Dismiss Notice

Interview Feedback: Visit Interview Feedback to view and submit interview information.

Interviewing Masterclass: Free masterclass on interviewing from SDN and Medical College of Georgia

Questions about pharmacy school & Life advice

Discussion in 'Pre-Pharmacy' started by UhtredsonofUHTRED, Nov 26, 2018.

  1. UhtredsonofUHTRED

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2018
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    So I'm currently a sophomore in my undergrad at the moment and I've been interested in pharmacy school for a little while now and currently have a shadowing opportunity arranged. This brings to mind, what is the relative importance of shadowing as well as volunteering for pharmacy school applications? Further, how do schools weigh one's experiences vs. scores and GPA? I am sure this likely varies on the school, however, I was curious if anyone could provide some general advice.
    (I intend on shadowing a lot to see if this profession is fit for me, I've been aware of the drama surrounding oversaturation and the ominous rhetoric on these forums).

    Also, aside from a competitive science GPA, PCAT score, as well as shadowing and volunteering experience, what are some other things that are important for one's applications?

    Additionally, what might "volunteer" experiences consist of? To my knowledge, and according to those I've asked so far, this is fairly general and can range from volunteering at a hospital or having invested time in some sort of extracurricular club.

    And If you are especially gracious, would anyone here offer general advice to me, an anxious and existentially confused undergrad?
    As far as I know here are some reasons I'm interested in pharmacy (as well as some general personality characteristics):
    I like the idea of helping others, but I am not into physical contact
    Helping others is an inherently productive, meaningful endeavor.
    Money Look, I'll be honest, I think the salary of a pharmacist is a nice bonus. We live in a real world with real issues, pure passion won't feed me or any future children.
    I would be more interested in being an independent pharmacist or working for an independent pharmacy. I wouldn't mind making less, I'd rather be a valuable asset to someone's community in BFE.
    I am a fiercely independent person. I don't want to work for others my whole life. My grandfather ran his own veterinary practice, my father runs his own dental practice, so it would appear it runs in the family.
    I like chemistry, biology, and anatomy.

    I'm currently a microbiology major (I may switch to chemistry). If pharmacy is meh, I'll probably work in food safety or something. Or water treatment, someone's gotta get the lead out of the water, right?
     
  2. princeafrica

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2017
    Messages:
    464
    Likes Received:
    511
    Status:
    Pre-Dental
    You will get a more valuable experience if you get a job as a tech. Get a job as a tech at Walgreens or CVS or even hospital (may be a bit harder). I shadowed and loved it. I worked and hated it.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I have heard independent pharmacist make less than 105k? Idk if that's worth it considering the debt you will accumulate
     
  3. Timbo

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2010
    Messages:
    173
    Likes Received:
    64
    Status:
    Pharmacist
    Definitely work instead of shadowing. You can work as a tech without any prior training - take advantage of that. As far as application I’m not sure what schools value anymore. I’ve been hearing about students being accepted with no prior pharmacy experience as well as students with low 3.0 GPAs. This may be good for you but alarming for the profession IMO. I’d recommend work experience over getting a good GPA though so you can really see if this is what you want to do.

    A few issues with things you said:
    • “I like the idea of heping others, but I am not into physical contact” I think this is why pharmacists are in highest danger of being replaced by technology. Our main purpose is being the “drug experts” or being a human “drug encyclopedia” but nowadays anybody can look up what we should know off the top of our heads online. Hospital EHRs are getting better and better at clinical decision support too, reducing the need for pharmacist consults. Meanwhile MDs, PAs, nurses, optometrists, dentists, etc all have diagnosis or procedural skills that aren’t as easily replaceable by a computer. I wish I had thought about this before choosing pharmacy.
    • “Money”. Pharmacy school is probably one of the worst financial investments right now. You said you already know about the “ominous rhetoric”. FYI it’s not omnious anymore, it’s already happening: https://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/summary-of-community-pharmacist-layoff-pay-cuts-other-negatives-oct-2018.1351946/. You said you already know about the oversaturation, so tell me what happens when supply of pharmacists far outweights demand? Not just unemployment, but also decreased wages. You probably already googled pharmacist average salary which is currently $110-120k. Obviously it isn’t going to stay that way. If it drops to $80-90k per year (which I fully expect) while tuition puts you $200k+ in debt, then you would be making less than the average salary for a master’s degree graduate (which is ~$75k/year) if you account for your loan payments. In some cases, less than the median household income too.
    • You said you liked being independent. I’m assuming corporate retail pharmacy is out of the question. Independent pharmacies are really struggling right now due to decreased reimbursement by PBMs. Just a few weeks ago, I had two transfers from two different independents who were bought out by CVS. This week I’m heading out to help with a store with overflow because my company just bought out prescription files from this other pharmacy that just closed. If you do end up in an independent then good luck. You’d be fighting the good fight. (FYI independents pharmacist wages are like ~$10/hr lower than corporate with less benefits)
     
  4. DOOM N GLOOM

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2018
    Messages:
    195
    Likes Received:
    189
    If you’ve been following this forum then you must already know that to be competitive for pharmacy school all you need is a pulse and eligibility to take out $200k+ in student loans. Listen, there is some dark humor to this often iterated statement but pharmacy schools are really struggling to fill seats so they have been lowering the admissions standards year after year... the deadline for many schools to apply for their program is now June 1. That’s 3 MONTHS prior to the fall semester starting. 3 MONTHS!!! You could literally call up a pharmacy school the week before they start classes and still figure to have a chance of getting accepted into their program. If that doesn’t scare you enough about what kinds of kids are getting into pharmacy schools nowadays then I don’t know what would. I would avoid pharmacy altogether if I were you.
     
  5. UhtredsonofUHTRED

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2018
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    I will also take this time to respond to the others posts, I appreciate the responses so far. First, I would like to mention that I do not believe I will accumulate 200k in debt, but it is certainly possible and I will not discount that as a possibility. Also, it certainly does surprise me that these schools would admit applicants who have little to no experience in pharmacy. It also baffles me that people would commit to over 100k in loans when they have limited experience in a profession, that is just pure, raw stupidity.

    I would like to elaborate as to how I would resolve the issue of student debt should I choose to attend pharmacy school. However, I will state that this speculation is not an indication of a commitment to pharmacy school, this is just an exercise and I would appreciate further feedback.

    First, I am a student in Florida. I would prefer to attend an in-state school, preferably a public one. This leaves me with the following options:
    FAMU
    UF
    USF
    LECOM (This is private but its tuition rates are better than PBAU, NOVA, and the diploma mill, Larkin)

    The tuition at USF, my ideal choice b/c I am an undergrad there, is listed at approximately 20k a year, excluding living expenses, supplies, etc. Thus, 80k for four years is to be expected.

    The yearly cost of living at USF, Tampa is approx 7k-8k. Assuming I live there for 4 years, that will be around 30-40k costs as an upper estimate.

    Thus far, I've accumulated 120k in debt. Now, let's assume I accumulate 30k in extraneous fees. This includes food, transportation, and other supplies over 4 years (which in my opinion, is probably an overestimate).

    Now I am in 150k in debt as an upper-estimate. The real cost probably lay between 130-150k. Again, this is pure speculation at current 2018-2019 rates. I'll be graduating in 2021 and fees may vary.

    Now, I am unsure if I would be eligible for financial aid at this point. Do professional schools offer scholarships to their students? I have a 4.0 GPA at the moment, which is obviously go down once I get into classes like Biochem. But I think I could graduate with a reasonably competitive GPA. Do schools offer scholarships based on GPA and PCAT scores, I don't know. I would hope to capitalize on these if so. Moreover, I would like to state that both are my parents are very well off financially. This means that I could take out loans from my parents, who have said they would be open to help me out. I am not saying these things to humble brag and I apologize if I come off as pretentious, just trying to inform the people here who know more than I do.




    Assuming I don't do pharmacy, which is a possibility, I should try out working as a pharm tech first before I make a decision. Listening to people on an online forum and steering clear of pharmacy entirely is kinda silly but somewhat understandable really.

    Also, MED school is out of the question. I have no desire to be an MD, ever, period.
    Dental school is out of the question. Both of my parents practiced for 30 years, I will not be a dentist.
    D.O? How about N.O
    Physical therapy, maybe.
    Optometry I've been told I should check out

    Are there other healthcare occupations besides these? I really don't know what the **** to do with my life haha. Perhaps I'm not cut out for it :/// // // / / back to the nightly existential anxiety I suppose I'll shadow and possibly work a bit before I think about anything further so I don't stress myself out too much.
     
    #5 UhtredsonofUHTRED, Nov 27, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
  6. BC_89

    Moderator Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2014
    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    413
    Status:
    Pharmacy Student
    If your certain a healthcare profession is what you want, I’d take prerequisites that cover a majority (if not all) courses required for MD/DO, RRT, PharmD, PA, PT, etc etc. You still have awhile to think of what you really want.

    Word of advice for your journey: Annual Salary of a profession does not equate to Take Home Salary. The extreme of these definitions grow when six figure debt is involved.
     
  7. UhtredsonofUHTRED

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2018
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    yeah. I've done a lot of pre-reqs so far, just not the hard ones like biochem, cell bio, genetics, and microbiology. i've done everthing else so far. Ffs, this is all so stressful. How do these people already know what they want to do. I get so much stress, insomnia, and bull**** over this ****. Like, really? I get done with my education at like 26, pay off debts till 30. Maybe have kids, they're out when Im 50. Prepare for retirement, then I ****ing die. Just give me my PhD in whining already.
     
  8. Melazine

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2016
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    51
    Status:
    Pharmacist
    ... It’s becoming more obvious to me that most people asking for advice are not looking for advice but comformation. Those who are open minded for advices would have searched the forum and know that the pharmacy field should be avoided. All valid reasons are already posted. Good luck if you do decide to be a pharmacist. If you are having anxieties, Church help me get through my worries - basically having a support group and focusing your mind on something bigger than yourself.
     

Share This Page