they think will come in and through their program with relative ease and understanding.

    I would research/contact specific schools themselves as see what the policy is with previous legal offenses. Not much else that can be done.
  6. kcha90


    Jul 19, 2012
    I guess OP will find out. Best of luck but I don't take back my opinion.
  7. vagroaches


    May 5, 2012
    What do you mean by charged reduced, specifically? Were you actually convicted of a crime?
  8. yungnaira

    yungnaira 5+ Year Member

    Jul 2, 2012
    thanks for all the responses.

    I got a BS resisting arrest charge at a concert. When i went to court, they dismissed it with community service. Now I did spend 2 days in jail (friday evening arrest)

    i received a dui in august last year. I went to court and they reduced it to exhibition of speed, which i still believe is a misdemeanor.

    yea i know i ****ed up but ****, im human.

    Now my question how would I go about asking the schools what their policies regarding information found on the background check, without looking gulity as ****.

    Also I already submitted my application, NOT MAILED but how would I explain it in the application. What sections? The schools that I'm applying to dont have any supplemental applications.

    Man im just really scared I have an enormous amount riding on getting into pharmacy school. It would be an epic fail. I mean EPIC FAIL, if I dont get in
  9. AlexSC

    AlexSC 2+ Year Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    Pharmcas only asks if you have felonies. If your school doesn't have a supplementary essay or anything, I don't see how you could possibly explain it in your application since you already submitted it. It would have been weird to mention it in the personal statement anyways. I think you only have two options.

    Option 1: Don't say anything at all and let the schools find out for themselves. Whatever you were convicted of WILL show up on your background check.The schools will then have to decide if what you did is horrible enough to flat out reject you. If they don't think what you did is TOO bad they may invite you for an interview and ask you to explain yourself.

    Option 2: Just email the school, tell them you have 2 misdemeanor charges. Ask how this will affect your chances of admission. They may ask what you were charged with, just tell them. There's really no way of doing this without causing a red flag to be placed against your name though. It may make you feel better to just have everything out in the open though so you won't have to worry the next few weeks/months.

    I wouldn't stress out over your charges if I were you. They're on your record and there's nothing you can do about it. Hopefully you have a stellar application overall and the schools may be willing to overlook your past charges.
  10. vagroaches


    May 5, 2012
    My advice for you is to be 100% honest, but don't mention it unless they ask you. I have blemishes on my record as well and whenever it was relevant for me to mention it, I explained each situation transparently - be sure to make note of the fact that your charges were dropped/reduced, and treat each situation as a learning lesson. I've already gotten an interview offer from a top 10 school. Don't let your arrest record stress you out... it's far more important to focus on aspects of yourself that schools would be more interested in.
  11. SlithyTove

    SlithyTove 2+ Year Member

    Oct 12, 2012
    Are pharmacy schools extra-cautious with considering students who may seem to have issues related to what appears to be a substance abuse problem?
  12. Pojman

    Pojman Level 99 Alchemist

    Mar 16, 2011
    Lets be honest - YES!

    Not just the pharmacy school, but I would consider the state board of pharmacy more of an obstacle. It is never wise to put a bull in a china shop right?

    It is not the end of the world, but yes it is a problem. If an applicant has a substance abuse problem and it has never been made public through an arrest record it is less of an issue because it can be overlooked. But, if there is an arrest record due to drug abuse issues then it is right in their face. It is like employing an alcoholic as a bar tender. It is a high risk situation.
  13. FlavyFlav

    FlavyFlav 7+ Year Member

    Apr 17, 2008
    The important thing here is what would show up on a background check. If all that pulls up is exhibition of speed and resisting arrest (misdemeanor?) then you may have a tough road, but it's not insurmountable. If you had that resisting arrest charge completely dropped then you'd have no problems, but it looks like they may have stuck it to your record, sucks. Exhibition of speed is a moving violation and you were very lucky to be let off with that, schools wouldn't care about that at all.

    Good luck, if you do manage an interview and they don't ask about it, I wouldn't say anything about the DUI, you may have to talk about the other charge depending on what was put in your record.
  14. riggylou


    Sep 17, 2012
    Southern CA
    Exactly--some states have different rules than others..I don't know how you would go about looking that up...and it sucks to be pigeon-holed on your school and work choices. But, I heard from admissions at one school that they actually had to let a few admitted students go because their records were such that they could not even get their intern license.
  15. JCzap


    Oct 5, 2012
    You can go through PharmCAS and order yourself a background check through Certiphi. I'm not sure how much it will cost, but then you know exactly what will show up when schools see it. Also, different schools ask different questions with their supplementals and interviews. When I did mu background check (after acceptance), it was $15. I have a summary offense charge of disorderly conduct on my record (didn't show up on my background check but whenever the question "have you ever been convicted of a crime" shows up, I always put it down b/c the one time I didn't, it came back to bite me in the butt).
  16. DestinyPharmD

    DestinyPharmD 2+ Year Member

    Nov 15, 2012
    You cannot explain misdemeanors on PharmCas, there is only a place to explain felonies on PharmCas. You have to explain it in your supplemental to each school (whether they ask about it or not in the supplemental). You can explain it in your personal essay on Pharmcas if you wish though, but there is not designated place for it on PharmCas.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012
  17. DestinyPharmD

    DestinyPharmD 2+ Year Member

    Nov 15, 2012
    Listen do not worry or listen to anyone that has not experienced what you have concerning things like this as they are only guessing. I have had one arrest in my life and it was a misdemeanor 1st offense DUI, but nothing else. The DUI will not hurt you with most schools (public or private) as long as you explain it well within your supplemental applications (whether it asks about arrests and convictions or not on the supplemental). The resisting arrest will hurt you more than one DUI will, but do not get another one while applying and waiting on interviews because that may crush your chances with most schools. Do not get one while you are in a pharmacy program either or you probably will be dismissed from the school. You better explain the resisting arrest very well. One DUI is normal these days.

    So far, I have applied to six schools, 1 of which, called me in for an interview this past Friday and called me Monday morning and accepted me into their program. I have heard from 4 of the other schools (and they also do not care about the one DUI and are only waiting until I take after I take my PCAT to interview me). They have told me this in email and by phone because I was worried about it and asked them, and they said not to think twice about it. I could apply to schools all over the nation and there will be one here or there that may turn me down solely because of a DUI, but most schools will not put to much stock into it IF you are upfront about it. ( I attached a written document with all my supplemental applications explaining how my DUI turned my life into a positive). Also, I mentioned it within my personal essay on PharmCas about how it turned my life into a positive. I did not hide it, I used it to my advantage.

    As long as almost everything else is good, you have nothing to worry about. The things that really matter to most pharmacy schools besides being upfront and honest with them are overall GPA, your interview day itself ( how are you dressed, do you have questions, can you answer questions under a little pressure, and how do you handle yourself with faculty, staff and other students, and etc., and mostly did you make them like you? Sell yourself at the interview and let your stats sell you as well), your organic chemistry grades ( but this is not as important as the overall GPA is itself), and how much pharmacy practical experience do you have as a paid or volunteering tech and shadowing pharmacists? Those are the key factors. Your PCAT score itself is not everything and matters less to some schools than others. Some schools are all about the PCAT score, while most realize this is how you did on one day, and that your overall GPA is what really matters.

    I hope I didn't forget anything that will help you. Do not worry about the DUI itself. Find a way to use it to your advantage and turn it into a positive. Think about how it changed your life or changed you. Think about where you would be today if you did not receive the DUI. Think about where you want to be tomorrow and go for what you want. I have experience with the DUI and I have been accepted into a professional 3 year pharmacy school program, and like I said 4 other schools that I applied to have contacted me in a very positive manner and are only waiting on me to take the PCAT test. Most schools like to see at least a 50 on the PCAT, but people get in all the time at different schools making far less IF everything else stands out.

    I am sure that schools (even if they do not mention it to you), also look at your other community involvement/volunteering other than pharmacy, and the honors clubs and other clubs and organizations your are involved with, and the leadership qualities you may possess if you are on any leadership boards.

    I can tell you by experience, do not worry about the DUI itself. I am not sure about the resisting arrest. Find someone with experience that has had an resisting arrest that has gotten into a professional school somewhere and ask them about the experience. Explain away on both of these items, especially the latter. I wish this was all in one event instead of two, but do not worry, and instead put the time into explaining how these event(s) has changed you. That will make all the difference in the world.

    Also, you have been waiting a month?? I finished PharmCas in the middle of August 2012 and applied with supplemental applications to six different schools in the third week of August, and I did not start hearing anything from any schools until around October (unless they need something else from you to complete your file, such as a PCAT or another reference, etc).

    I did not hear get my first interview until November. The interview season for most schools do not even start until around November.

    Thank you
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012
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  18. Pojman

    Pojman Level 99 Alchemist

    Mar 16, 2011
    You are living in la la land if you actually believe this. In fact, I think that you think the resisting arrest is worse than a DUI only because this way of thinking serves your own interest.

    Sorry for being a bit aggressive, but seriously - a DUI is a huge issue on an application to pharmacy school, and an even larger issue when it comes to your application with the state board of pharmacy.

    Our society has almost completely lost it's tolerance for DUI, and rightfully so. In fact, I just don't believe your story in the way it is written.
  19. kcha90


    Jul 19, 2012
    Yep. Assuming the offenses listed on the record are DUI and resisting arrest.
  20. type b pharmD

    type b pharmD 7+ Year Member

    Feb 24, 2009
    1. Arrests are not convictions, and often are not included in background reports.

    2. You have NOT been convicted of any crimes except "exhibition of speed" , which to the layperson sounds basically like you got a little too involved with the adrenaline and driving.

    3. No DUI conviction on your record.. no resisting arrest conviction on your record.

    4. PharmCAS doesnt even care about misdemeanors.. so you didnt do anything wrong on there .

    When it comes to supplementary/secondary apps, and school interviews.. be honest up front, dont talk about hte DUI or resisting arrest since those charges never stuck .. do mention the reckless driving thing and explain how you got past it .

    You'll be fine.

    OP is a far cry from being a druggie , alcohol abuser, or serious criminal history. Nothing on the record shows anything like this at all , and the record is all that matters.

    Just my 2 cents.
  21. xtsukiyox

    xtsukiyox Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    May 19, 2009
    The biggest issues you need to answer are:
    1) Will this have anything to do with you getting your license from the BOP? (I'm guessing not.)
    2) Does this record show you are irresponsible, reckless, dangerous, etc.? (Honestly, I don't think so.)

    You should ask for a copy of your background check, so you know what's on it before you go to interviews.

    If given the choice between two applicants with identical stats but one has your record, they may choose the other applicant. But if you have a solid application, a moving violation and an isolated misdemeanor non-violent crime would not be a big issue itself if I were an adcom. (Keeping in mind that I have no special insight besides having been through the PharmCAS application process - I am not on an adcom.) I might apply to a couple more schools than I would have otherwise, just to make sure I get in, but that's just probably paranoia. ;)

    Make sure you can respond to questions about your record coolly, collectedly, and in a way that makes you look like a responsible professional. Don't write it off, but don't put too much weight on it either. What did you learn? How can you redirect it to a positive?

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