Applying to professional school can be a stressful time for anybody. Getting together applications, taking the required tests, and traveling to schools for interviews load on a series of important tasks. However, at the end of the four-year program, students will have earned their Doctorate of Pharmacy and can be fully licensed. This set of tips will help students looking to apply to pharmacy school by easing any sense of stress and helping students appear their best.
1. Complete the necessary applications and prerequisites as early as possible
Many pharmacy schools participate in rolling admissions. This process means that programs start accepting students within the application period and continue as more applications are received. The earlier a student applies ensures that the application gets reviewed multiple times in the context of other students’ applications. Furthermore, students that have completed all of their prerequisites, or already have their bachelor’s degree, are often viewed more favorably in the admissions process because they are more likely to be viable candidates for matriculation.
2. Sign up for the PCAT early in order to avoid late fees
PCAT is the required pharmacy admissions test of many U.S. pharmacy schools. The test is usually administered in September, January, and July. Thus, it is imperative that students plan accordingly in order to allow for test results to be sent to their respective schools. Additionally, administering dates are limited and popular days of the week fill up fast at testing sites. Be proactive in looking up dates and attempt to sign up as early as possible. The late fees associated with not signing up on time are significantly large.
3. Don’t stress over interviews
The interview portion of the application is simply required to make sure the student is just as interested in the particular program as the school is interested in the student. Most pharmacy schools manipulate their interviews into full days that include information sessions and campus tours. The school wants you to feel warm and invited at the school while learning more about their program. Often, the interviews consist of a staff/faculty panel with the occasional student interviewer. The interviews generally aim to see how the student communicates and if they do so clearly. Furthermore, the interviewers want to get to know who you are and see how you represent yourself when not using a paper application.
4. Dress and act appropriately
If you are invited for an interview day, dress and act appropriately. Students are being interviewed for a professional school and should thus dress professionally. Suits or dress suits are the necessary uniform for these types of settings. Additionally, students are expected to act professionally. Addressing the faculty using their appropriate titles goes a long way. General courtesies such as saying thank you and holding the door open for others may give just the right impression to the admissions committee that will be evaluating your application later that week.
5. Get to know the program before arriving on campus
While learning about the program and the services they offer helps answer questions asked by the staff about why you want to attend, it also sets up the student to come prepared with questions. Getting to know the program is a large part of the day. Coming prepared with questions allows the student to get the most of the information sessions and campus tour by not having to continuously think on their feet.
6. Set yourself up for success
Finally, setting yourself up for success will be the best way to prepare for the application process. This process means participating in extracurricular activities that yield leadership service and community involvement. These activities could be as simple as creating your own student organization or organizing a community 5K one weekend. Furthermore, previous pharmacy experience goes a long way in convincing the admissions committee that you want to become a pharmacist. The experience shows the school that the student has seriously considered the profession and will be more likely to matriculate into their particular program. Using these tips should significantly ease the admissions process. Ultimately, help yourself by getting ahead of the ball. Complete the PCAT, your applications, and your prerequisites early in order to be the most viable candidate.