Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone has a relaxing and enjoyable Thanksgiving weekend. I certainly appreciate everyone who has contributed to this site and to the forum. We hope that you will share the site with a classmate, colleague, or friend.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What are my chances #3

Question: I'm a community college student and I'm planning to apply for a pharmacy school.

I took the PCAT last September and the result was:

Verbal ability: 412/68
biology: 417/75
Reading comprehension: 396/38
Quantitative Ability: 447/95
Chemistry: 405/53
Composite: 415/73

Conventions of language: 2.5/2.74
Problem solving: 2.5/2.77

My GPA is 3.58 and I don't have any experience in pharmacy retails.

Here is my question: My chemistry and reading comprehension are awful, but I belonged to the top 3% on national organic chemistry by which the head of chemistry department is going to write a really good LOR for me. Is it considered helpful and to increase my chances? If I have some other volunteers at church and non-profit art organization, do they also help?

I don't know whether I'm qualified to apply for pharmacy school. Overall, I feel like something is missing.

Answer: To be clear, your Chemistry and Reading scores on the PCAT are not "awful". The average score of admitted students is probably higher, but I have seen many, many applicants get interviews and offers of admission with worse PCAT results than yours.

Your GPA > 3.5 and this is a huge plus for you. Plus, a composite score of 73 is very good. Performing as well as you've indicated in Organic Chemistry will definitely help your chances as would a letter of recommendation from a professor (or chair) in that area.

I think you might be surprised at how strong of an applicant you are. That being said, and as I advise all students, I would encourage you to apply to more than one pharmacy school to increase your chances. It is never wise to put all of your eggs in one basket.

Good luck.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What are my chances #2

Question: Hello, I applied to pharmacy schools and interviewed with one of the schools recently.
I am really worried about my chances of getting admitted to the school since my stats are not that great.
Can you comment on my stats as a member of admission committee point of view?

My PCAT scores are > 80 except a low reading.

My GPAs are > 3.0

I am really really worried because my verbal and reading section are way too low since I am an international student.

Can you please comment on these?

Answer: Assuming the rest of your application is acceptable, the primary issue that an AdCom would have is with your Verbal and Reading scores, as you pointed out. However, I think most of us use the score primarily to help us identify an area that might be a concern rather than to keep someone out of pharmacy school. In your case, because your other areas are so strong, I would have no trouble admitting you assuming that your interview went well.

One of the main concerns that pharmacy schools have is the risk of sending students into clinical sites who might not be able to confidently ask and answer questions due to a language barrier. If we sense that this might be an issue, it is usually because of low PCAT Verbal/Reading scores, a poorly written personal statement, or perhaps a letter of recommendation notes a concern. The only way we can confirm or deny this is during the interview.

My personal experience is that only on very rare occasions have I felt that a student was ill equipped to be a pharmacist due to communication issues. More frequently, students (even those who are not native English speakers) perform just fine during the interview and put these concerns to rest.

I hope that helps. I wish you the best.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What are my chances?

Question: I recently took the PCAT and submitted my application for admission into a pharmacy school. I have a question regarding my GPA and PCAT scores which are as follows:

Verbal Ability: 432/89%
Biology: 435/91%
Reading: 450/97%
Quantitative: 403/47%
Chemistry: 449/95%
Composite: 434/94%

Conventions of Language: 2.5, Mean~2.74
Problem Solving: 2.5, Mean~2.77

My question is: Although my overall GPA at 3.59 and composite PCAT score at 94 percentile are decent, will my quantitative score of 47 and writing scores at 2.5's make me less appealing as a pharmacy school candidate? I didn't have time to finish these sections adequately. I would greatly appreciate your insight regarding my chances of getting into the pharmacy school of my choice.

Asnwer: Your GPA and PCAT scores are excellent and you will be a very competitive applicant at any school of pharmacy. Personally, I do not think that you need to be concerned about your average Quant score or writing score. As long as your statement and letters of recommendation are outstanding, I think you will have multiple interviews and likely admission offers.

Congrats and good luck.