Pharmacy School - Application
While many pharmacy schools use the PharmCAS application, each school has different deadline submission dates. It is important for you to know the deadlines for the schools/programs that you plan to apply to as well as any requirements. PharmCAS has the most up-to-date list of participating schools. PharmCAS also provides a quick checklist (PDF) to help you prepare your application, although you should still review the complete instructions (PDF).
Some schools have supplemental application material or a school specific application they will want you to complete in addition to your PharmCAS application. How you complete the supplemental application and when you turn it in varies by school. Some schools will want you to turn it in with your Pharmcas Application while others will forward you instructions for completing the supplemental application once they have received your Pharmcas application. The supplemental application is not a secondary – it is reviewed with your PharmCAS application in determining if you will receive an invitation to interview. To determine if you need to complete a supplemental application, review the PSAR specific admissions requirements of each school (PDF).
The PCAT Pharmacy College Admission Test is a multiple choice general aptitude test that measures five content areas: Verbal Ability, Reading Comprehension, Quantitative Ability, Biology and Chemistry. A little more than half of all pharmacy schools require the PCAT for admission. Most California pharmacy programs do not require the PCAT for admission. PharmCAS provides an up-to-date list by institution. PharmCAS lists PCAT test dates and registration deadlines. PharmCAS also provides information regarding other standardized tests that might be needed based on specific situations.
Letters of recommendation are critical. Letter requirements vary from school to school but generally, three letters of recommendation are required. It is also wise to obtain a letter from a pharmacist who can speak to your interests and knowledge of pharmacy. PharmCAS provides information on school reference requirements. Remember, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure you are submitting the correct letters for each school.
You can influence the quality of your letter by providing your letter writer with useful information that will aid them in preparing your letter: a copy of your transcripts, your resume, a copy of your personal statement discussing why you want to be a pharmacist. You should plan on meeting with your letter writers to discuss the letter they will write you.
Electronic letters are strongly preferred. Follow the instructions on PharmCAS to confirm what you need to submit as well as how your writers can upload your letters. PharmCAS does not accept more than four letters of recommendation. Additional letters can be sent directly to the individual school if the school accepts additional letters. Review PharmCAS for school reference requirements.
A written statement of purpose is required in the admission process. In your statement, plan on addressing why you selected pharmacy as your career. The statement is an important aspect of the application and should receive careful attention. This is your opportunity to discuss how
your relevant personal background and interests, education, and experiences have led you to pursue a Doctor of Pharmacy education. Take time to review and edit your statement as many times as needed. Select individuals who know you to either personally or professionally to read your statement and provide feedback. You are allotted 1 page or 4500 characters including spaces. Refer to the PharmCAS instructions (PDF) for complete details as well as the Career Center's Graduate School Statement webpage.
Interviews are offered to applicants whom pharmacy schools deem competitive. Most schools require you to interview as the next step in the admission process. Interviews will vary from school to school; you may be interviewed by a faculty member and an advanced pharmacy student or you may be interviewed as part of a group. When you are offered an interview, research the type of interview each school conducts so that you can best prepare yourself.
The interview helps the school get to know you better. Like a job interview, schools are looking at you from a professional point of view. You may be asked questions regarding your accomplishments, why you selected pharmacy, your educational and experiential background, your communication skills, how you cope with change, stress or conflict, and your decision making and problem solving skills. Prior to your interview, take time to review your application, research the school and practice your interviewing. About Pharmacy School offers some tips and suggestions to help you prepare.
Interviewing for Health Professions offers some tips and suggestions to help you prepare for your interviews.