Should I get a bachelor's degree or not?

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ChicagoPharm

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I am applying for the fall of 2011 for pharmacy school. My top two choices for schools are UIC and Midwestern CCP. If I don't get in this year, which I don't think I will because I haven't heard anything, I need a plan B. My question is if I should get a bachelor's degree in biology or take classes that relate more to pharmacy. Receiving a degree in biology would be the quickest way for me to get a degree. I would only have fall 2011 and spring 2012 to complete the coursework before fall of 2012. (I would love to do chemistry, but I just won't have enough time.) I want to take classes like biochemistry, medical terminology and pharmacology not classes like ecology and plant adaptation. I know that having a bachelor's degree looks great on an application, but I feel like taking classes that will help me more in pharmacy school would make more sense. What should I do? Any comments/opinions will help! Thank you! :)

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I am applying for the fall of 2011 for pharmacy school. My top two choices for schools are UIC and Midwestern CCP. If I don't get in this year, which I don't think I will because I haven't heard anything, I need a plan B. My question is if I should get a bachelor's degree in biology or take classes that relate more to pharmacy. Receiving a degree in biology would be the quickest way for me to get a degree. I would only have fall 2011 and spring 2012 to complete the coursework before fall of 2012. (I would love to do chemistry, but I just won't have enough time.) I want to take classes like biochemistry, medical terminology and pharmacology not classes like ecology and plant adaptation. I know that having a bachelor's degree looks great on an application, but I feel like taking classes that will help me more in pharmacy school would make more sense. What should I do? Any comments/opinions will help! Thank you! :)

A couple things popped into my head while reading your post.

First, if you don't get in this cycle, then you're going to re-apply. What you should do is contact the two schools and see why you didn't make the cut (if that's the way the chips fall). Sometimes, information right from the horse's mouth is the best way to go. They can give you explicit information on whether the easier, faster Biology degree would be superior to the slower, harder to complete Chemistry degree.

This is a long term commitment. A career is a very long thing to get involved in, right! Ostensibly, you'll be doing this job for the next 4 decades (who knows, even longer maybe...) so rushing it, and missing classes you want to take, could be a bad idea! On the other hand, because there always is one, you want to get into pharmacy school!

So let's hash this out a bit.

You have two options.

1. Biology degree. Its pros are that it's a quick to finish degree for you, and you'll be able to apply next cycle and say that you have a degree. Its con is that you'll have to take classes that you really don't care about (plant crap, ecology, etc).

2. Chemistry degree. Its pros are that you'd like to get it done, you enjoy the subject matter and you could take more "pharm appropriate" coursework, such as biochemistry. Its cons are that applying next cycle will leave you without being able to say you have a degree completed (I'm guessing?) by the time you matriculate, due to the fact that it'll take you longer to complete.

So one huge hole in this is that you're assuming you're not getting into either school based on your coursework, or the fact that you lack a degree. Until you have an answer to that question, this whole discussion is pointless you know? Because we're going to be talking about which path to take, yet it could be something else entirely (maybe your recommendations sucked, maybe they didn't like your Supps, etc??) and therefore this is pointless.

I could also say that, if you're going to do the Chem degree, you will delay pharmacy school one more year (probably?). The marginal gain here might not be enough to justify the expense (you know that better than we do...) and time.

Before I made a decision on whether to stick with the Bio degree or switch to a Chem degree with more pharmacy-appropriate coursework, I'd want to speak with the schools directly, and get their opinion. I have a feeling they'd say to go with whatever route your grades would be highest in. You totally left grades out of your OP so either you have good grades so you don't care, or your grades are so bad that it doesn't matter? I'm guessing it's the former... and so if you're one of those wunderkinds of science that will get an A- or A whether you take Plant Adaptation or Medical Terminology, then it matters less.

Hope I helped at least a little. We could probably use some more information about you, (like age, how much you're debt averse, your grades, PCAT etc) to really feel out what's going on.
 
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A couple things popped into my head while reading your post.

First, if you don't get in this cycle, then you're going to re-apply. What you should do is contact the two schools and see why you didn't make the cut (if that's the way the chips fall). Sometimes, information right from the horse's mouth is the best way to go. They can give you explicit information on whether the easier, faster Biology degree would be superior to the slower, harder to complete Chemistry degree.

This is a long term commitment. A career is a very long thing to get involved in, right! Ostensibly, you'll be doing this job for the next 4 decades (who knows, even longer maybe...) so rushing it, and missing classes you want to take, could be a bad idea! On the other hand, because there always is one, you want to get into pharmacy school!

So let's hash this out a bit.

You have two options.

1. Biology degree. Its pros are that it's a quick to finish degree for you, and you'll be able to apply next cycle and say that you have a degree. Its con is that you'll have to take classes that you really don't care about (plant crap, ecology, etc).

2. Chemistry degree. Its pros are that you'd like to get it done, you enjoy the subject matter and you could take more "pharm appropriate" coursework, such as biochemistry. Its cons are that applying next cycle will leave you without being able to say you have a degree completed (I'm guessing?) by the time you matriculate, due to the fact that it'll take you longer to complete.

So one huge hole in this is that you're assuming you're not getting into either school based on your coursework, or the fact that you lack a degree. Until you have an answer to that question, this whole discussion is pointless you know? Because we're going to be talking about which path to take, yet it could be something else entirely (maybe your recommendations sucked, maybe they didn't like your Supps, etc??) and therefore this is pointless.

I could also say that, if you're going to do the Chem degree, you will delay pharmacy school one more year (probably?). The marginal gain here might not be enough to justify the expense (you know that better than we do...) and time.

Before I made a decision on whether to stick with the Bio degree or switch to a Chem degree with more pharmacy-appropriate coursework, I'd want to speak with the schools directly, and get their opinion. I have a feeling they'd say to go with whatever route your grades would be highest in. You totally left grades out of your OP so either you have good grades so you don't care, or your grades are so bad that it doesn't matter? I'm guessing it's the former... and so if you're one of those wunderkinds of science that will get an A- or A whether you take Plant Adaptation or Medical Terminology, then it matters less.

Hope I helped at least a little. We could probably use some more information about you, (like age, how much you're debt averse, your grades, PCAT etc) to really feel out what's going on.

Any chance you could finish with a biochem degree? That might be the best of both worlds. But contacting the schools is a good idea before making any official decisions. Some schools are just slower than others, so you might still have a chance for this year.

Personally, I think getting a bachelor's is a good way to go, especially if you're younger and not changing careers. It gives you a chance to get better at school, learn more that might make pharm school a little easier, and gives you a degree, which improves your ability to either pursue other careers or other options with your eventual PharmD.
 
I tell this to all high school students. If you can land a pretty decent job that pays a good salary after high school...then by all means do that and forget college! lol...Bachelors degree is a waste of money if you are already working a good paying job making good money.

There is a guy in my class that was making 90K a year as his old job and he quit to come to pharmacy school. WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY AND TIME! Just saying! :cool: I value $$$ and time more than anything else and I will never waste that.
 
A couple things popped into my head while reading your post.

First, if you don't get in this cycle, then you're going to re-apply. What you should do is contact the two schools and see why you didn't make the cut (if that's the way the chips fall). Sometimes, information right from the horse's mouth is the best way to go. They can give you explicit information on whether the easier, faster Biology degree would be superior to the slower, harder to complete Chemistry degree.

This is a long term commitment. A career is a very long thing to get involved in, right! Ostensibly, you'll be doing this job for the next 4 decades (who knows, even longer maybe...) so rushing it, and missing classes you want to take, could be a bad idea! On the other hand, because there always is one, you want to get into pharmacy school!

So let's hash this out a bit.

You have two options.

1. Biology degree. Its pros are that it's a quick to finish degree for you, and you'll be able to apply next cycle and say that you have a degree. Its con is that you'll have to take classes that you really don't care about (plant crap, ecology, etc).

2. Chemistry degree. Its pros are that you'd like to get it done, you enjoy the subject matter and you could take more "pharm appropriate" coursework, such as biochemistry. Its cons are that applying next cycle will leave you without being able to say you have a degree completed (I'm guessing?) by the time you matriculate, due to the fact that it'll take you longer to complete.

So one huge hole in this is that you're assuming you're not getting into either school based on your coursework, or the fact that you lack a degree. Until you have an answer to that question, this whole discussion is pointless you know? Because we're going to be talking about which path to take, yet it could be something else entirely (maybe your recommendations sucked, maybe they didn't like your Supps, etc??) and therefore this is pointless.

I could also say that, if you're going to do the Chem degree, you will delay pharmacy school one more year (probably?). The marginal gain here might not be enough to justify the expense (you know that better than we do...) and time.

Before I made a decision on whether to stick with the Bio degree or switch to a Chem degree with more pharmacy-appropriate coursework, I'd want to speak with the schools directly, and get their opinion. I have a feeling they'd say to go with whatever route your grades would be highest in. You totally left grades out of your OP so either you have good grades so you don't care, or your grades are so bad that it doesn't matter? I'm guessing it's the former... and so if you're one of those wunderkinds of science that will get an A- or A whether you take Plant Adaptation or Medical Terminology, then it matters less.

Hope I helped at least a little. We could probably use some more information about you, (like age, how much you're debt averse, your grades, PCAT etc) to really feel out what's going on.

Thanks so much for your long input. I really appreciate it!

I'll start off by saying that I'm 21. My GPA is 3.75 right now. My PCAT score was a 60, which I was not very happy about and I regret not taking it again. I went to UIC for my freshmen year of college and then had to leave because I could not register for the classes that I needed so I'm finishing up my pre-reqs. at a community college. I go to school full-time there and work part-time as a tech at a local hospital. I'm a certified pharmacy tech and also licensed by the state of Il. I have been blessed with amazing and gracious parents who have been paying for me to go to school so money isn't really a deal breaker for me especially because I am at community college now so we are saving a lot!

I'm definitely not changing my mind on my career path. I love going to work now so I know that I'll continue to love it when I'm a pharmacist. I would just like to get to that point as soon as I can. Pharmacy school is already long and I would like to go into clinical work so I'll have to do a residency after that. So delaying pharmacy school for my bachelors (maybe in chem) would not be my first choice.

I have narrowed it down that if I do decide to get a bachelors that I will have to get it in bio because of the time frame. My larger issue is if I should do that or take classes that I would enjoy like biochem and upper level anatomy/physiology. And I am not one of those brainiac kids. I actually have to study to get good grades.... I wish, though!

I want to call the schools that I am applying, but the thing is is that I haven't been denied yet. I'm just fearing rejection and I guess that I am just realistic and sometimes things don't always work out like they are supposed to so I need this plan B.

I will be leaving the community college next semester for sure because I have taken everything there is to take pertaining to pharmacy so I need to move on to a 4-year university. I have been admitted already to some schools. I wanted to get a move on with that because fall registration will be coming up very quickly and I need to be able to register!

Thank you again for all your advice!
 
Any chance you could finish with a biochem degree? That might be the best of both worlds. But contacting the schools is a good idea before making any official decisions. Some schools are just slower than others, so you might still have a chance for this year.

Personally, I think getting a bachelor's is a good way to go, especially if you're younger and not changing careers. It gives you a chance to get better at school, learn more that might make pharm school a little easier, and gives you a degree, which improves your ability to either pursue other careers or other options with your eventual PharmD.

I would love to get a degree in biochemistry, but I just won't have the time to finish all the required coursework. I'll probably be contacting the schools within the next few weeks especially if I haven't heard anything. Thanks for your advice! :)
 
I tell this to all high school students. If you can land a pretty decent job that pays a good salary after high school...then by all means do that and forget college! lol...Bachelors degree is a waste of money if you are already working a good paying job making good money.

There is a guy in my class that was making 90K a year as his old job and he quit to come to pharmacy school. WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY AND TIME! Just saying! :cool: I value $$$ and time more than anything else and I will never waste that.

Only 2 reasons pop into my head that would cause me to leave a $90,000/year job.

1. It's not really reliable, meaning I could lose it easily.

2. No real benefits to speak of.

Perhaps he fell into one of those categories or just hated what he was doing. Money is not everything (though I'll be the first to admit that it IS a powerful motivating force).
 
Only 2 reasons pop into my head that would cause me to leave a $90,000/year job.

1. It's not really reliable, meaning I could lose it easily.

2. No real benefits to speak of.

Perhaps he fell into one of those categories or just hated what he was doing. Money is not everything (though I'll be the first to admit that it IS a powerful motivating force).

He told me he hated his job b/c he feels that he isn't helping anyone's life at all and that he feels the job is actually hurting people. (forgot what his job was...) He wants to be a pharmacist b/c it a way of helping people. Whether or not his talk is truthful or not I have no clue.

Yes, money is a motivating force, but there are things more important...like I would not do a outdoor job or become a primary physican NO matter how much the pay is. I like nice clean indoor environment and hence why I choose pharmacy. lol...
 
He told me he hated his job b/c he feels that he isn't helping anyone's life at all and that he feels the job is actually hurting people. (forgot what his job was...) He wants to be a pharmacist b/c it a way of helping people.
The desire to have a job where you actively help people is real. I left the engineering field to pursue pharmacy. I was making about 50k/yr in the Navy, but I was offered job interviews for $100k+ positions. People in my program were highly desired due to our training and years of very practical experience. If you can keep the lights on and give the XO hot water in his shower, all while launching and catching jets, you can make sure that City X never has a hiccup in their power distribution. ;)

I finished my bachelors, even though I was already accepted to pharmacy school. I was able to take courses over the summer prior to matriculation. If you have a chance to finish it, I'd do it. You're not going to use the degree for a job, but it is another qualification you can earn if you have the time.
 
Thanks so much for your long input. I really appreciate it!

I'll start off by saying that I'm 21. My GPA is 3.75 right now. My PCAT score was a 60, which I was not very happy about and I regret not taking it again.

Even with a lowish PCAT score (and a 60 really isn't terrible), I'm sort of surprised that with such a good GPA + experience you haven't been invited for interviews yet. Having a plan B is certainly a good idea, but it sounds like you still have a shot to me. Like P4S suggested, contact the schools! See if they're still reviewing apps, and if not, why you were rejected. You could also check out other schools that are still accepting applications, although it's getting kind of late for that.

Another option would be to do some hardcore PCAT review this summer and retake to boost your score.
 
The desire to have a job where you actively help people is real. I left the engineering field to pursue pharmacy. I was making about 50k/yr in the Navy, but I was offered job interviews for $100k+ positions. People in my program were highly desired due to our training and years of very practical experience. If you can keep the lights on and give the XO hot water in his shower, all while launching and catching jets, you can make sure that City X never has a hiccup in their power distribution. ;)

I finished my bachelors, even though I was already accepted to pharmacy school. I was able to take courses over the summer prior to matriculation. If you have a chance to finish it, I'd do it. You're not going to use the degree for a job, but it is another qualification you can earn if you have the time.

I liked your old avatar. Who is that in your new one?
 
A bachelor's degree might help you in admissions, but as P4Sci mentioned, you probably should contact the schools directly to see what's holding you back.

Have you looked into a bachelor's program in clinical lab sciences? These often mesh really well with pharm prerequisites and might be really interesting. Additionally, these programs usually allow you the option of sitting for a license after school, which ups your payscale immediately upon graduation, usually to somewhere between $40-$50k/year. Not bad for a fallback bachelor's degree.
 
I would love to get a degree in biochemistry, but I just won't have the time to finish all the required coursework. I'll probably be contacting the schools within the next few weeks especially if I haven't heard anything. Thanks for your advice! :)

Sounds like from your situation, I wouldn't go for the bachelor's unless you don't get in this year and hear from the schools that that would help your chances.

I would suggest at least a biochem class if you can fit it in, though, and you haven't had one yet. It would help in pharmacy school a lot.

Good luck!
 
Something else you might think about is if you're interested at all in getting a MBA or PhD and your school happens to offer a concurrent or dual PharmD/MBA or PharmD/PhD program, one of the requirements will most likely be a bachelor's degree. If you don't really care then you can just ignore me.
 
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