Category Archives: Pharmacy Schools

How To Get The Most Out Of Pharmacy School

If you could do it all over again…what would you do?

When asked this question, there is one recommendation many seasoned pharmacists agree on: to participate in more extracurricular activities such as clubs and organizations. Networking, socializing, making friends is important, and joining clubs, organizations, and participating in activities may be the easiest and preferred way to accomplish this. ┬áThis will be very important for the rest of your life, and perhaps in your career. In the real world, it is much more difficult to make the time to go out and socialize and make new friends, build new relationships after you are immersed in the cycle of life which includes getting married, finding a job, learning the new job, starting a family, and raising your children, etc. Having the time to hang out with your friends, or go out and make new ones will be difficult as you start getting older, and worrying about how to find a babysitter, what to cook, or who will pick up the kids from daycare. By the time your daily routine is over after managing your children, shopping for groceries, cooking and cleaning, you may be too tired to do anything else but to lay on your couch, and watch your television shows…and falling asleep. Your few years in pharmacy may seem overwhelming in the beginning, but it will fly by really quickly, and compared to all of the unexpected stresses you’ll encounter after pharmacy school, it will be a piece of cake. You may never see most of your classmates again, and despite the long hours studying for those tough exams, you’ll probably never have it as easy life compared to when you’re still in school. Therefore, aside from focusing solely on your studies, try to make an effort to smile and make new friends by participating in activities, clubs, organizations, and attending other social events. There will be many opportunities in pharmacy school, and taking advantage of it will be to your benefit, especially since you’re paying a lot of tuition for it.

There are many organizations and activities available for pharmacy students such joining an organization focused on the student pharmacist, a state pharmacist, national hospital pharmacist, health professional, professional pharmacy fraternity/sorority, religion-based pharmacy, community service associations or organizations, pharmacy school government, special pharmacy school committees, and so on. Pharmacy schools may offer various social events such as dance nights, charity auctions, volunteering opportunities, social events with other health professional schools (medical, nursing, dental), events to a baseball game, or even a college sporting event. In fact, this is something you could inquire about during your visit to the pharmacy school(s) from senior pharmacy students, to know what programs or organizations are offered at the school, and which clubs they recommend joining. Networking through these events and organizations is also another great way to get job referrals, and meet new employers, and learn about the trade. Remember, you’ll never be this young again to enjoy the student life, so it is a good idea to make the most out of your short time in school. People skills and the understanding of how to socialize and network will probably be one of the most important assets you possess as you move up the career ladder. Who knows…you may even find your future wife or husband this way, and it is probably a lot easier to meet a potential new spouse in school compared to dating websites and apps, or in life beyond school where your time outside of work is limited. Therefore, make the most of your pharmacy school experience. Study hard…but make sure you also build new relationships.

Strategies to manage pharmacy school workload

The first year of pharmacy school could be very overwhelming at first. Remember, this isn’t the typical undergraduate program. This is a professional graduate program, and the career path to becoming an legitimate pharmacist in this country. With course after course, the first year students may be inundated with class projects, group activities, club/organization activities, class assignments, and even early exams depending on the professor. Many students may even have part-time jobs or internships in addition to their school work. So how does one manage their time in a way that they could best be in a position to succeed? Well, first of all you could be assured that you are not alone, and that all of your peers are going through the same pressures and struggles as anyone else. Upperclassmen have also gone through the same course loads and I’m sure are doing fine. Here are some tips or strategies to better manage your time.

For those that have part-time jobs, you may want to consider adjusting your work hours to allow enough time for you to succeed in your coursework or have time to rest. There are obviously many of you that know how to do everything well even with much school work and long work hours. But for those that need time to study and partake in group activities at school, may want to consider looking at their work hours if it is getting in the way of scoring a good grade on an exam or a project. You could always ask to readjust your hours once you are able to manage the rigors of pharmacy school life.

Set a schedule and time to preview and review your study materials in order to best prepare for classes and to avoid ‘cramming’ for an exam at the last minute. You may have more than four or five classes at a time, so set some time within each day, or days within a week to study each of the subjects. Previewing the material before the lecture will allow quicker understanding of the material when it is presented by the lecturer. Reviewing the material will allow better retention of the material.

For those that participate in so many activities that it is almost impossible to have enough allotted time to study or spend time on projects may want to consider whether the benefits of partaking in those activities outweigh the risks of performing substandard on an exam or a project.

If the struggles of pharmacy school life are affecting you emotionally or mentally, you should take some time to relax or even schedule an appointment with your school mentor or counselor who could offer suggestions on how to cope with those struggles.

For those that need help with understanding the complex material presented in class, perhaps you should join a study group or seek tutoring services on those subjects. Study groups are a great way to meet and get to know your peers, and who could also offer study tips that you may not be aware of. Many schools also offer tutoring centers, matching you with upperclassmen who are well versed in the subject matter. If these services are offered, taking advantage of them are great bonus for you and your success.

After a few weeks or maybe months, most people will become well adjusted to the often hectic life of the pharmacy school student. As you learn more and gain experience, you may develop your own system to gauge when you should study, how much time you need to study, as well as when and how much you are able to participate in extracurricular activities and set some time to relax and rest.

Pharmacy Schools Spotlight: University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Pharmacy

The University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Pharmacy is a relatively new program that began in 2007. It has been listed in the U.S. News and World Report pharmacy school rankings recently, and looks to be a very promising new institution in training the next generation of pharmacists on the Pacific islands. The ‘Walkscore’ of 28 should be taken as a grain of salt as the score usually reflects on the proximity of commercial businesses (restaurants, entertainment, coffee shops, etc), not a marker of the competitiveness of the program, or taking into account the beauty of the scenery – which should be given a 100. The pharmacy school is located on a beautiful island nearby the Pacific Ocean, the Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park, the Hilo International Airport, and surrounded by several Forest Reserves. The island itself is also the easternmost of the Hawaiian islands. Needless to say, the location is the vacation and honeymoon destination for many; an opportunity to pursue a respectable profession on an island of paradise may sound appealing to many. However, one should expect to study hard in this new pharmacy school. The PharmD program offers a traditional four year program in the pharmaceutical sciences, and according to their website, is looking forward to moving into a new state-of-the-art permanent building in the future.

To learn more about the program:
University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Pharmacy
200 W. Kawili St., Hilo, HI 96720-4091
Tel: (808) 933-2909

Preparation for Pharmacy School Interviews

So you got an interview for pharmacy school – congratulations! Obviously, the pharmacy school have found your qualifications on paper impressive enough to grant you an interview, and want to know more about you face to face. Interviews could cause worry and anxiety in any potential pharmacy school candidate, but preparation is key to performing well and impressing the interviewers. Depending on the pharmacy school, interviewers could be selected from those members who may be part of the admissions committee, administrative staff, faculty members, or even current pharmacy students. Since interviewers could all have biases based on their own experiences and personality, and also different perspectives on what they deem fit in a student to be accepted into the program, the pharmacy school candidate will need to prepare for anything that could be asked, in addition to understanding the basic principles for interview preparation, not too much different from a job interview.

Appearances say many things, and first impressions are very important. It is customary to dress appropriately in business attire and looking presentable. Posture before, during, and after the interview, especially when seated on a chair during the interview process, is crucial. Never slouch when seated as this gives off bad vibes and an air of carelessness or arrogance. Greeting the interviewer with a nice handshake and a genuine smile is a given. Remember, your interview may not be just the face to face with the interviewers; it is the entire process from when you walk on to the pharmacy school campus and until you leave. You never know who may be observing you; from the volunteers who guide you through the process, to the administrative personnel in the room where you are seated and waiting to be interviewed, and to those who are serving breakfast or lunch if food is provided throughout the day. If there is a social event in place on the agenda, remember to be personable and social…not sitting in the back or in the corner alone by yourself. Interviewers want to see how you get along with your peers, as well as the conversations involved. Be personable, friendly, and sharp. You probably want to veer away from polarizing conversation topics.

As for the dreaded interview itself, one cannot possibly know exactly what will be asked. Remember to research the school well to understand the program, the structure of the curriculum, and the school’s history; this could probably be found on the school’s website. Those that really want to be a pharmacist, and really know the profession well from experience as a pharmacy technician or volunteer shouldn’t fret too much if asked questions about the work or lifestyle of a pharmacist. For those that do not know the profession well, maybe it is time to get some exposure to the life of a pharmacy employee before committing four years of schooling and tuition expenditures to validate if this is what you really want. There are some general questions that are common during interviews that one could prepare for, just as one would for medical school or a PhD program. Interviewers probably want to know what kind of person you are, why you want to be a pharmacist, your future plans, and about your life experiences; they will ask you questions that will better gauge your fit for their program. Most pharmacy students have great scores on paper, and they want to know if there is more to a candidate than a bookworm lifestyle. Think of what sets one person apart from others? Think of experiences a candidate holds prior to applying to pharmacy school, leadership qualities, service in many organizations, etc.

Practicing general questions in front of a mirror or your friends and family could assist you in familiarizing yourself with the interview process. This could allow you to see the facial expressions that your interviewers will look at, and whether you speak confidently or mumble words when answering questions in front of friends or family. Think of questions that you would ask a pharmacy student. Some questions could be:

Why do you want to be a pharmacist?
What kind of a pharmacist do you want to be and why (hospital, retail, industry, specialty)?
What experiences do you have working in pharmacy?
Why do you want to bo to this pharmacy school compared to others?
If there is one thing in your life you would like to do over, what would it be?
Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 15 years?
What is the last book you read? Your favorite book, movie, TV show?
What do you do for fun, hobbies?
What leadership experiences do you have?
What would you do in this _______ situation ?
What do you know about this pharmacy school program and what it offers?
What do you offer? Why should we accept you?

Just as in many things in life and work, practice and preparation, amiable personality, and conveying a genuine desire to be a pharmacist could take the candidate one step further onto the road to pharmacy school.

Pharmacy Schools Spotlight: Palm Beach Atlantic University

Palm Beach Atlantic University Gregory School of Pharmacy is located in West Palm Beach, Florida. The school currently holds a class size of 75 students, which enables a preferable student to teacher ratio. This may benefit the student by allowing more personalized attention relative to schools where students could be a dime a dozen in a pool of hundreds of students. The institution is considered a Christian environment with one of the most advanced technologies in a relatively new spacious 45,000 square foot four-level facility constructed in 2004 – simply amazing! The pharmacy school also provides opportunities to affect the lives of others by serving on medical missions around the world such as Central America, South America, and Africa. The school has a ‘Walkscore’ of 83 which means it gets high ratings for having commercial areas such as parks, grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops, entertainment, etc. within walking distance of the school – in short, there is plenty of things to do nearby. It does not also hurt that the school is located right on a beautiful campus by the water. If you’d think the students could doze off or daydream in class with the beautiful view of the water, think again; the pharmacy school’s class of 2011 ranked 1st in Florida for National Association of Boards of Pharmacy Exam (NAPLEX) scores.

The pharmacy school holds three types of programs: (1) Doctor of Pharmacy, (2) Joint Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) and Masters in Business Administration (MBA) Program, and (3) a Bachelor of Science in Medicinal Chemistry. In summary, the pharmacy school is located in a great scenic location with accessible places within walking distance, within a newly constructed and spacious facility, has implemented advanced technology, provides focus on the student with a small class size, has produced successful results as evidenced by the passing rate for national pharmacy board exams, offers opportunities to serve in countries around the world with the Christian principles of serving the less fortunate, and offers a dual degree program in conjunction with the PharmD program.

Palm Beach Atlantic University Lloyd L. Gregory School of Pharmacy
901 S. Flagler Drive
West Palm Beach, FL 33401