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.