About the alternate list

Unfortunately, we do not have enough spots in our class to admit every strong student, so we offer some students a spot on the alternate list. Being offered an alternate list spot means that we are interested in you and believe you would be a good fit for our program, but we simply do not have any spots open in the class.

Every year, we lose students throughout the spring semester, as they receive and accept offers of admission from other pharmacy programs. Whenever a student declines our offer, we will re-evaluate the students on our alternate list to fill that spot.


How many students do you accept off your alternate list?

It varies. We lose students every year, but some years more students decline than other years. We are not able to anticipate how many students will decline our offer. It’s impossible to say if a spot will open up for each student on the alternate list.

When will I hear back about whether I’ve been admitted off the alternate list?

You can expect to hear back anytime between now and mid-July. We try to make admissions decisions as quickly as possible and admit students off the alternate list as soon as a spot opens up.

Do you rank the alternate list?

No, we do not.

Should I accept a spot on the alternate list?

If you are still interested in the program, I would recommend accepting the offer. If you’ve been admitted to your 1st choice program, or don’t feel that UNC is the right fit for you, then you should decline the alternate list. Please don’t accept an alternate list spot if you are not interested in the program, as you would be taking that spot away from another applicant.

Can I contact you if I don’t hear back?

Yes, feel free to contact us (pharmacy_admissions@unc.edu) to check on your application status. At the latest, we will let you know by mid-July, but you might hear back from us sooner.


Meet the Ambassador: Alexandra Cervantes

Meet Alexandra! She had an internship with a pharmaceutical company in undergrad, chose UNC because it was the right fit for her education and future career, and really loves cats.


Alexandra Cervantes, Class of 2018, Chapel Hill Campus
Hometown: Yuba City, California
Prior Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of California, Santa Barbara

If you could have an endless supply of any one type of food, what would you choose?
If I could have an endless supply of peanut butter, then I am pretty sure my life would be complete. Peanut butter is by far my favorite food!

If you won a lottery ticket for $100 million dollars, what would you do with it?
I would purchase a large house and a few hundred cats to fill it. I love my Ragdoll cat, Boo Bear Cervantes, and enjoy spoiling him with attention. One thing I am looking forward to, once I finish my pharmacy education, is growing my cat family!

If you had one extra hour each day, how would you use it?
I would use it to spend time with my husband and cat. Pharmacy school and my internship keep me very busy, and it is hard to not be able to spend as much time with family as I would like. However, it makes the time I do get to spend with my family, during school breaks, very rewarding!

How did you get interested in pharmacy?
I got interested in pharmacy during my undergraduate education, as I recognized that while I was studying disease states I was very interested in how they were treated. My undergraduate research project focused on assessing how rare immunological diseases are treated by analyzing case reports, and compiling the data into a tool that is now used as part of the immunology curriculum at UC Santa Barbara.

What experience from undergrad best prepared you for pharmacy school?
My internship at Biogen, a pharmaceutical company, best prepared me for pharmacy school. Within that internship I was exposed to how pharmaceutical products go from research and development to actual patient use. In between that process are numerous significant steps that I was able to get hands on experience with, and I was better prepared for pharmacy school because of this overlying understanding. The pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics coursework is one of the most difficult aspects of the pharmacy curriculum, and because I had previous experience in applying these concepts, I was able to master these concepts more quickly. Furthermore, this experience enabled me to understand what aspects of a pharmaceutical product are optimal for patient use.

What advice would you give a prospective students interested in pharmacy?
My advice  is to gain as much experience in diverse areas of pharmacy before coming into pharmacy school. Not only will this make you a more competitive applicant, but also this will give you pharmacy experience that will facilitate your understanding of the pharmacy curriculum. Overall, by gaining this diverse experience, you might be able to better identify what type of career in pharmacy you would like to pursue, and then be able to focus your time in pharmacy school on becoming best prepared for that type of career.

Why did you choose the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
I chose the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy because it was truly the best fit for me. After Candidate’s Day, I was pleased to recognize that the faculty were dedicated to advancing not only their professional careers in patient care and research initiatives, but also to ensuring student pharmacists were properly prepared to be leaders in the pharmacy profession. I also felt that regardless of what my ultimate pharmacy interest would be (community, hospital, industry, academia), UNC was well equipped to help me with any interest I decided to pursue as a career. Being part of a large academic medical center is also a unique experience, as you have the opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration with numerous healthcare professionals. Overall, UNC was the best fit for me due to the level of innovation that is facilitated by faculty and students in all areas of pharmacy.

What’s been one of your favorite experiences at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy so far?
My favorite experiences at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy have revolved around my involvement with extracurricular activities. Something unique to UNC is the high quality student organizations that facilitate career development and professional development. Specifically, my involvement with the Carolina Association of Student Pharmacists has provided me with education, leadership, and networking opportunities on the local and national level.


Have more questions for Alexandra? Feel free to send her an email: alexandra_cervantes@unc.edu

Meet the Ambassador: Darryl Lewis

Meet Darryl! He pursued research and worked in a pharmacy as an undergrad, and those experiences shaped his interest in becoming a pharmacist.

Darryl Lewis

Darryl Lewis, Class of 2019, Chapel Hill Campus
Hometown: Rocky Mount, NC
Prior Education: Bachelor’s degree, North Carolina Central University

If they made a movie of your life, which actor would you cast to play you?
I would cast Cedric the Entertainer as myself.

If you could have an endless supply of any one type of food, what would you choose?
I would choose Jamaican/Caribbean food.

If you had one extra hour each day, how would you use it?
I would use it as a time to think. I would most likely spend the entire hour wondering how I still felt like I didn’t have enough time in my day.

How did you get interested in pharmacy?
I was a student researcher who wanted a more direct connection with the community. I majored in pharmaceutical sciences during my undergraduate career. While I loved science and research, I wanted to be able to interact with people at a more intimate level. Once I realized this, I started shadowing and eventually working in pharmacy and found it was the perfect fit for me.

What advice would you give a prospective students interested in pharmacy?
Take advantage of pharmacy related opportunities prior to applying to pharmacy school. Shadowing, volunteering, and even working as a pharmacy technician are not only ways to gain experience, but they confirm your interest in pharmacy and allow you to explore the many avenues that the pharmacy profession  has to offer. Before attending pharmacy school, I worked as a technician at Walgreens and shadowed a pharmacist who worked in an anticoagulation clinic. Both these experiences confirmed my desire to pursue pharmacy as career and while they are not necessary, they assist me as we learn the material of the curriculum.

Why did you choose the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
I chose the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy (ESOP) because of its vision to create innovators in the field of pharmacy. ESOP is not only a school of pharmacy that provides a tier 1 education, but it is a place filled with leaders who are currently transforming the future of the profession. ESOP provides far more than just a PharmD, but an experience that will allow its students to leave being innovators in their chosen fields of pharmacy.

What makes for a successful pharmacy student at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
To be a successful pharmacy student at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, a student must be willing to learn and think outside of the box. UNC Eshelman provides an educational experience that isn’t focused on regurgitating information, but about learning from a holistic view and applying that knowledge to today’s and even futures’s healthcare world.

Have more questions for Darryl? Feel free to send him an email: darryl_lewis@unc.edu

If you interviewed February 5th…

We promise to make admissions decisions within 2 weeks of your interview date. Sometimes we are able to release those decisions within 1 week. The Admissions Committee hasn’t quite finished making decisions on all the candidates from Friday, February 5th’s Candidates’ Day. We hope to finalize them all by early next week, and will be in touch before next Friday. Have a great weekend!

Update: We had a snow day in Chapel Hill on Monday, so our Committee review got delayed. We hope to release decisions by Friday morning.

Meet the Ambassador: Kate Summers

Meet Kate! She loves running, comes from a family of pharmacists, and wishes she had taken more non-science courses in undergrad.

Kate Summers, Class of 2018, Chapel Hill Campus
Hometown: Hickory, NC
Prior Education: Bachelor’s degree, Auburn University

If you could have an endless supply of any one type of food, what would you choose?
Sushi! I love sushi and never seem to get sick of it! I could eat it for every meal of every day.

If you won a lottery ticket for $100 million dollars, what would you do with it?
I would up my online shopping game! Also would probably get a dog, pay off mine and my friends’ student loans, and save the rest of it.

If you had one extra hour each day, how would you use it?
Running! I really enjoy running, but too often I push it aside when I get “too busy.”

How did you get interested in pharmacy?
My mom and grandfather are both pharmacists, and I worked at an independent pharmacy in high school. I never really thought I would go into pharmacy, though. But one day it hit me that I really enjoyed working in the pharmacy, learning about medications, and I have ALWAYS loved science and math. I decided on pharmacy near the end of high school and stuck with it.

What would you change about your undergraduate studies and/or preparing for pharmacy school?
I am really thankful I got an undergraduate degree; I think this has enriched my experience as a whole. Also, I would have taken more “non-science” classes just to give me a bigger body of knowledge. I don’t know much about economics or business, so I would have taken more of these classes—just for fun!

What experience from undergrad best prepared you for pharmacy school?
I did well in school and enjoyed my classes. I was not very involved in “pharmacy” organizations, but I was very involved in other organizations. I think leadership roles, whether directly related to pharmacy or not, are vital in developing general skills and preparing you for pharmacy school!

What advice would you give a prospective students interested in pharmacy?
Research the field of pharmacy! I am a second year in pharmacy school and I am still discovering new ways that pharmacists are implemented. Pharmacists can do so much, and there are a million different types of jobs within the pharmacy realm. Keep an open mind, research your option, and talk to pharmacists about what they do and how they got there.

Why did you choose the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy is simply a phenomenal school. One of the main aspects that stood out to me during Candidate’s day was how incredible the faculty are. I distinctly remember thinking, “I could go to UNC and learn directly from the author of the textbook, or I could go to another pharmacy school and learn from a textbook written by a UNC faculty member.” Plus, UNC Hospitals and other nearby hospitals are leading the field and have so much to offer us as students!

What’s been one of your favorite experiences at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy so far? (class, organization, rotation, etc)
I really enjoyed my rotation at Duke Hospital this past summer. For one month, I spent time at Duke Hospital learning from a huge variety of pharmacists. I spent 2-3 days in one area at a time, so it was a perfect opportunity for me to get to learn about the variety of activities that pharmacists can do.

What has been the most challenging part of pharmacy school?
Classes in pharmacy school are much more “dense” than classes in undergrad. Class moves at a faster pace, and each exam normally covers much more information than I was used to. I have had to learn to pay close attention and class in order to keep up with the vast amount of information that is presented.

What makes for a successful pharmacy student at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
Time management! I am constantly trying to budget my time appropriately. I consciously put in the effort to balance class time, studying, work, social activities, and sleep. All of these things are important, so it is vital that you keep an appropriate balance!

Have more questions for Kate? Feel free to send her an email: kate_summers@unc.edu

New curriculum first impressions

You may have heard that we launched a new curriculum this past fall semester. Check out this link to learn more about what makes it unique. Current PY1 student, Melanie Ayarza-Rodriguez, wanted to share some of her first impressions from the fall semester and the new curriculum.

“The new pharmacy curriculum started with the bridging course. The bridging course was mostly review, and an introduction to the important concepts we would need to know for the courses to come in the fall semester. It covered the “basics”: organic chemistry, biostatistics, math, biochemistry, and biology. It was pretty much every hard prerequisite class we took to get into pharmacy school, all in a month’s time. It was so helpful, especially for students who had been out of their groove for a while and had taken a break from school. The review course helped us ease into our fall courses and gave us a preview of what a typical day would be like at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Every day, class was held in Kerr 1001 (in Chapel Hill) and Karpen 106 (in Asheville), and free coffee is available 24 hours a day. 🙂

Then came the fall semester, where we had seven completely new classes all about diseases, medications, immunizations, and so much more! Not only did we have all these new classes, we also had 15 student organizations trying to recruit us to be a part of their circle. Immunization class was fun! If you were wondering, yes, we did give our classmates shots (just two), as it is required in order to pass the class.  The two classes we had to put in a lot of hard work for were Molecular Foundations of Drug Action and Pathophysiology of Human Disease. You get exposed to so many different topics and it all comes at you so fast, but the professors are there to help; everyone here wants to see you to succeed.

As long as you keep up with all your work and manage your time, you could participate in organizations like the Recruitment Ambassadors 🙂 or Carolina Association of Pharmacy Students (CAPS). CAPS is the largest student organization at the school. There are also professional fraternities, which focus on professional development, and other organizations that focus on community service and different areas of the pharmacy profession.

We are only a few weeks into the spring semester, but in every new class we are continuing to build on top of what we learned in the fall. We’re learning a lot about patient safety and care! School is challenging, but in a good way. The curriculum is training students to be innovative and go above and beyond to improve the health care system, and that encourages us to think outside the box and challenge ourselves.”


Meet the Ambassador: Anna Drew Jackson

Meet Anna Drew! She loves traveling and catching up on TV shows when she’s not studying, and enjoyed her summer pharmacy rotation at the VA hospital.


Anna Drew Jackson, Class of 2018, Chapel Hill Campus
Hometown: Winston Salem, NC
Prior Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of South Carolina

If you won a lottery ticket for $100 million dollars, what would you do with it?
If I won $100 million dollars I would immediately make plans to travel. There are so many places that I would love to visit and having a seemingly endless supply of cash would make it so much easier!

If you had one extra hour each day, how would you use it?
My professors would probably want me to say I would use it to study… However, I would probably use it to watch TV. I spend a lot of my time off during holiday breaks from school catching up on my favorite shows but having an extra hour in the day would allow me to de-stress from school and stay current on shows at the same time!

What would you change about your undergraduate studies and/or preparing for pharmacy school?
The one thing that I didn’t do during undergrad that I wish I had done to prepare for pharmacy school was to start working a drug store chain as a technician. I think it would have put me at an advantage to work more closely with various drug products and it would have allowed me to transfer the job to a store close to UNC’s campus.

What experience from undergrad best prepared you for pharmacy school?
I think taking a rigorous course schedule was the best thing that I did during undergrad to prepare me for pharmacy school. Before coming to UNC, I had developed useful time management skills in addition to learning to multi-task. Pharmacy school has taught me so much more about planning my time wisely but I at least had a solid background knowledge of how to be successful.

What has been the most challenging part of pharmacy school?
The most challenging part of pharmacy school for me has been learning that each person is unique and that each student has their own strengths and weaknesses. In professional school where everyone comes from strong academic backgrounds and have had interesting experiences, it is easy to constantly compare yourself to those around you. I have learned that you are happiest when you are doing the best you can and if you take a step back and appreciate the incredible people you are surrounded by every day at school.

What’s been one of your favorite experiences at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy so far?
Although I have had many favorite experiences at UNC, I think one of the best was my rotation this summer at the VA Hospital in Salisbury, NC. I had one of the most amazing preceptors and every single one of the pharmacists that I met at this hospital was so willing to answer all of my questions and they were so much fun to work with. It really made me excited about my rotational experience for this upcoming summer.

What area of pharmacy is most interesting to you?
Currently I am very interested in ambulatory care pharmacy. I like that it incorporates the clinical knowledge required in a hospital setting as well as the longitudinal patient aspect that retail pharmacies provide. I look forward to the idea of being able to regularly see my patients in a clinic and really get to know them, while managing their medications to make sure their disease states are controlled and that they are comfortable.

What makes for a successful pharmacy student at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
A successful pharmacy student at UNC has a strong work/life balance. There are times where you have to make sacrifices and go to work or to class or study for an exam. However, there are also times where you should go out to dinner or a movie or on a walk with friends. Having this balance makes you happier and more successful at school.

Have more questions for Anna Drew? Feel free to send her an email: jacks379@email.unc.edu

Admission decision FAQs

Every year, we receive more applications than we have spots in our class. Admission to our PharmD program is very competitive.

If your application was denied admission, you probably have many questions. Below are some of the most common questions we receive. If your question isn’t listed below, we would be happy to answer it:
pharmacy_admissions@unc.edu or 919-966-9429

Why was my application denied?

We do not provide specific feedback on why an application was denied. The Admissions Committee reviews each application thoroughly, and considers whether the applicant is academically qualified, a strong applicant, and a good fit for the program. There are many different reasons why an application might be denied, and it also depends on the size and strength of the applicant pool. We receive more applications than we can offer an interview (or a seat in the class), so we are selective.

Is there any more information I can provide the Admissions Committee to overturn the decision? Can I appeal my decision?

No, the Admissions Committee has reviewed your application and made an admissions decision. You cannot submit new information after the application deadline has passed. The decision is final.

Can I meet with someone to review my application?

No, we do not meet individually with students to discuss their applications, and we do not provide specific reasons for why an application was denied.

What can I do to be more competitive next year?

We recommend that you review this website to learn more about the types of students admitted to our program. You can find statistics for students previously admitted here. We will update this website with the Class of 2020’s admission information by July 1, 2016.

We also encourage you to review our Admission FAQs.

This post has recommendations for becoming a more competitive applicant. Feel free to check back on the blog in the coming months; we will post more content that will focus on being competitive.

In general, consider which aspect of your application was the weakest, and focus your efforts on improving that for the next admissions cycle. Every application and every student is different, so what might be the weakest part of your application might not be the same for your friend’s application. Sometimes the weakest part of an application is the academics (prerequisite courses, GPA, and/or PCAT). If that is the case, focus on improving your GPA, retaking any low prereq courses that you might need to review, and studying to improve your PCAT scores. Many times, it is because outside of academics, the applicant was not strong. We like to see students who are well-rounded in terms of their extra curricular involvement, who demonstrate leadership, have explored pharmacy and healthcare, and have research experience.

Is there additional coursework I can take to make me a stronger candidate?

You are always welcome to take more advanced coursework in your major or in an academic area (especially math or science) that will help you prepare for pharmacy school. We also encourage you to take courses you are interested in! If you’ve always wanted to take an art or psychology class, go for it! You will have 4 years to study science and pharmacy, so now is your opportunity to take classes outside those disciplines.
If you need coursework to fill credits, we recommend taking a research or writing-intensive class.
If you have lower grades (C- or lower) in prerequisite courses, we encourage you to retake those classes (and aim for an A or B grade). Don’t feel that you have to retake your prerequisite classes if you have above a C- in a prerequisite course. Retaking a class just to improve your GPA should not be your goal. Your goal should be to learn the material.

Can I reapply?

Yes, you are welcome to reapply. Our application for Fall 2017 entry will open in mid-July 2016.