Aug 6, 2015
43
7
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hi! So I'm going to be a 3rd year at a UC as a biology major. I'm thinking of applying next year to:
UCSF
USC
U PACIFIC
UCSD
Western U
I know I have a solid chance at all of these schools, pending my PCAT score, but where else should I apply? Since I'm in California, I never really hear about the OOS schools. I can look at the US News rankings and what not, but I'd like to hear from you guys about what you all think the best schools are. Thanks!

- Mexican and speak, read, write Spanish well
-cGPA: 3.80 scienceGPA: 3.81
-haven't taken PCAT
- 600ish hours research (s0 far), and had a successful project that I presented at a symposium (I work on organic chem/small molecule synthesis within the lab)
-on exec board of prepharm club; official undergraduate representative of both the college of science and the entire university
-Employment: I help teach biology and chemistry to first year students in a classroom setting (about 24 students), work in the lab, and am working at Kaiser Permanente in a pharmacy setting in a program designed to expose students to working in various pharmacy settings over 3 summers (1000 hours) (outpatient, inpatient, ambulatory care, etc.)
 

Jbrl

2+ Year Member
May 7, 2015
334
283
If your PCAT is as good as your GPA (90th percentile and above) you will get in pretty much everywhere with those ECs, stats, and URM status - provided you don't say anything awful at your interview. Are you intent on staying in California? If not, forget any other school except UCSF and UCSD. Not worth the tuition. Just go OOS and find a way to gain residency in that state for the 3 years of tuition afterward. Some schools even let you pay in-state tuition starting the first year, as a form of merit scholarship (e.g. University of Minnesota)

I don't know much about UCSD but the review here wasn't so favorable:
http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/pharmacy-students-pros-and-cons-of-your-pharmd-school.878726/

All in all, it depends on what you'd like to do. You can do quite a lot at all of the "good" pharmacy schools, but for maximizing networking opportunities and chances, choose schools that align with your goals. For example:

UMich and UNC are excellent schools for MBA brand. This is true even if you apply to better MBA schools later on, as they are well-established names for adcoms because of their "public Ivy" status.
UCSF is a premier medical research institution that will offer you a lot of different cutting-edge research opportunities (probably more than other schools). It has the highest amount of NIH funding among all the pharmacy schools.
Rutgers is in the heartland of the pharmaceutical industry and has a large network of alumni in that sector. The CA schools are also within a biotech/pharma hotbed. Other good schools directly in biopharma regions are UNC, UIC, Oregon.

Some other good ones to consider are the top 20 of USNWR, like you said. Hard to go wrong with those schools. The differences between them are academically minute in the long run, and the only reasons you might choose one over the others are whether you liked the campus culture or whether one school offers more scholarships. Once you are in league of the "top-tier" schools, it becomes a matter of cost and preference more than anything.
 
Last edited:
OP
A
Aug 6, 2015
43
7
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
If your PCAT is as good as your GPA (90th percentile and above) you will get in pretty much everywhere with those ECs, stats, and URM status - provided you don't say anything awful at your interview. Are you intent on staying in California? If not, forget any other school except UCSF and UCSD. Not worth the tuition. Just go OOS and find a way to gain residency in that state for the 3 years of tuition afterward. Some schools even let you pay in-state tuition starting the first year, as a form of merit scholarship (e.g. University of Minnesota)

I don't know much about UCSD but the review here wasn't so favorable:
http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/pharmacy-students-pros-and-cons-of-your-pharmd-school.878726/

All in all, it depends on what you'd like to do. You can do quite a lot at all of the "good" pharmacy schools, but for maximizing networking opportunities and chances, choose schools that align with your goals. For example:

UMich and UNC are excellent schools for MBA brand. This is true even if you apply to better MBA schools later on, as they are well-established names for adcoms because of their "public Ivy" status.
UCSF is a premier medical research institution that will offer you a lot of different cutting-edge research opportunities (probably more than other schools). It has the highest amount of NIH funding among all the pharmacy schools.
Rutgers is in the heartland of the pharmaceutical industry and has a large network of alumni in that sector. The CA schools are also within a biotech/pharma hotbed. Other good schools directly in biopharma regions are UNC, UIC, Oregon.

Some other good ones to consider are the top 20 of USNWR, like you said. Hard to go wrong with those schools. The differences between them are academically minute in the long run, and the only reasons you might choose one over the others are whether you liked the campus culture or whether one school offers more scholarships. Once you are in league of the "top-tier" schools, it becomes a matter of cost and preference more than anything.
I'd like to stay in California, but I am definitely looking for a highly regarded school to build good relationships to increase my chances of getting a solid job when I graduate/finish residency.
Cost is a significant factor for sure, so schools that give scholarships/financial aid to students like myself may have a leg up.
I'm unsure what kind of pharmacist I want to be, since I haven't seen it all yet. I like the idea of getting a pharmd/mba but it seems like that dream of opening an independent pharmacy is highly questionable these days. Industry is something that interests me, though.
It seems like it's up to the environment/money in the end. If I were to leave CA for another state for pharmd school, is it difficult to come back to CA? I've heard that other states schools prepare their students for their own state board exams, which would make passing the CPJE more difficult. What about getting a job in CA?
Thanks!
 

Biochemistry2014

2+ Year Member
Mar 13, 2015
163
171
Status
Medical Student
Top 10 midwest school would be your best bet. Many midwestern areas suffer the least from saturation issues, blah blah blah

That is not to say that saturation does not exist in these areas though.
 
OP
A
Aug 6, 2015
43
7
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Top 10 midwest school would be your best bet. Many midwestern areas suffer the least from saturation issues, blah blah blah

That is not to say that saturation does not exist in these areas though.
I'm sure saturation has reached everywhere. But how likely is it that I'd be staying in the midwest if I went to school there? In case I decide to want to come back to CA after I graduate.
 

Jbrl

2+ Year Member
May 7, 2015
334
283
I'd like to stay in California, but I am definitely looking for a highly regarded school to build good relationships to increase my chances of getting a solid job when I graduate/finish residency.
Cost is a significant factor for sure, so schools that give scholarships/financial aid to students like myself may have a leg up.
I'm unsure what kind of pharmacist I want to be, since I haven't seen it all yet. I like the idea of getting a pharmd/mba but it seems like that dream of opening an independent pharmacy is highly questionable these days. Industry is something that interests me, though.
It seems like it's up to the environment/money in the end. If I were to leave CA for another state for pharmd school, is it difficult to come back to CA? I've heard that other states schools prepare their students for their own state board exams, which would make passing the CPJE more difficult. What about getting a job in CA?
Thanks!
MBA isn't only about entrepreneurship. In fact, it's not even the focus. The degree is overrepresented in every corporate environment.

I don't know anything about the CA market so I'll defer to someone else. However, what you should consider is whether say a 50% shot of getting a job in CA if in-state vs. a 30% shot if OOS is worth taking on 75-100k more debt for. You can definitely study on your own to take other state exams. It's not a huge hassle, so don't take that into consideration. Money and personal fit are paramount.
 
OP
A
Aug 6, 2015
43
7
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
MBA isn't only about entrepreneurship. In fact, it's not even the focus. The degree is overrepresented in every corporate environment.

I don't know anything about the CA market so I'll defer to someone else. However, what you should consider is whether say a 50% shot of getting a job in CA if in-state vs. a 30% shot if OOS is worth taking on 75-100k more debt for. You can definitely study on your own to take other state exams. It's not a huge hassle, so don't take that into consideration. Money and personal fit are paramount.
So an MBA would help one get a management position as well or something? The CA market is very tough, from my experience so far talking to pharmacists and seeing openings only for part time positions (I have yet to see a FT position open where I'm working at now). I want to go to UCSF, as it is my #1 school, but if UMinn or another OOS school offers me very generous scholarships based on merit and what not, I would definitely consider. Thanks for all the help!

P.S. doesn't it suck that we're resorting to having a coin flip of a chance of getting a job? I guess the new schools gotta make their money right.
 

Jbrl

2+ Year Member
May 7, 2015
334
283
So an MBA would help one get a management position as well or something? The CA market is very tough, from my experience so far talking to pharmacists and seeing openings only for part time positions (I have yet to see a FT position open where I'm working at now). I want to go to UCSF, as it is my #1 school, but if UMinn or another OOS school offers me very generous scholarships based on merit and what not, I would definitely consider. Thanks for all the help!

P.S. doesn't it suck that we're resorting to having a coin flip of a chance of getting a job? I guess the new schools gotta make their money right.
An MBA will help you in moving up the ladder, but in ways you won't expect, probably. If you play your cards right, you won't be relying on a coin flip. Use those pocket aces instead. ;)
 
OP
A
Aug 6, 2015
43
7
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
An MBA will help you in moving up the ladder, but in ways you won't expect, probably. If you play your cards right, you won't be relying on a coin flip. Use those pocket aces instead. ;)
I'm starting as many "pharmacy relationships" already, hope I can continue to do so. Hopefully the flop yields another ace or two ;)
 
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OP
A
Aug 6, 2015
43
7
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Bump with a question. Which of the top schools tend to be most generous when it comes to scholarships and decreased tuition?
 

fewaopi

10+ Year Member
Jan 9, 2009
266
247
Status
Pharmacist
Hmm wow looking at your stats I wonder why you're not shooting for medical school, you certainly seem like you have a chance with those stats and being born to the right tribe.

To me it just sounds like a better use of your talent and value to society if you went into medicine then pharmacy. I say this because of your Spanish speaking skills. I would hate to waste someone like you on pharmacy school. Hope you get into a respectable, well-regarded school.
 
OP
A
Aug 6, 2015
43
7
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hmm wow looking at your stats I wonder why you're not shooting for medical school, you certainly seem like you have a chance with those stats and being born to the right tribe.

To me it just sounds like a better use of your talent and value to society if you went into medicine then pharmacy. I say this because of your Spanish speaking skills. I would hate to waste someone like you on pharmacy school. Hope you get into a respectable, well-regarded school.
So you're saying that I should pursue medicine rather than pharmacy based on my ability to communicate in Spanish? A career in pharmacy would undoubtedly take advantage of such an ability, as I've already seen in my experience in an outpatient pharmacy. Pharmacies need Rphs who can speak Spanish just as much as hospitals/clinics need physicians who speak Spanish.

Why would you dissuade a highly qualified individual from pursuing pharmacy, when you can do so to the underqualified ones instead? This would surely help advance the profession and allow it to become more respected by all. Should only those unable to compete to go to med school, pursue pharmacy? I've weighed both options and I'm leaning towards pharmacy at this point.
 
Sep 27, 2014
386
195
Baltimore
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
The motivated ones like yourself are very few and between in pharmacy. However, it is rather hard to stand out in a field where grades and school reputation don't play a big as a role as your networking and personality skills. The ones that will make it far in pharmacy are the popular, outgoing, likable and let's face it, good looking people who have served in pharmacy fraternities (and an added edge with test banks, old exams, and connections to district managers). With a surplus of 50K graduates expected within the next decade, you better have a little luck on your side to succeed in pharmacy. When I say succeed, this means clearing your student loans within a manageable time and not worrying about getting fired until retirement. In medicine and law, you maximize your chances of doing well by enrolling into a good school and maintaining excellent grades. Your success in medicine or law is really a byproduct of what you put in (plus your academic ability), while in pharmacy your fate is mostly a by product of connections and luck.
 
OP
A
Aug 6, 2015
43
7
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
The motivated ones like yourself are very few and between in pharmacy. However, it is rather hard to stand out in a field where grades and school reputation don't play a big as a role as your networking and personality skills. The ones that will make it far in pharmacy are the popular, outgoing, likable and let's face it, good looking people who have served in pharmacy fraternities (and an added edge with test banks, old exams, and connections to district managers). With a surplus of 50K graduates expected within the next decade, you better have a little luck on your side to succeed in pharmacy. When I say succeed, this means clearing your student loans within a manageable time and not worrying about getting fired until retirement. In medicine and law, you maximize your chances of doing well by enrolling into a good school and maintaining excellent grades. Your success in medicine or law is really a byproduct of what you put in (plus your academic ability), while in pharmacy your fate is mostly a by product of connections and luck.
Yes, from what I've seen so far, this is true. A bit of a shame, really. For a healthcare career, there seems to be a lot of emphasis on "business connections". Oh well.