Student Perspective: The First Month of PY1

A blog post from Jenna Wood, Class of 2017.

The first month of PY1 can be a whirlwind of an experience. You are just starting pharmacy school, meeting new people, and still getting used to where everything is. For me, the first few weeks of school were one of the most exciting and stressful times of the year. Acronyms for different organizations to join are getting thrown at you, such as SHAC, CAPS, and TCCP, and it can be hard to keep everything straight! You are also still learning the names and faces of those in your class. So learning from experience, I have a few pieces of advice for surviving the first few weeks of pharmacy school. First, make the most of orientation day. This is a great time to meet your fellow classmates and learn about all the student organizations. Some of the people I have met that day have become some of my best friends in pharmacy school. Make sure to ask questions and collect fliers at the organization fair after orientation to learn about all the organizations that ESOP has to offer.  Second, mark down in your planner or whatever type of calendar you use when all the interest meetings for the organizations are, and try to go to them! Even if you aren’t interested after learning more about them, most will at least offer a free lunch or some other incentive. And lastly, if you are stressed or having a hard time adjusting to pharmacy school, reach out to a PY2/PY3, faculty member, or anyone else who has been through pharmacy school. They know how you feel and can be a great resource for you! For me, this was my pharmacist that I had been working with for the past year at Harris Teeter. He assured me that it was definitely an adjustment, but that I’d eventually figure everything out and find my place. I didn’t know it at the time, but he was right!

Being A Competitive Applicant

Students often ask – how can I become a more competitive applicant? This is a tricky question – as there isn’t an exact answer. We aren’t looking for a checklist of things in your application which you can complete, and not every admitted student has the same profile or background. Ultimately, we’re trying to build a class of diverse, well-rounded students, who are passionate about pharmacy and want to be leaders in the profession. We review each application holistically, which means we look at the entire application and interview performance when making an admissions decision. Successful students in our program are not only academically qualified, but well-rounded students outside the classroom. We look at your academic performance in prerequisite courses, PCAT scores, extracurricular involvement, work experience, leadership experience, examples of undergraduate or professional research, pharmacy or health-care experience, and how you did in the interview process when making a decision.

So, how can you be a more competitive applicant?

First, have a strong academic record. Aim for A’s and B’s in prereq classes. Study for the PCAT, and aim to get at least a 70 on the composite score, and at least a 50 on the subsections. Our average accepted student composite score was an 87 last year.

Be a well rounded student. What are your interests outside the classroom? Are you involved in a club, organization, or community service activity? Do you have a part-time job? Are you a leader in your job or organization? In terms of your involvement outside the classroom, quality over quantity. It’s better to be highly involved in fewer organizations, and to become a leader in one of those organizations, rather than being involved in lots of organizations with little commitment.

Take the time to explore healthcare and the pharmacy profession. If you have the opportunity to shadow a pharmacist, or volunteer in a clinic or hospital, do it! You’ll be better prepared to write your personal statement if you’ve seen a pharmacist in action, and understand the pharmacist’s role in healthcare.

Much of our curriculum requires high level critical and innovative thinking. We recommend students get involved in research or an experience that requires innovation or entrepreneurship in their undergraduate years to prepare them. Learning to look at a problem critically, developing an argument or solution to that problem, and testing that solution will be a process you utilize frequently in our PharmD program.

We look at all of these factors when reviewing your application to make an admissions decision. Ultimately, we want to make sure you’ll be academically prepared and a good fit for our program.

Student Perspective: OTC Jeopardy

A blog post from Jacob Maraedy, Class of 2017.

Every semester, the NCAP Liasons as well as some of the faculty here at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy host an event in early April called OTC Jeopardy. This event serves as a good resource for second year students to review for our cumulative final in our self-care course, as well as helps us select a team to represent UNC in the OTC Jeopardy competition at NCAP held each fall.  This past spring I was able to participate in this event along with my good friends Kerri McEnroe, Evan Colmenares, and Amanda Gorman. It was definitely a good way to review for our OTC final and also was a great way to interact with other students from all different classes.


While participating in this event, I realized just how much variety of events and opportunities are offered to us as students at UNC, and particularly to those students who choose to become members of CAPS and get involved within the organization. For those who are not aware, CAPS stands for the Carolina Association of Pharmacy Students. In addition to OTC, we also have annual Psychiatric, Cardiology, and Diabetes Jeopardy events to help students review pertinent information for caring for patients. Additionally, there are countless opportunities to serve others in the community through CAPS that can vary from Karing with Kroger events to making Valentine’s Day cards for patients at the hospital. There is truly something for everyone to find interesting and become passionate about here, no matter how diverse their interests are.


I am blessed to be able to attend such an amazing school where I have so many outstanding opportunities to develop myself as a pharmacist but more importantly as a person. As a student at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, a person truly does have unlimited potential to grow into all they want to become and more, and for that, I am so thankful to attend this university and be surrounded by the amazing people that make it as amazing as it is.

Student Perspective: Pharmacy School: Experiences Outside of the United States

A blog post from Evan Colmenares, Class of 2017. 

Did you know that you could go on international experiences while enrolled as a student pharmacist? One of our students, Amanda Gorman, is going to Costa Rica this year to learn the role of a pharmacist there and actually interact with patients in a hospital, community, or research setting with the International Pharmaceutical Students Federation.


Amanda wanted to participate in a student exchange program because she is passionate about global engagement and wanted to have the opportunity to experience how other countries view the practice of pharmacy. She completed a Spanish for the Medical Professions minor in undergrad, so she wanted the opportunity to participate in an international experience that would use her Spanish language skills. Additionally, she finds this a great opportunity to advance her clinical skills.


How did she prepare for this opportunity? Amanda applied early in the semester – September/October and ranked Costa Rica highly because she wanted to work with an underserved country – however, this is not a requirement. She also has volunteered with the Student Health Action Coalition (SHAC), both working in the clinic as the student pharmacist on an interdisciplinary team and as a HIV counselor.


Learn more at:

Frequently Asked Questions

Many students have questions about our Admissions process, and about our PharmD program. The best place to start with any questions you might have is our Frequently Asked Questions page on our website. This is a great resource where we have the most up-to-date answers regarding the most commonly asked questions. Take a look!

If you have a question that isn’t on the FAQ page, feel free to send us an

Student Perspective: Pharmaceutical Care Lab and Compounding

A blog post from Amanda D’Ostroph, Class of 2017.

The Pharmaceutical Care Lab that we have in pharmacy school is very different from undergraduate biology and chemistry labs. We use lab time for more practical activities such as patient counseling, vital signs, blood glucose screenings, and aseptic technique for IV bags. Our labs are held in small groups of 8 to 10 students and are led by a 3rd year or resident TA. Every day we learned practical skills that are needed for our future careers as pharmacists.

One of my favorite aspects of Pharmaceutical Care Lab is when we get to compound medications. Compounding involves preparing personalized medications for a patient. The individual ingredients are mixed together in the exact strength and dosage form required by the patient to provide them the best treatment. At the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, compounding is unique from other schools because we prepare 4-6 compounds per semester over five semesters rather than a single course during one semester. Dr. Robert Shrewsbury instructs us via his textbook, lectures, and videos. We are very blessed to call him our own and have him at UNC because he is a very well-known in the world of compounding. The textbooks he wrote and his videos are used by other schools of pharmacy and for advanced online training in compounding.

When we are compounding a medication in lab we go through the process from start to finish, as if it were a real life scenario. Prior to coming to lab we are provided with a prescription and formulation record detailing how to prepare the medication. We follow the lecture and instructional videos to assist us in making our product. After packaging them with an accurate prescription label, Dr. Shrewsbury tests the finished product to ensure they were made correctly. We also cover the main counseling points of the drug we compounded with our TA as if they are patient receiving the medication.

Pharmaceutical Care Lab is just one of many opportunities here at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy that allows you to grow and develop into the best pharmacist you can be for your patients.

Class of 2019


We were excited to welcome 152 new members of the Class of 2019 to campus for a cook-out last night and orientation today. You can find more pictures from orientation here. It’s been a lot of fun to work with them this past year throughout the admissions process, and we’re looking forward to following their next four years at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy as student pharmacists. What a great group of students! Orientation started at 8:00am, and they started arriving at 7:00am – talk about eager! Let’s hope they continue that trend when classes start later this week 🙂


Check out the profile for the Class of 2019. You can find more information about the types of students we’re looking for in the admissions process here.