Monday, April 30, 2012

Please use a professional email address when applying to pharmacy school!

Note: This is a reprint of an email received a couple of years ago by a colleague at another school.  I wanted to repost it as I probably saw a dozen inappropriate email addresses again this cycle.

Suggestion: I am on the admission review committee at _______ (name of school removed), and we enjoy this website - several items have made me chuckle. I have a suggestion to make regarding the use of email addresses when applicants are registering through PharmCas. Applicants - please use your school/university issued email address or one that is professional in nature. Occasionally, we see applicants using semi-inappropriate names and words in their email addresses and it does make us question the maturity of the applicant.

I would suggest not using slang terms, nicknames, or body descriptions in an email address that you are using to apply for professional school. Don't use: sexybaby@ or whosurdaddy@ You get the idea.

Will you be rejected for using such an email address? Undoubtedly, no. But, please be professional in your approach.

Thank you and keep up the good work.

Response: Thank you for the advice. I agree 100%.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Question about Letters of Recommendation (LOR) for pharmacy school

Question: I am applying to multiple schools through Pharmcas.  Some require 2 letters and others require as many as 4.  How do I choose what schools get the right letters?

Answer: Simple answer - you cannot.  If you are applying to a school through PharmCas that requires 4 LORs, each of the PharmCas schools will see all four letters even if they only require two.

Hope that helps.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Questions about getting into pharmacy school

Question: I didn't do to well in high school, and i decided to take some college courses at the same time. They were only electives and my college allows u to retake the class and replace it with the higher grade.Do pharmacy schools look at repeat attempts as a bad thing? Also my first semester of college i only took 2 classes per term but now i started taking 5 almost every semester. Will my first year of college be frowned upon? My science and math GPA is a 3.6 and my overall is a 3.7 and i am at a community college with on of the top science programs in the state, do pharmacy schools care if you finished your pre reqs at a community college and are you favored more if you went to a university? I am finsished with 2/3 of my chemistry and biology and done with math, would now be a good time to apply for pharmacy school? I would appreciate your advice on all of this, please and thank you.

Answer: There are a lot of questions here and I will do my best to answer them piece by piece:

-Do pharmacy schools look at repeat attempts as a bad thing? It depends. 
 If I see an applicant has taken Organic Chemsitry 4 times because he/she failed twice and then withdrew before passing the course, it is safe to say that this would have a negative impact on the applicant. We look at an entire transcript, so even though your school might replace a low grad with a higher one, your transcript will show them all and everything will be factored into our decision.

 -Will my first year of college be frowned upon?
The courseload you take is important and many of us feel that an applicant is more apt to be successful if he/she is accustomed to completing a rigorous schedule as you will face in pharmacy school. It sounds like your more recent semesters would provide enough evidence that you are capable.

-do pharmacy schools care if you finished your pre reqs at a community college and are you favored more if you went to a university? I am finsished with 2/3 of my chemistry and biology and done with math, would now be a good time to apply for pharmacy school?
Yes and No. This is a tricky question. What we are concerned about is the applicant's ability to successfully complete our program. If your grades and test scores are close to what the average admissions statistics are for a given school, you should be competitive and applying now would make sense.

 Good luck and please keep us posted.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Can I overcome poor grades and get into Pharmacy school?

Question: I recently saw your blog and decided to ask for your opinion. I still have a lot of pre-reqs I need to take, however, my GPA is extremely low right now and I feel as if my transcript has to be one of the worst I've heard of in a while. I'm not sure what my exact GPA is as I have transcripts from a few different schools (i'm a military spouse and we've had to relocate many times) and have never put them together. The main worries about my transcript: I have 6 C's three are in elective classes, another is in General Chemistry (I retook this class and originally had a D), one in Economics, and the last was in a Pre-Calculus course but that one isn't considered a prerequisite. I got an F in General Biology so I'm obviously retaking this course soon. I also have 4 W's all which have valid reasons for. I am currently taking Anatomy & Physiology I but from how things are going it seems like I'll be getting yet another C. As this is quite embarrassing, I am in desperate need of advice. My first question: With my Anatomy course, should I add it to the list of C's or should I drop it and receive another W? I still have all of the other science pre-reqs to take and I still have not taken the PCAT. ANY advice you can offer will be greatly appreciated. I just don't know where to go from here, or even if I should continue. Please help!

Answer: I am going to be honest - you have an uphill battle in front of you. It will be impossible for any committee person to overlook all of courses that you seem to have struggled with. When I see a W or a D in a class, I can live with that. However, multiple W's and poor grades spells trouble for an applicant. The concern would be that once in pharmacy school, you don't have the option of withdrawing and trying again - it's pretty much sink or swim.

It is not my position to tell you that you can't get admitted, but pharmacy school is very competitive and you've placed yourself at a disadvantage. My sincere suggestion would be to contact the nearest school of pharmacy (or one that you might want to apply to) and ask to meet with an Admissions counselor. Bring your transcripts and ask him/her for an honest assessment of what your chances would be at that school.

Good luck.