Friday, May 27, 2011

Working as a 1st year pharmacy student - retail vs hospital

Question: I will begin my first year of pharmacy school this fall without having any type of pharmacy experience. I would like to get some hands on real world experience while in school. Would you recommend I look for a job in a hospital or a drug store?

Answer: Based on my own experience as well as conversations with many, many students and pharmacists over the years, I would probably recommend your first job be in a hospital pharmacy setting. Here is the reason why: Hospital pharmacy requires a set of skills that if learned early will help you tremendously as your education progresses. Being familiar with various injectable drugs and how to prepare admixtures is something that many pharmacy students never learn until they begin a hospital pharmacy clerkship.

In my opinion, it is "easier" to learn how to be a community/drug store pharmacist than it is to be a hospital pharmacist. Please understand - I am not saying that one profession is better than the other. If I had to do it all over again, I would start my intern work at a hospital pharmacy and try to learn the business of retail pharmacy with an additional part time job (maybe with an independent pharmacy) in the summer.

Thanks for your question.

A follow up on writing to pharmacy schools when on a waitlist

Another follow up regarding waiting lists:

Pepcid PharmD said...
I was waitlisted at my top choice until recently. I was fortunate enough to have other options. After I got into my first school, I wrote a letter of intent talking about how impressed I was by Top Choice, I'm up to this and that, I got into another school but if accepted I will absolutely attend Top Choice. The school ranked its waitlist a few weeks ago, and I was accepted the very next day.

Was it because I wrote a letter? I can't say for sure. My school has been known to string along waitlisted candidates through the summer. I do think that the letter helped, particularly because I was accepted immediately upon the AdCom ranking the waitlist.

I congratulate you on your acceptance. I am always impressed by succinct well written letters of intent and thank you notes - for those who have followed the blog for some time, you know that I encourage applicants to do this. If anyone has additional questions on the topic, please let me know.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What do I do while on a waiting list?

In response to a post I made last week about being waitlisted, was the following commnent:

Peggy said...

I can appreciate that being waitlisted is better than being completely rejected, but how is someone supposed to plan? What if their preferred school is across country? There are a lot of factors that need to be taken into consideration, especially if someone has more than just themselves to worry about.

As AdComs, we realize the stress that comes with being placed on a pharmacy school alternate or waiting list. It is our hope and intent to fill our classes with the most qualified candidates as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, for many schools, that process can take a long time. It is my recommendation that you contact the schools where you have interviewed and have been placed on a waiting list with a succinct email (preferably to the Director of Admissions) such as this:

Dear _____,

My name is ____________ and I am a prospective student for the _________ Pharmacy Class of 2015. I interviewed at ________________ on _____ and was immediately impressed by the faculty and facilities of your institution. I am currently on the waitlist for the class matriculating this fall and hope that you will consider me as a strong candidate for admission. It is a dream of mine to become a pharmacist and I would represent _____________ in an exemplary manner as both a student and future graduate. I hope to hear from you soon.



Good luck to everyone and please keep us informed.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Being waitlisted isn't the end of the world

As many applicants start to get anxious as they wait on alternate lists for pharmacy school admissions, I thought it appropriate to re-post my thoughts on the subject:

I recently had a conversation with someone I have been advising through the process. She applied and interviewed at her preferred school, but was then informed that she was going to be "Waitlisted". She was extremely disappointed and I understand that, but I would also remind you that it is not uncommon either. A significant number of applicants who are ultimately accepted were waitlisted (or designated as an alternate) by a school at some point during the process. Don't despair if you fall into this category. There are several months between now and school starting next fall and lots will happen between now and then. I have seen students get admitted the day or the week that school starts before.

Hang in there. Regularly contact the school(s) to let them know that you are still interested and would love to matriculate there if the opportunity exists.

Keep us posted on your status and please consider sharing your experiences on our forum -