Sunday, February 24, 2013

Interviewing at a pharmacy school where I was waitlisted last year

Question: I got invite for an interview with this one school (I had an interview with them last year) except this time it's about a month earlier. I was on their waitlist last year. This is my 2nd time interview at this school.

just want to know what should I expect on the 2nd time?

also, during my interview should I mention about last time I had an interview here? or what should I do to get accepted the 2nd time?

so nervous because this might be my ONLY interview for this year.

Answer:  Great question. First of all, I commend you for reapplying to the same school even though you were not accepted last year. I think applicants sometimes give up their dreams too quickly instead of persevering.

Next, I should preface my advice to you with some general guidance: I would advise all applicants who are rejected or waitlisted to contact the school and ask how to improve your application. We get this phone call occasionally, but not nearly enough in my opinion. In many cases, we really do have a solution for how the applicant can improve. It might be as simple as improving your PCAT chem score, gaining some pharmacy experience, rewriting your personal statement to better indicate why you want to become a pharmacist, or improving one's interviewing skills.

To answer your question, I think you should expect the interview to be pretty similar to what you experienced last year. In that regard, you should be relaxed relative to your peers who might not know what to expect.

My advice to you would be (and this would impress me tremendously): Let the interviewer know that you had the opportunity to interview last year and were waitlisted, but you had such a desire to attend this particular school that you worked diligently to improve your application. At this point, add in anything you did which might impress an interviewer: Did you get a pharmacy job or shadow an RP? Did you take additional courses or retake the PCAT if that was an issue? Basically, tell them why you are a better candidate now than you were at this time last year.

I might add, hopefully without sounding too parental, that if an applicant has done nothing to improve their application from one year to the next, that they should not expect a different result than was achieved the first time.

Good luck. I hope that you will let us know how the interview goes.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I got accepted to my top choice for pharmacy school! Can I cancel a deposit check mailed to another school?

I was admitted to a school and paid their sizable deposit with a personal check last week. Today I found out that I was admitted to my school of choice. How wrong would it be to cancel the check for the first school? Or if I notified them of the situation and asked them not to cash the check, would they agree? I assume they have the check now but it hasn't cleared and I'd hate to lose all that money. Help please!

I wish I could answer this one for you, but this really is between you and the school. I suppose you could argue that a school hasn't officially accepted the deposit until the check is actually cashed, but that might be splitting hairs. I would discourage you from simply canceling the check without any mention of it to the school.

If I had to make a recommendation, it would be to call the school and explain that you mailed them a check with the intention of attending their school of pharmacy.  Inform them, however, that in the past day or two (or however long ago), you were admitted to another school and that you would like to respectfully decline the first school's offer of admission.  During that conversation, request that the deposit check not be cashed.  Inform them that you will be canceling the check during that conversation and follow up with a polite email stating the same so that you have documentation of it.

Good luck.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Does physical appearance matter during an interview?

I am not trying to troll or anything but simply wanted to see how people react to this question... Does physical attractiveness gain you brownie points at an interview?

If the answer is yes maybe I should start pumping iron . Maybe I should worry about getting an interview first....

Interesting question.  I can honestly say that appearance (in terms of attractiveness) is something I have never considered, however, I also realize that as human beings we aren't perfect. I imagine there could be someone, somewhere who tacitly or subconsciously may give an advantage to attractive applicants.

Let me be very clear - I have never heard a committee member discuss an applicant's "attractiveness" during a committee meeting. But, I think we would be naive to assume it has never entered an interviewer's mind.

More importantly, while on this topic, if someone were to arrive at an interview dressed sloppily or unprofessionally, appearance would undoubtedly be a topic of conversation for the committee. That has happened many times.

I hope this helps.