KJBpharmacy

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Hello,

I am just looking for some advice on improving my residency match chances next year. I am finishing up my P2 year and just found out that I will not be continuing on in my role as treasurer of ASHP. While this seems small, and I likely don't need to worry, it feels like a blow to my application.

My quick background is this:
Before pharmacy school:
~4 years as a pharmacy technician with Wal-Mart, BS in Chemistry from a University with a very highly ranked chemistry program, and a minor in biology and pharmacology.

P1:
Moved states for pharmacy school and took awhile to get settled. Began working as a CVS intern during August before the semester started. Maintained a 3.8 GPA during the school year. No club involvement or meaningful volunteer experience. Worked about 30 hours a week throughout the year. My retail IPPE experience went great, preceptor was willing to write me a recommendation for a job and continues to be willing to be a glowing recommendation.

P2:
Again no meaningful research or volunteer experience (had a great service opportunity lined up but Covid canceled). Had a ASHP treasurer position that I did for 1 year.

(This part is pretty long and sounds like I am tooting my own horn but I believe it shows how my P4 rotations will go based on my real world abilities) Institutional IPPE in the summer at a larger hospital system in a more rural area. The 3 weeks went great, I was with two students a year ahead of me in another pharmacy school and told to keep up and I did. The preceptor again was willing to be a phone contact on my CV, which she claimed that she had never offered an IPPE student in the past, and told me that she would request the school place me in all 3 APPE experiences they have if I wanted during P4. They do not currently have a residency program but are working on creating one, if they did I would feel pretty secure in getting a position there.

I changed over to a full time pharmacy position in July, and eventually ended up being our weeknight overnight person (mon-thursday nights 9-7) for the rest of my P2 year. I also had to pick up for the weekend person often and worked 29 out of 31 overnight shifts in October. Total average hours per week during the academic year ~43 hours per week. This is my main plus, as I maintained a 4.00 during the fall semester and should get a ~3.8 this semester without taking any pass/fail as our school allows us to now. My main plan is to highlight my ability to work full time and handle school, and use it as an explanation for my lack of other involvement. I will be continuing on as part time as they finally found someone to replace me at work, and will have about 20-30 hours a week next school year unless our night person leaves again. My pharmacy manager and pharmacy director would both provide me with very good letters of recommendation without a doubt. Got into Rho Chi at the end of the year.

I have really nothing other than work lined up for next year, and want to ensure that I make myself the best candidate possible with the consideration of just being a member of Rho Chi and ASHP and no leadership in either. I hope at least 1 person got through all of this and any advice would be greatly appreciated!
 

pkpd_modeler

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these questions have been asked over and over to death, can't you just search?
 
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KJBpharmacy

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Yes I can search. My post is clearly asking about my unique situation and how to best utilize my last didactic year of pharmacy school. Two of the three posts you linked are people turned down from residency and the other post is from someone who has almost nothing in common with me and my situation. So to rebuttal your question are you able to read past a title?
 
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pkpd_modeler

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Yes I can search. My post is clearly asking about my unique situation and how to best utilize my last didactic year of pharmacy school. Two of the three posts you linked are people turned down from residency and the other post is from someone who has almost nothing in common with me and my situation. So to rebuttal your question are you able to read past a title?
your exp is not unique and so generic tbh, fitting the typical profile of ones failing to get matched anywhere. so why bother asking?
 

KJBpharmacy

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your exp is not unique and so generic tbh, fitting the typical profile of ones failing to get matched anywhere. so why bother asking?
Thank you for proving my point. Currently my background is insufficient to get a residency. So thus I decided to come on here and ask what I should do in the next year to improve it properly to give myself the best chance. I didn’t post saying, I think I’m great and do you think I can get one, I said I want to know where to focus myself. Again, can you read?
 
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pkpd_modeler

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Thank you for proving my point. Currently my background is insufficient to get a residency. So thus I decided to come on here and ask what I should do in the next year to improve it properly to give myself the best chance. I didn’t post saying, I think I’m great and do you think I can get one, I said I want to know where to focus myself. Again, can you read?
why don't you go and read the three posts above, and ask OPs what kind of improvement they would need to get matched somewhere? again, can you read?
 

KJBpharmacy

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why don't you go and read the three posts above, and ask OPs what kind of improvement they would need to get matched somewhere? again, can you read?
Have any of them ever sat on a residency decision panel or seen the algorithm that a hospital uses? The entire point of posts asking for constructive feedback is to get the people who are making these decisions opinions, not only three people who clearly do not know exactly what it takes to get into a residency given that they were unable to. Clearly you have no desire to give constructive feedback regarding my situation, why take the time out of your life to continue commenting here?
 
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why don't you go and read the three posts above, and ask OPs what kind of improvement they would need to get matched somewhere? again, can you read?
Jesus. You’re either too embarrassed to post this stuff on your actual account and so made an alt just to post useless snark or got banned and needed to make a new account just to post. Either way that’s a lot of effort just to be malignant and put down someone asking for genuine advice.
 
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Pharmacy is a Scam

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Hello,

I am just looking for some advice on improving my residency match chances next year. I am finishing up my P2 year and just found out that I will not be continuing on in my role as treasurer of ASHP. While this seems small, and I likely don't need to worry, it feels like a blow to my application.

My quick background is this:
Before pharmacy school:
~4 years as a pharmacy technician with Wal-Mart, BS in Chemistry from a University with a very highly ranked chemistry program, and a minor in biology and pharmacology.

P1:
Moved states for pharmacy school and took awhile to get settled. Began working as a CVS intern during August before the semester started. Maintained a 3.8 GPA during the school year. No club involvement or meaningful volunteer experience. Worked about 30 hours a week throughout the year. My retail IPPE experience went great, preceptor was willing to write me a recommendation for a job and continues to be willing to be a glowing recommendation.

P2:
Again no meaningful research or volunteer experience (had a great service opportunity lined up but Covid canceled). Had a ASHP treasurer position that I did for 1 year.

(This part is pretty long and sounds like I am tooting my own horn but I believe it shows how my P4 rotations will go based on my real world abilities) Institutional IPPE in the summer at a larger hospital system in a more rural area. The 3 weeks went great, I was with two students a year ahead of me in another pharmacy school and told to keep up and I did. The preceptor again was willing to be a phone contact on my CV, which she claimed that she had never offered an IPPE student in the past, and told me that she would request the school place me in all 3 APPE experiences they have if I wanted during P4. They do not currently have a residency program but are working on creating one, if they did I would feel pretty secure in getting a position there.

I changed over to a full time pharmacy position in July, and eventually ended up being our weeknight overnight person (mon-thursday nights 9-7) for the rest of my P2 year. I also had to pick up for the weekend person often and worked 29 out of 31 overnight shifts in October. Total average hours per week during the academic year ~43 hours per week. This is my main plus, as I maintained a 4.00 during the fall semester and should get a ~3.8 this semester without taking any pass/fail as our school allows us to now. My main plan is to highlight my ability to work full time and handle school, and use it as an explanation for my lack of other involvement. I will be continuing on as part time as they finally found someone to replace me at work, and will have about 20-30 hours a week next school year unless our night person leaves again. My pharmacy manager and pharmacy director would both provide me with very good letters of recommendation without a doubt. Got into Rho Chi at the end of the year.

I have really nothing other than work lined up for next year, and want to ensure that I make myself the best candidate possible with the consideration of just being a member of Rho Chi and ASHP and no leadership in either. I hope at least 1 person got through all of this and any advice would be greatly appreciated!
I'll be realistic here, your "chances" of residency look pretty crappy because pharmacy is not a merit-based profession so if grades and "work experience" is all you got then you're in deep trouble. Here are my suggestions:

1) Cut back on hours worked per week immediately. No student who is going for residency needs to work over 16 hours a week. I myself worked 0-8 hours a week just so I can put down on my resume that I worked, and spend the rest of my time checking off other boxes. If you were trying to get a job directly after graduation, however, this is a different story. You want to work as many hours humanly possible and kiss up to have a chance of getting hired right after (pretty much impossible for hospital positions now, but still happens in retail).

2. Figure out what is the end goal and prioritize your time accordingly. I've met (and still meet) too many students whose end goal is "residency" but have no idea what they want to do after residency. While you can think of residency as the culmination of 4 years of work, your career really only starts after residency so figure out what you really want to do after residency and spend your time accordingly to meet that end goal. Think of it as writing an essay- you have thesis and all the paragraphs should be supporting that thesis. So you shouldn't waste your time on things like "being the ASHP treasurer" because it is completely irrelevant to your future job search.

3. Spend all your time networking - again, pharmacy is not a merit-based profession and that applies to jobs, residencies, internships, and every other type of position out there. Figure out early which programs you want to apply to and prioritize APPEs, work, volunteer etc. to those programs/geographies accordingly. You don't "make an impression" to anyone based on your CV - you make an impression based on face-to-face interaction and how you carry yourself. So do things to get yourself in front of professionals and away from students.

4. Cut back from studying. What I'm not saying is don't learn the material in your important classes (therapeutics, etc). What I AM saying is that there's not going to be a difference if you get a 3.8 or 4.0 GPA so it's not worth sacrificing other opportunity costs to "get better grades." Again, this isn't a merit-based profession so your grades won't be weighted 90% on a residency application (unlike medicine, where your GPA and test scores pretty much dictate what specialties you'd qualify for).
 
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pkpd_modeler

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Have any of them ever sat on a residency decision panel or seen the algorithm that a hospital uses? The entire point of posts asking for constructive feedback is to get the people who are making these decisions opinions, not only three people who clearly do not know exactly what it takes to get into a residency given that they were unable to. Clearly you have no desire to give constructive feedback regarding my situation, why take the time out of your life to continue commenting here?
if you want to ask someone on a residency decision panel, go and shoot them an email and ask. why waste your time here when you clearly have someone in mind to ask your questions? the universal constructive feedback on SDN pharmacy is that pharmacy is a dead-end career, and you can probably tell this by yourself, why bother asking nonconstructive questions?
 
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pkpd_modeler

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Jesus. You’re either too embarrassed to post this stuff on your actual account and so made an alt just to post useless snark or got banned and needed to make a new account just to post. Either way that’s a lot of effort just to be malignant and put down someone asking for genuine advice.
genuine advice? just read prior posts plz, and i already linked them up lol. these types of questions have been asked numerous times over and over again, in one form or the other. the generic template is this: P1-P3 students, with 2-3 years of retail or hospital experience, 3.6+GPA, no research experience, no significant leadership experience, asking how to improve their chances.

but seriously, i bet they know what the residency panel wants: well-rounded applicants with 4.0 GPA, 10+ years of intern exp, 10+ papers published, and president for rho chi for 4 years. OP has mentioned no research exp, then go get some exp. These loaded questions can be easily answered by the posters themselves, so you think this is genuine lol?!
 
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D

deleted562805

Hello,

I am just looking for some advice on improving my residency match chances next year. I am finishing up my P2 year and just found out that I will not be continuing on in my role as treasurer of ASHP. While this seems small, and I likely don't need to worry, it feels like a blow to my application.

My quick background is this:
Before pharmacy school:
~4 years as a pharmacy technician with Wal-Mart, BS in Chemistry from a University with a very highly ranked chemistry program, and a minor in biology and pharmacology.

P1:
Moved states for pharmacy school and took awhile to get settled. Began working as a CVS intern during August before the semester started. Maintained a 3.8 GPA during the school year. No club involvement or meaningful volunteer experience. Worked about 30 hours a week throughout the year. My retail IPPE experience went great, preceptor was willing to write me a recommendation for a job and continues to be willing to be a glowing recommendation.

P2:
Again no meaningful research or volunteer experience (had a great service opportunity lined up but Covid canceled). Had a ASHP treasurer position that I did for 1 year.

(This part is pretty long and sounds like I am tooting my own horn but I believe it shows how my P4 rotations will go based on my real world abilities) Institutional IPPE in the summer at a larger hospital system in a more rural area. The 3 weeks went great, I was with two students a year ahead of me in another pharmacy school and told to keep up and I did. The preceptor again was willing to be a phone contact on my CV, which she claimed that she had never offered an IPPE student in the past, and told me that she would request the school place me in all 3 APPE experiences they have if I wanted during P4. They do not currently have a residency program but are working on creating one, if they did I would feel pretty secure in getting a position there.

I changed over to a full time pharmacy position in July, and eventually ended up being our weeknight overnight person (mon-thursday nights 9-7) for the rest of my P2 year. I also had to pick up for the weekend person often and worked 29 out of 31 overnight shifts in October. Total average hours per week during the academic year ~43 hours per week. This is my main plus, as I maintained a 4.00 during the fall semester and should get a ~3.8 this semester without taking any pass/fail as our school allows us to now. My main plan is to highlight my ability to work full time and handle school, and use it as an explanation for my lack of other involvement. I will be continuing on as part time as they finally found someone to replace me at work, and will have about 20-30 hours a week next school year unless our night person leaves again. My pharmacy manager and pharmacy director would both provide me with very good letters of recommendation without a doubt. Got into Rho Chi at the end of the year.

I have really nothing other than work lined up for next year, and want to ensure that I make myself the best candidate possible with the consideration of just being a member of Rho Chi and ASHP and no leadership in either. I hope at least 1 person got through all of this and any advice would be greatly appreciated!

P3: prior to entering P3 year, try applying for Mayo Clinic, John Hopkins hospital internship. Maintain a 3.8 in the therapeutics classes. Cut back from working a lot. Apply for ambassador or SI leader positions in school. Take Evidenced Based Medicine course. Save clinical research for P4 year.

P4 year: I would do outcomes based research in your P4 year with 1 clinical faculty in a hospital or primary care clinic. I would schedule all your clinical and primary care rotations prior to Mid year. Have your off block in the 7 th or 8 th block for interviews.

Note: based on my experience: Don’t do any basic science research in the pharmacology department, unless you want a Ph.D after Pharm.D. RPDs don’t care about basic science research.
 
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pkpd_modeler

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ExpectationsReality
P1President of 3 clubs, intern in hospital pharmacy, 3.8 GPAGeneral of one club, hospital pharmacy intern, 3.8 GPA
P2Completed summer internship in pharmaceutical industry, still president of 3 clubsOverwhelmed with school, had to quit internship, GPA 2.3, steps foot in retail pharmacy for the first time but hates it
P3Completed 2nd summer internship in pharmaceutical industryWants to do residency, cumulative GPA 2.7
P4Lands residency or fellowshipDoes not land residency or fellowshp]ip
GraduationStarts residency or fellowshipNothing lined up
1 year after graduationFinishes residency or fellowship, lands unicorn job or decides to go onto PGY2Forced to move 500+ miles away from home to the middle of nowhere. Floating for 32 hours each week at chain retailer for $50/hour
2 years after graduationWorking at a unicorn job in super-saturated city of choiceHours cut down to 16 per week, new grads start at $45/hour. Work conditions continue to worsen with no end in sight but you're stuck because you still have $200k student loans to pay off.


this sums it up very well lol.
 

Pharmacy is a Scam

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ExpectationsReality
P1President of 3 clubs, intern in hospital pharmacy, 3.8 GPAGeneral of one club, hospital pharmacy intern, 3.8 GPA
P2Completed summer internship in pharmaceutical industry, still president of 3 clubsOverwhelmed with school, had to quit internship, GPA 2.3, steps foot in retail pharmacy for the first time but hates it
P3Completed 2nd summer internship in pharmaceutical industryWants to do residency, cumulative GPA 2.7
P4Lands residency or fellowshipDoes not land residency or fellowshp]ip
GraduationStarts residency or fellowshipNothing lined up
1 year after graduationFinishes residency or fellowship, lands unicorn job or decides to go onto PGY2Forced to move 500+ miles away from home to the middle of nowhere. Floating for 32 hours each week at chain retailer for $50/hour
2 years after graduationWorking at a unicorn job in super-saturated city of choiceHours cut down to 16 per week, new grads start at $45/hour. Work conditions continue to worsen with no end in sight but you're stuck because you still have $200k student loans to pay off.


this sums it up very well lol.
That's a bit misleading because even if you somehow meet "expectations" during P1-P3 year you can still end up in the "reality" bucket starting P4 year. Getting residency is not simply about "doing all the things" because this isn't a merit-based profession, it is a profession where nepotism, favoritism and cronyism runs rampant.
 
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GoSpursGo

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We've received several reports about this thread, and it appears several posts are rude/unprofessional. At this point it would be difficult to delete or edit each potentially objectionable post without resulting in a very confusing thread, but we are aware and monitoring the thread--going forward, let's please keep the discussion civil and professional.
 
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Seriously Serious

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Jan 15, 2015
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Hello,

I am just looking for some advice on improving my residency match chances next year. I am finishing up my P2 year and just found out that I will not be continuing on in my role as treasurer of ASHP. While this seems small, and I likely don't need to worry, it feels like a blow to my application.

My quick background is this:
Before pharmacy school:
~4 years as a pharmacy technician with Wal-Mart, BS in Chemistry from a University with a very highly ranked chemistry program, and a minor in biology and pharmacology.

P1:
Moved states for pharmacy school and took awhile to get settled. Began working as a CVS intern during August before the semester started. Maintained a 3.8 GPA during the school year. No club involvement or meaningful volunteer experience. Worked about 30 hours a week throughout the year. My retail IPPE experience went great, preceptor was willing to write me a recommendation for a job and continues to be willing to be a glowing recommendation.

P2:
Again no meaningful research or volunteer experience (had a great service opportunity lined up but Covid canceled). Had a ASHP treasurer position that I did for 1 year.

(This part is pretty long and sounds like I am tooting my own horn but I believe it shows how my P4 rotations will go based on my real world abilities) Institutional IPPE in the summer at a larger hospital system in a more rural area. The 3 weeks went great, I was with two students a year ahead of me in another pharmacy school and told to keep up and I did. The preceptor again was willing to be a phone contact on my CV, which she claimed that she had never offered an IPPE student in the past, and told me that she would request the school place me in all 3 APPE experiences they have if I wanted during P4. They do not currently have a residency program but are working on creating one, if they did I would feel pretty secure in getting a position there.

I changed over to a full time pharmacy position in July, and eventually ended up being our weeknight overnight person (mon-thursday nights 9-7) for the rest of my P2 year. I also had to pick up for the weekend person often and worked 29 out of 31 overnight shifts in October. Total average hours per week during the academic year ~43 hours per week. This is my main plus, as I maintained a 4.00 during the fall semester and should get a ~3.8 this semester without taking any pass/fail as our school allows us to now. My main plan is to highlight my ability to work full time and handle school, and use it as an explanation for my lack of other involvement. I will be continuing on as part time as they finally found someone to replace me at work, and will have about 20-30 hours a week next school year unless our night person leaves again. My pharmacy manager and pharmacy director would both provide me with very good letters of recommendation without a doubt. Got into Rho Chi at the end of the year.

I have really nothing other than work lined up for next year, and want to ensure that I make myself the best candidate possible with the consideration of just being a member of Rho Chi and ASHP and no leadership in either. I hope at least 1 person got through all of this and any advice would be greatly appreciated!

I'll throw you a bone since this thread got pretty toxic. I hope this can be referenced for future students who will continue to ask the same question as you. The reality of it is, there is no perfect formula to match. Of course you have your standard checklist (work exp, leadership, GPA, volunteer, research, strong LORs, strong LOI) - but I know students who had all of these and did not match, and I know students who had none of these and match. Let's look at things you can control:
  1. High GPA (check)
  2. Leadership (needs improvement)
  3. Work exp (check)
  4. Research (needs improvement)
  5. Volunteer (not heavily weighted, but needs improvement)
  6. Strong LORs (sounds like you are on track, check)
  7. Strong LOI (check?)
Action plan:
  • Leadership: I am assuming it is too late to run for any kind of office this time of year. Look for committee chair positions next fall and/or ways to speak to your leadership (e.g. lead tech, lead pharmacy intern, student tutor/mentor, run for a national position in an org, start a new org chapter like ACCP/ISPOR/AMCP/etc if your school does not have a student chapter). It is better to whole ass 1 position than half-ass 3. If you can get one leadership position for P3, just make sure you actually show up and make something of it (generate content: workshop presentations, invite speakers, create a poster, create a community initiative to go out and volunteer, etc). This is important for interview purposes. Nobody gives af if you raised $75 at your taco sale.
  • Research: someone here mentioned to start your research right before P4 year... I wholeheartedly disagree. Start now, you should have started P1 year. Meaningful research takes time to carry out and takes additional time to publish in a peer-reviewed journal (should be your goal). Outcomes research is the quickest route to publication, benchtop research (e.g. pharmacology research) takes more man hours, and additional time to carry out to complete and publish (I have done both). At a minimum, find a faculty member to connect with for research your P3 year and/or connect with one of your APPE preceptors to generate some data and publish a poster at ASHP Midyear and/or ACCP.
  • Volunteer: I won't go too much into this as it is not as important as other items on the checklist. This is both quality & quantity (#hours). Pick one volunteer event to do (it can be healthcare related or not) and do that one event consistently for 1-2 years. Nobody gives af if you cleaned streets for 1 hour 2 years ago... however, it will look good if you volunteered at your local food bank consistently every other Sunday for 1-2 years straight (and you had experiences to share during your interview).
Someone mentioned that this whole process is "without merit"... a bit exaggerated, but not entirely untrue. Let's look at some things that will be out of your control and you just have to accept:
  1. Luck plays a big factor (you were prepared for the clinical question during your interview)
  2. Some other candidates may have done a rotation at the site you are interviewing for (kind of in your control, but you cant rotate in every hospital on your wish list)
  3. You and the interviewers had compatible personalities
  4. Someone at your desired programs recognizes one of your letter writers
  5. You were feeling nervous the day of an interview/interview presentation
  6. Etc, you get where I am coming from
TLDR; quality over quantity, be genuine during your interviews, your checklist gets you an interview, your personality gets you the job.
 
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pkpd_modeler

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but I know students who had all of these and did not match, and I know students who had none of these and match.
in essence, OP has a high probability of doing everything "right" and still not matching anywhere, and whatever attempted effort may never help after all lol. they should call it residency lottery from now on.
 

Seriously Serious

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in essence, OP has a high probability of doing everything "right" and still not matching anywhere, and whatever attempted effort may never help after all lol. they should call it residency lottery from now on.

Saying that it is a high probability is a stretch, but it did feel like a lottery when I went through it. I believe we need a standardized test to objectively measure candidates, like the USMLE step 1/2
 
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TheBlaah

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Saying that it is a high probability is a stretch, but it did feel like a lottery when I went through it. I believe we need a standardized test to objectively measure candidates, like the USMLE step 1/2

Yeah. That would be useful I think particularly since residencies admissions is done before NAPLEX. I've seen people admitted to residencies who went on to fail the NAPLEX multiple times.

It's a minimum competency test...there should be some sort of standardization across the board.
 
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BC_89

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Jesus. You’re either too embarrassed to post this stuff on your actual account and so made an alt just to post useless snark or got banned and needed to make a new account just to post. Either way that’s a lot of effort just to be malignant and put down someone asking for genuine advice.

Exactly this. As an insight, the user isn't licensed and of course has no ties to getting a residency.

They've been dealt with (yet again) and my apologize to the OP for an unnecessary toxic thread. As mentioned it would come off as confusing if edits and deletions were implemented. OP I hope you do end up finding what you are looking for. Best of luck.

Carry on.
 
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lord999

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I'll throw you a bone since this thread got pretty toxic. I hope this can be referenced for future students who will continue to ask the same question as you. The reality of it is, there is no perfect formula to match. Of course you have your standard checklist (work exp, leadership, GPA, volunteer, research, strong LORs, strong LOI) - but I know students who had all of these and did not match, and I know students who had none of these and match. Let's look at things you can control:
  1. High GPA (check)
  2. Leadership (needs improvement)
  3. Work exp (check)
  4. Research (needs improvement)
  5. Volunteer (not heavily weighted, but needs improvement)
  6. Strong LORs (sounds like you are on track, check)
  7. Strong LOI (check?)
Action plan:
  • Leadership: I am assuming it is too late to run for any kind of office this time of year. Look for committee chair positions next fall and/or ways to speak to your leadership (e.g. lead tech, lead pharmacy intern, student tutor/mentor, run for a national position in an org, start a new org chapter like ACCP/ISPOR/AMCP/etc if your school does not have a student chapter). It is better to whole ass 1 position than half-ass 3. If you can get one leadership position for P3, just make sure you actually show up and make something of it (generate content: workshop presentations, invite speakers, create a poster, create a community initiative to go out and volunteer, etc). This is important for interview purposes. Nobody gives af if you raised $75 at your taco sale.
  • Research: someone here mentioned to start your research right before P4 year... I wholeheartedly disagree. Start now, you should have started P1 year. Meaningful research takes time to carry out and takes additional time to publish in a peer-reviewed journal (should be your goal). Outcomes research is the quickest route to publication, benchtop research (e.g. pharmacology research) takes more man hours, and additional time to carry out to complete and publish (I have done both). At a minimum, find a faculty member to connect with for research your P3 year and/or connect with one of your APPE preceptors to generate some data and publish a poster at ASHP Midyear and/or ACCP.
  • Volunteer: I won't go too much into this as it is not as important as other items on the checklist. This is both quality & quantity (#hours). Pick one volunteer event to do (it can be healthcare related or not) and do that one event consistently for 1-2 years. Nobody gives af if you cleaned streets for 1 hour 2 years ago... however, it will look good if you volunteered at your local food bank consistently every other Sunday for 1-2 years straight (and you had experiences to share during your interview).
Someone mentioned that this whole process is "without merit"... a bit exaggerated, but not entirely untrue. Let's look at some things that will be out of your control and you just have to accept:
  1. Luck plays a big factor (you were prepared for the clinical question during your interview)
  2. Some other candidates may have done a rotation at the site you are interviewing for (kind of in your control, but you cant rotate in every hospital on your wish list)
  3. You and the interviewers had compatible personalities
  4. Someone at your desired programs recognizes one of your letter writers
  5. You were feeling nervous the day of an interview/interview presentation
  6. Etc, you get where I am coming from
TLDR; quality over quantity, be genuine during your interviews, your checklist gets you an interview, your personality gets you the job.

Agree 100% with one addition which is implied but needs to be stated outright. Get some practice just getting along with people. Doesn't need to be a frat, doesn't need to be a formal experience. 1, 2 and 4 are surprisingly interrelated and I'll add a 7th. Go to the routine meetings even not as a leader but just someone interested. Approach this like a discovery where your mission is to learn about the lifeforms called pharmacists and their social habits. The pharmacy world is a small world works both ways, make it work for you.

Honestly, research is far overrated for this. Leadership is also a double-edged sword that can merit the wrong kind of attention if you appear too narcissistic to others (and many student "leaders" do to the point that I have given negative recommendations on residency and fellowship choices). Networking as a peer in a friendly professional way and just plain working as an intern in practice settings you want to be in a resident in is very far underrated, but rarer skills. I would even work for free in settings that I really wanted (I did so for Cardinal during P3 just to pick up hours for what I wanted to do in those days and it did pay off). But I would actually work on learning about the networks and getting into them rather than going for leadership until you know just how to make it pay off.
 
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I'll throw you a bone since this thread got pretty toxic. I hope this can be referenced for future students who will continue to ask the same question as you. The reality of it is, there is no perfect formula to match. Of course you have your standard checklist (work exp, leadership, GPA, volunteer, research, strong LORs, strong LOI) - but I know students who had all of these and did not match, and I know students who had none of these and match. Let's look at things you can control:
  1. High GPA (check)
  2. Leadership (needs improvement)
  3. Work exp (check)
  4. Research (needs improvement)
  5. Volunteer (not heavily weighted, but needs improvement)
  6. Strong LORs (sounds like you are on track, check)
  7. Strong LOI (check?)
Action plan:
  • Leadership: I am assuming it is too late to run for any kind of office this time of year. Look for committee chair positions next fall and/or ways to speak to your leadership (e.g. lead tech, lead pharmacy intern, student tutor/mentor, run for a national position in an org, start a new org chapter like ACCP/ISPOR/AMCP/etc if your school does not have a student chapter). It is better to whole ass 1 position than half-ass 3. If you can get one leadership position for P3, just make sure you actually show up and make something of it (generate content: workshop presentations, invite speakers, create a poster, create a community initiative to go out and volunteer, etc). This is important for interview purposes. Nobody gives af if you raised $75 at your taco sale.
  • Research: someone here mentioned to start your research right before P4 year... I wholeheartedly disagree. Start now, you should have started P1 year. Meaningful research takes time to carry out and takes additional time to publish in a peer-reviewed journal (should be your goal). Outcomes research is the quickest route to publication, benchtop research (e.g. pharmacology research) takes more man hours, and additional time to carry out to complete and publish (I have done both). At a minimum, find a faculty member to connect with for research your P3 year and/or connect with one of your APPE preceptors to generate some data and publish a poster at ASHP Midyear and/or ACCP.
  • Volunteer: I won't go too much into this as it is not as important as other items on the checklist. This is both quality & quantity (#hours). Pick one volunteer event to do (it can be healthcare related or not) and do that one event consistently for 1-2 years. Nobody gives af if you cleaned streets for 1 hour 2 years ago... however, it will look good if you volunteered at your local food bank consistently every other Sunday for 1-2 years straight (and you had experiences to share during your interview).
Someone mentioned that this whole process is "without merit"... a bit exaggerated, but not entirely untrue. Let's look at some things that will be out of your control and you just have to accept:
  1. Luck plays a big factor (you were prepared for the clinical question during your interview)
  2. Some other candidates may have done a rotation at the site you are interviewing for (kind of in your control, but you cant rotate in every hospital on your wish list)
  3. You and the interviewers had compatible personalities
  4. Someone at your desired programs recognizes one of your letter writers
  5. You were feeling nervous the day of an interview/interview presentation
  6. Etc, you get where I am coming from
TLDR; quality over quantity, be genuine during your interviews, your checklist gets you an interview, your personality gets you the job.
Basic science research is a waste of time for mid year. Basic science research looks great if you want to pursue PH.D or apply to Medical school. I change my statements. For Basic science research: one needs to start during P1 year. Based on my experience, P2 year is too late to start basic science research.
For outcomes research: it does not matter since, outcomes projects are quicker and faster to complete. And RPDs care more about those projects anyways. you can start even during the first clinical rotation of P4 year or P3 year if the school offers a research elective. The advantage of P4 year is you do have time for outcomes projects and you have time to get it done before mid year. Many people I know who matched did projects during the P4 year. Now, if you want to publish four or five papers, then you need to start at P1 year
 

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