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Pros and Cons of Paths to Pharm School?

Discussion in 'Pre-Pharmacy' started by noonealone, Jul 27, 2006.

  1. noonealone

    noonealone ithinkmyspacebarisbroken!

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    Hello, I am relatively new to the Pharmacy game. After realizing being an MD wasn't for me, I decided to look in Pharmacy and I have a few questions. This may be lightly touched upon in other threads, but there hasn't been a centralized thread (at least not in the 8 pages of the pre-Pharm forum I've read through).

    So what I've gathered from this forum is that there are basically 3 paths that are sensible to do to get a PharmD:

    1. High School directly to 6 years Pharm School (0+6 years)
    PROS:
    -You get to start making money earlier (at least 2 years) which equals to about $200k head start
    -Less tuition costs (since you're staying for 6 years rather than the 8 or more)
    -You get to keep your youth while you have it,albeit 2 years, rather than feel like an old man :(
    -No worrying about PCATS/traveling for interviews and the whole applying headache
    -Less application process costs
    CONS:
    -May want to change career after finding out Pharm isn't for you
    -No undergrad time to have fun/party enjoy your life
    -No B.S. degree or higher incase you need to fall back on in the future
    -May be unprepared physically/mentally for Pharm School

    2. Highschool--> Undergrad College for 2 years-->4 years Pharm School (2+4)
    PROS:
    -Enjoy college life while you can
    -Less tuition costs since you're staying for 6 years instead of 8
    -make money earlier
    -Youth
    -Some time to decide if Pharm is good for you
    -Relatively developed mentally/physically for Pharm School
    CONS:
    -No B.S. degree or higher to fall back on
    -Application headache and PSCAT/Pharmcas headaches
    -May be taking harder courses to get GPA to get in Pharm School, other than high school courses
    -No B.S. degree to help get in Pharm School

    3. Highschool-->Undergrad for 4 years(get B.S. degree)-->Pharm School 4 years (4+4)

    PROS:
    -Get B.S. degree to fall back on incase Pharm doesn't work out
    -only 2 years difference between this and alternatives (a lot to some people)
    -B.S. degree looks better on an application to Pharm School
    -Mentally/Physically matured to handle stress/school/work (I hope)
    CONS:
    -Wasted 2 years of your prime
    -Same Application headaches and PSCAT/Pharmcas headaches as a 6 year program
    -Losing 2 years of work worth about $200k
    -Bigger debt: 8 years of schooling instead of 6

    Conclusion: I think if you know for sure that you want to be a pharm, and think you can handle Pharm School, you should try to go for the (0+6) plan. No hassle in worrying about getting in Pharm School in the future. If your credentials (GPA, EC,) are good enough, why not take the sure thing instead of taking your chances in undergrad where you will take harder classes and be set up to lose with the responsibility in having a job.

    If that is not possible, I would go with the (2+4) and if you still can't get in, improve your application by doing more EC and getting a B.S. (4+4 years) as a backup plan.

    Agree/disagree with my conclusion? Any Pros/Cons I forgot? Any mistakes I make in facts? I am relatively new to the Pharm process and would like some feedback. Thanks.
     
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  3. sdn1977

    sdn1977 Senior Member
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    Sorry - I didn't read all the detail.....but...did you factor in - do you really want to be a pharmacist? Why do you want to be a pharmacist? Is this really just because you can't or don't want to make the effort to get into medical school? If so...you'll be disappointed not matter which route you take.

    But...whatever....choose on the pros & cons.....just realize - its a long life ahead! There are lots of other options available which might fit you better!
     
  4. Mangosteen

    Mangosteen Member
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    I agree with sdn1977 that's why I think the 4+4 plan is the best route. Granted it's the longest but 2 extra years of your life is better than a lifetime of regret. Also, if after you obtained your pharmD and you decided it's still not for you, you would have to spend even MORE time and MORE money to pursue a different career. Plus, as the OP mentioned, it'll give you some time to explore your options, evaluate the field, discover yourself, and obtain a B.S or B.A as a backup (just in case you commit a crime and lose your pharmD license later).
     
  5. tdkneo

    tdkneo The Future Dr.Nguyen
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    4 years of undergraduate then pharmacy school is the best route because you are more prepared for the brutal courseworks of pharmacy schools, plus you have something to work from just in case pharmacy doesnt work out..........
     
  6. noonealone

    noonealone ithinkmyspacebarisbroken!

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    It seems to me its a lot easier to get into Pharm School straight from high school and a lot less hassle. Everything is easier in high school (no job, easier material/tests, more time to study/sleep, and you might as well make use of your high grades if you have them. I'm thinking of going this route after doing some volunteering at a hospital to check it out. Anybody here go this route? What did you think of it? Were you prepared?
     
  7. TennisBoy78

    TennisBoy78 Senior Member
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    He's in high school people. Give him a break.

    I have to commend your insight and openness in looking into pharmacy. I am older than many pre-pharmacy students here, and I have a bachelors in an unrelated field from years ago. I can only wish I was in your shoes right now!

    Pharmacy, like many other allied health professions, requires essentially the same types of pre-reqs during your first two years in college. If you are sure that you want to enter some medical field (but not sure which one), try not to be too concerned right now. It would be to your benefit to volunteer or shadow different professions, not only pharmacists, but other professions like dentists, doctors, physical therapists, etc.

    There are many different venues that pharmacists can work in. Of course there is retail, but there is also clinics and hospitals. Although there are exceptions, the nice part about pharmacy is that the start up costs are slim to none (I'm not talking about tuition). Dentists, doctors, and optometrists, just to name a few, have to either open up their own practice and invest in equipment, office space, and salaries/wages for their assistants. Doctors can work for hospitals obviously, but most are specialists which entails much more schooling. Sure, general practitioners can buy into a partnership with other doctors, but their compensation is not as great.

    Pharmacists, on the other hand, do not incur these start up costs unless one chooses to open up his or her own pharmacy. Also, for the most part, pharmacists are not on call like doctors are, and do not have as many risks in business ventures as doctors.

    What's the downside? Pharmacists do not make as much money as doctors. So its up to you. I feel that although going to med school is so enriching, I want to have more of a life when I get out of school. If you make six or seven figures but have few or no opportunities to enjoy your life, why live? Doctors may live in more expensive houses, drive much nicer cars, and take more expensive vacations, but the daily stresses would not be worth it to me.
     
  8. noonealone

    noonealone ithinkmyspacebarisbroken!

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    I agree with what you said about med school, which is why I decided against going there. Thats why pharmacy seems like the perfect job. To me, money isn't the most important thing to me. I prefer to have more of a life to live, less time in school, as well as a decent amount of cash second. I was just wondering if you were in my place (meaning in high school), what route would you take? And that question is to anyone and everyone.
     
  9. PolarBear21

    PolarBear21 Senior Member
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    Well.. if you're sure pharmacy is for you, I would go with option 1. I sort of regret not doing that, but when I think about it.. there was no way in heck I would have known in high school what I want to do for the rest of my life..
     
  10. ADN1226

    ADN1226 Class of 2012!
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    Just like PolarBear I would've opted for going straight from hs and easily gotten in... but I didn't think i'd like pharmacy back then... now I have to go through the headache of the application process... i'm currently doing the 4+4 thing, getting my bachelor's in molecular bio & biochem. Although I'm glad I choose to get a bachelor's though since I could always fall back on the research... as well as use that research experience for pharmacy.
     

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