How to Get into Pharmacy School as a PharmD Candidate
What Does Pharmacy School Entail?
Typical School of Pharmacy Admissions Requirements
PharmD school application materials
4 Steps to Become a Competitive Pharmacy School Applicant
If you want to get into a school of pharmacy, it helps to prepare. While none of the following steps guarantee acceptance, they may help you become a more competitive pharmacy school applicant. Here’s what you might consider doing from high school through undergrad to applying to PharmD school.
- Improve your GPA.
Your grade point average from your most recent school will likely be a determining factor in pharmacy school acceptance. Because science and math courses are so important as prerequisites, focus on improving your grades in classes like biology, chemistry, math and science labs.
The St. John Fisher College Pharm.D. Online program states that while cumulative and science GPAs of 2.75 are generally considered minimally competitive, most students who are accepted into their program have performed at a much higher level. You might look into tutoring, honors and advanced placement classes if there are opportunities to increase your GPA.
- Get pharmacy experience.
Work or volunteer experience in the field of pharmacy can help you stand out as an applicant. If you’re in high school, you might try getting a part-time job at a pharmacy. Or you can volunteer in a healthcare setting like a hospital.
If you’re in college, check with your career services department about hands-on pharmacy opportunities such as an internship. There may also be student organizations based in pharmaceutical sciences that you can join, so you can connect with resources and professionals in the field and find opportunities to gain pharmacy experience.
- Prep for the PCAT.
Excellent PCAT scores can help you stand out as a candidate. Even if they’re not required, some pharmacy schools state you can submit your scores if you think they’ll help show your academic preparedness for a PharmD program. Check with your school’s recommended score for admittance so you know what to aim for.
Tips to prepare for the PCAT include:
Researching the test format and using study guides, like those from Kaplan.
Completing coursework that’s covered on the PCAT before taking the exam.
Taking the PCAT as early as you can, so you have the opportunity to retake it if you need to before applying to school.
You may wish to study for the PCAT for 90 minutes a day for a month leading up to your test. Be consistent with studying, so you retain more information and increase your chance of a better score.
- Practice for an interview.
Before an interview as part of the application process, practice can help you prepare. A 2020 survey of 2,018 people by JDP found 93% of Americans have anxiety related to job interviews. A grad school interview is like a job interview. You’ll be asked about your past experience, what your goals are and why you’re qualified for PharmD school.
To ease any nerves, practice interviewing with someone before your pharmacy school interview. You might ask a teacher or professor to help you since they’ll likely know what types of questions you might be asked and may provide helpful feedback. Get a good night’s sleep before your interview, so you’re focused and energized. Take some deep breaths and try to exude confidence during your interview.