Pharmacy Should I answer or leave PharmCAS special life circumstances section blank?

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Pediatric ER Pharmacist
7+ Year Member
Jan 21, 2014
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I am in the process of applying to pharmacy school and I honestly have no idea what to write on the "Special Life Circumstances" section. I struggle with depression and anxiety, but I don't know if talking about that would hurt my application. I plan on mentioning it on the COVID-19 section since the pandemic has taken a toll on my mental health.

I am a Latina and will be applying to the two pharmacy schools in Puerto Rico, so most of the applicants will also be Latinx. Therefore, talking about my cultural background is ruled out. I thought about leaving the section blank but I'm scared it would hurt my application.
Leaving it blank is unlikely to hurt your application. I would be careful about mentioning your mental health in this section (or any) of the application. Unless you are trying to explain away some other problems with your application (like a bad semester). I have never seen anyone put anything in this section other than the kind of things PharmCAS suggests. I don't know anything about the Puerto Rico schools, but if being Latina can be assumed from your application then I think it's okay to leave off. If it isn't apparent (you aren't applying from PR for example) then I would put it anyway.

Most applicants to pharmacy school leave this section blank. That is why it is "special" life circumstances.


Moderator Emeritus
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Feb 21, 2002
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Special Life Circumstances is often used to either explain a matter that does not account readily into your academic performance. Do not be creative in this section, and many schools do not ever look at it unless there is a record that needs to be explained. If you are applying and are not from PR, I would actually put down something about why and vice-versa if you are from PR and applying to a mainland school.


Admissions advisor
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Oct 14, 2011
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This narrative falls under the category of understanding your journey to pharmacy and what systematic barriers or chronic circumstances you and your family faced in your education, access to housing or food, access to health care services, and inability to recover from devastating circumstances that have had lasting societal effects. (There are likely better definitions, but these are what I look for in such essays.) How it is weighed definitely depends on the school: some will look at it last as a tiebreaker, others look at it first to get a sense of how your story adds to others' understanding of your potential impact connecting with future patients and customers, etc. So it won't hurt you to put something down.
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