How to Prepare for Pharmacy School



Pharmacy school is very competitive, and unfortunately even those who may do well during the interviews, have solid GPA and PCAT scores, and other qualifications may be passed by for various reasons only known to each school’s admissions committee. However, below are some advice on preparing for pharmacy school for those that are interested in getting to know more about the career, and for those that plan on applying to pharmacy school.

Working or volunteering in a hospital or retail pharmacy may give you the best perspective on a pharmacist’s day to day. In addition, it will give you opportunities to network with other pharmacy employees to ask questions. If after the experience of working in a pharmacy does not suit your interests or career goals, you may have just saved many years or rigorous studies and considerable financial investment into a career that you did not enjoy. For those that did prefer the experience, this further affirms any doubts you may have had in your selection and will better prepare you to answer the question most often given during PharmD admissions interviews, “Why do you want to be a pharmacist?”

Enroll and study diligently in pertinent science and mathematics courses. Good performances and higher GPAs undoubtedly are a given for most pharmacy school admission requirements.

Ask current pharmacy students or pharmacists any questions you may have about their lives.

Find out about the different types of job opportunities that are available for pharmacists. You could also peruse through the page of pharmacy jobs.

Join pre-pharmacy clubs or organizations to get the latest information about the profession.

Plan enrolling in courses that count towards meeting your pharmacy school admission requirements.

Plan on studying well ahead of time for the PCAT (pharmacy competency admission test), or enrolling in PCAT preparatory courses in anticipation for taking the test. Higher PCAT scores could better one’s chances of being considered by the admissions committee. Planning when to take the PCAT exam (http://www.pcatweb.info) should give one an idea of when to begin studying for the test.

Plan out which pharmacy school(s) and/or location is the right fit for you. You could use our PharmD programs directory to find the available PharmD programs in your target state, and compare the location walkscores right here. Review the admissions requirements of each school carefully, as many schools have several variations in their criteria. Research the pharmacy school that you are interested in applying to. Look at the professors, diversity of programs that are offered, as well as their FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page.

Apply on the PharmCAS website (http://www.pharmcas.org/). Some pharmacy schools may not use PharmCAS, so check the application requirements of each pharmacy school.

If an interview is requested by the pharmacy school, make sure proper professional attire is worn and much practice in responding to interview questions are done. Interviews are an important aspect of the process. Many interviewers look for information about the candidate’s potential and personality, leadership qualities, or how they could benefit the pharmacy school. Displaying passion, a positive attitude, and professionalism is a plus.

Pharmacy school admissions is very competitive for many reasons (eg. limited seats, increase in competitive applicants, reputation, etc) and not everyone (even those with solid applications) will make the cut. However, if an admission to the school is offered, then congratulations! If more than one school has given the offer of acceptance, then some research may have to be done to assess which pharmacy school is the best fit as noted above (eg. location, costs, diversity, reputation, etc). Good luck!

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