PCAT prep course

Are you preparing to take the PCAT this summer or fall? One of our student organizations, Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA), will be offering a PCAT prep course at the Chapel Hill and Asheville campuses this summer.

From SNPhA:
“We will provide detailed instruction in Biology, Chemistry, Math, and English. We will also be covering test-taking strategies, administering pre- and post-exams, and hosting a mock MMI session to simulate the pharmacy school interview process.”

For more information or to register, please visit their website: https://pharmacy.unc.edu/events/the-pcat-preparatory-review/

Meet the Ambassador – Katie Woodworth

Meet Katie! She enjoys eating Snickers and hanging out with her dog, Bean, and loves the student body atmosphere at the School, and how supportive students are of each other.

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Katie Woodworth, Class of 2019, Chapel Hill Campus
Hometown: Cary, NC
Prior Education: Bachelor’s degree, Wake Forest University


If they made a movie of your life, which actress would you cast to play you?
Hopefully Reese Witherspoon! I think she’s awesome and love just about every movie she’s been in. Maybe a play-off Legally Blonde but with pharmacy?

If you could have an endless supply of any one type of food, what would you choose?
Snickers – my all time favorite candy! All through college, I had a bucket of mini Snickers in my dorm room that was full at all times.

If you won a lottery ticket for $100 million dollars, what would you do with it?
Invest! Maybe a boring answer, but my dad’s in finance and has really hammered this in.  Once I let the money grow a little bit, I’d pay for my education, buy a house and some fabulous jewelry, donate to a few charities, and save the rest for the future.

If you had one extra hour each day, how would you use it?
I would hang out with my dog, Bean.  He’s a Westie and part-time Chapel Hill resident, and I love having him with me, but he can chase a tennis ball for HOURS and I never feel like I’m spending enough time with him.


How did you get interested in pharmacy?
When I started college, I knew I was going to be a chemistry major.  So once I decided that, I had to start thinking about what I would do next.  Pharmacy to me is the perfect blend of science and human interaction – I love being able to apply my biochemistry knowledge to impacting health outcomes for patients!

What advice would you give a prospective students interested in pharmacy?
Something that was really helpful to me was getting a bit of pharmacy experience before applying.  I volunteered at my local health department, but getting a job as a technician or even shadowing would work as well.  I think having some experience will help reaffirm that you actually want to become a pharmacist, and will prove helpful during the application and interview process as well.


Why did you choose the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
I chose UNC for two simple reasons. I wanted a top-quality program, and I love living in North Carolina.  But the main selling point for me was the atmosphere of the student body.  I have found our students to be a great community – they are social, supportive, and some of the most talented, hard-working people I know.

What has been the most challenging part of pharmacy school?
For me, the most challenging part of pharmacy school has been time management.  I thought I had been busy before, but I was wrong! Between school, co-curriculars, and just daily life, you really have to be efficient. The flipped classroom model does require more time spent at home preparing for class, which isn’t something I was used to during my undergrad.  The plus side, though, is that it makes studying for tests easier because you’ve already spent time teaching yourself the material.

What area of pharmacy is most interesting to you?
I’m currently considering a career in ambulatory care.  This is an area of pharmacy that I think a lot of people don’t know about, but it’s a really cool way to get involved with a group of patients long-term and make a real impact with their care.


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

Monthly questions

Here are some of the questions we’ve gotten from students this month.


Which prerequisite courses do I need to complete?

If you will have a bachelor’s degree completed by the time you enroll in the PharmD program, you need to complete the math and science prerequisites. If you will not have a bachelor’s degree completed by the time you enroll in the PharmD program, you need to complete the math and science prerequisites and the general education prerequisites.

Should I wait to submit my application until after I’ve taken the PCAT?

No! We have a rolling admissions process, so as soon as you submit your completed application and PharmCAS verifies it and releases the application to us, we can start reviewing it. We do not invite students for interviews until we’ve reviewed a completed application (completed includes your PCAT scores), so we will not invite you for an interview until we receive your PCAT scores, but we can begin reviewing the rest of your application.

When do I apply? I want to start the program in Fall 2017.

You should apply this admissions cycle. You apply one year before enrolling, so the application opening in mid-July 2016 is for students interested in starting the program in Fall 2017.

I transferred colleges during my sophomore year; how will my GPA be calculated?

PharmCAS will calculate a cumulative GPA based on all universities attended and all courses taken. Just a head’s up – PharmCAS calculates all courses into the GPA (even if you repeated the course and had the original grade forgiven at your school).

Can I continue taking prerequisites while I’m applying?

Yes. You can indicate on your PharmCAS application which courses you intend to take in the fall and spring semester. You will have the opportunity to log in to your application during the Academic Update period (usually December 15 – February 15) to update fall grades.
All prerequisite courses should be completed by the end of the spring semester (May 31).

Meet the Ambassador – Amy Lin

Meet Amy! After graduating from MIT, she worked for 2 years in a drug delivery lab. Now, she’s getting back into the groove of being a student, and enjoying the opportunities in pharmacy school. Oh, and she loves puppies!

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Amy Lin, Class of 2019, Chapel Hill Campus
Hometown: Morgantown, WV
Prior Education: Bachelor’s degree, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


If they made a movie of your life, which actress would you cast to play you?
Blake Lively, because I identify with her Instagram pictures. Or Sandra Oh, because she’s Crisitina Yang.

If you could have an endless supply of any one type of food, what would you choose?
Ramen. There are so many different brands, flavors and ways to eat it.

If you won a lottery ticket for $100 million dollars, what would you do with it?
Adopt a dog, buy an RV and go on a hiking/driving adventure through the United States.

If you had one extra hour each day, how would you use it?
Most likely play with puppies.


How did you get interested in pharmacy?
After undergraduate, I worked in a drug delivery lab, and worked on ways to make drugs more accessible to treat different diseases. However, with spending more time in the lab, I wanted to see more practical applications of drug delivery systems, which pharmacy was perfect for.

What experience from undergrad best prepared you for pharmacy school?
Working in drug delivery lab prepared me the most for pharmacy school. In the lab, I learned to work with a team, and also practical lab skills that so far, have come in handy for compounding. Also, the lab I worked in, helped introduce me to issues in pharmacy like drug delivery, and adherence.

What advice would you give a prospective students interested in pharmacy?
To get involved with anything pharmacy related. Whether it is getting involved in research, shadowing a pharmacist, or working in a community pharmacy, any exposure with provide more background and perspective on the field.


Why did you choose the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
There are amazing opportunities in pharmacy that UNC exposes you to right from the start. They also provide a well-rounded education that provides insight on many different avenues of pharmacy to allow me to pick the right career.

What has been the most challenging part of pharmacy school?
Adjusting back to life as a student. After working for two years, being able to manage my time correctly to finish all my assignments while getting involved, took time to readjust to.

What makes for a successful pharmacy student at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
Being open-minded and dedicated. There are often assignments or lessons that might not be of the greatest interest, but they all will help shape students as a pharmacist and person.


Have more questions for Amy? Feel free to send her an email: amylin8@email.unc.edu

Admissions lingo

When you apply to a school (whether it is an undergraduate or graduate program) you have to learn the admissions lingo to understand the process. Here are some quick definitions of words you’re going to encounter in the pharmacy application process.


PharmD: The Doctor of Pharmacy degree (PharmD) is the professional doctorate degree required to sit for the pharmacy licensure exam in order to practice as a pharmacist in the US.

Prerequisite courses (prereqs): Prerequisite courses are required to evaluate an applicant’s preparation for a PharmD program, and must be completed before enrolling in a PharmD program. Prerequisite courses must be completed at an accredited college or university with a C- or better.

Rolling admissions: We review applications on a rolling basis. As soon as an applicant submits their completed application, we start reviewing that application to determine if the applicant is competitive for an interview.

PharmCAS: The Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS) is a centralized application service used to apply to  programs offered by schools and colleges of pharmacy

Supplemental application: In addition to the PharmCAS application, students applying to the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy must submit a supplemental application. After completing and submitting the PharmCAS application, applicants are emailed a link to the supplemental application. The supplemental application is short and takes less than 20 minutes to complete.

PCAT: The Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) is the exam required for entry into pharmacy school. It covers 5 content areas: writing, critical reading, biological processes, chemical processes, and quantitative reasoning.  Each section receives a score out of 99%.

Composite: The PCAT exam is given an overall or composite score out of 99%. The composite score is based on performance in the 5 content areas.

MMI: The Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) is the interview method we use to assess applicants. The MMI is a series of seven interview stations consisting of timed (eight-minute) interview scenarios. Applicants rotate through the stations, each with its own interviewer and scenario, over the course of an hour. The MMI does not test knowledge but will assess characteristics and attributes which the Admissions Committee feel are important for success as a pharmacist.

 

 

 

Meet the Ambassador – Melanie Ayarza

Meet Melanie! She got interested in pharmacy after having back surgery and interacting with the pharmacist, and she’s interested in pediatric pharmacy, which she’s gotten lots of exposure to through student organizations.

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Melanie Ayarza, Class of 2019, Chapel Hill Campus
Hometown: Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
Prior Education: Bachelor’s degree, East Carolina University


If they made a movie of your life, which actress would you cast to play you?
Jennifer Aniston

If you could have an endless supply of any one type of food, what would you choose?
Nutella

If you won a lottery ticket for $100 million dollars, what would you do with it?
Buyout the island Bora Bora!

If you had one extra hour each day, how would you use it?
Volunteer


How did you get interested in pharmacy?
When I had back surgery, the pharmacist was the most influential person throughout my stay at the hospital.

What experience from undergrad best prepared you for pharmacy school?
Volunteering at a pharmacy and medical and pharmaceutical related classes.

What advice would you give a prospective students interested in pharmacy?
Take it one day at a time and you can do it if you set your mind to it.


Why did you choose the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
UNC was my top choice of schools and I applied to 10 of them. On interview day, I was sold; the Dean was great and showed us how awesome UNC is and how much potential we have with all the alumni who are willing to help us advance in the field of health care.

What’s been one of your favorite experiences at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy so far?
I am involved in Beyond Clinic Walls, a part of the Student Health Action Coalition (SHAC) which allows me to focus in on what I want to do after I graduate – pediatrics.  As a medical team, we go and visit one child throughout the year to help assess how they are doing and make things more comfortable for them and their families.

What has been the most challenging part of pharmacy school?
Finding enough hours in the day to do all the homework that is due the next day.

What area of pharmacy is most interesting to you?
Pediatrics! I love children and have worked with them all my life.

What makes for a successful pharmacy student at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
Time management!


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

International student FAQs

Recently, we’ve had a number of questions from international students. If you’re an international student, I recommend you check out this post, and read some of our Frequently Asked Questions below.


Do you have a Master’s program in pharmaceutical sciences?

Yes, but it is likely different from other schools. We have a PharmD program (which is patient focused and prepares students to become pharmacists), a PhD program (which is research-intensive and prepares students for a career in academia or the pharmaceutical industry), and a Master’s program. The Master’s degree is a specialization in health-system pharmacy administration that prepares pharmacists for leadership positions in health care. Applicants for the Master’s program must hold a PharmD degree and be a licensed pharmacist in the US.

Do you accept international students to the PharmD program?

Yes, we do.

How many international students are in the PharmD program?

A small number – usually between 2-5 in each class.

Are there scholarships or fellowships available for international PharmD students?

We do not offer scholarships or fellowships to incoming students. Students are eligible to apply for scholarships for their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th years in the program. Please see this post for more information regarding financing your education as an international student.

Do you accept prerequisite courses taken internationally?

Yes, we do. All international transcripts must be evaluated by a by a foreign transcript evaluation service. We prefer World Education Services, Inc. (WES), but you can find a complete list of services here. You can find more details about determining prerequisite coursework equivalencies here.

What is the minimum GPA/PCAT score you will accept for international students applying to the PharmD program?

The minimum GPA we will consider is a 2.5, and the minimum composite PCAT score we will consider is a 50%. This is for all applicants; the minimums are the same regardless of whether the applicant is a US citizen or not. For more information about being a competitive applicant, I recommend that you read this post.

Do you require the TOEFL for the PharmD program?

We do not. The PCAT exam has a Verbal and Reading section which assesses applicants’ English skills. We also assess communication skills during the interview.

 

 

Meet the Ambassador – Rachel Brunner

Meet Rachel! Having a pre-pharmacy advisor and shadowing pharmacists helped prepare her for pharmacy school. She enjoys being involved in student organizations at the School – being able to learn about specialty fields within pharmacy and connect with her peers.

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Rachel Brunner, Class of 2018, Chapel Hill Campus
Hometown: Benton Harbor, MI
Prior Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of Michigan


If you could have an endless supply of any one type of food, what would you choose?
I’m weird and I love mussels. Definitely mussels.

If they made a movie of your life, which actor/actress would you cast to play you?
I think Jennifer Lawrence is amazing and I’d love if she could play me. Or Emma Watson

If you won a lottery ticket for $100 million dollars, what would you do with it?
I would use it to pay for pharmacy school! Then I’d take a few vacations I’d never be able to afford otherwise, as well as pay for more trips to visit my family.

If you had one extra hour each day, how would you use it?
I should use it to go to the gym, but I would probably sleep.


How did you get interested in pharmacy?
My family friends are pharmacists in my hometown and I was able to shadow them at an early age. I knew I wanted to be involved in a health care field and pharmacy felt like the right fit for me!

What would you change about your undergraduate studies and/or preparing for pharmacy school?
I don’t think I would change anything. I originally was not going to get a degree and just finish my prerequisites for pharmacy school without a bachelor’s degree, but I decided during my sophomore year of undergraduate that I wasn’t completely sure I wanted to go to pharmacy school. I think I definitely made the right decision to get my bachelor’s degree before coming to pharmacy school and I know now that pharmacy is the field I am supposed to be in.

What experience from undergrad best prepared you for pharmacy school?
I had a pharmacy adviser from the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy since my freshman year of undergraduate. Talking to someone about preparing for pharmacy school throughout the entire process was very helpful. I also had experience in a CVS pharmacy before applying to pharmacy schools, which was a great experience before deciding on a school.

What advice would you give a prospective students interested in pharmacy?
My advice for students interested in pharmacy is definitely to reach out to local pharmacists in your area for shadowing opportunities. There are so many different kinds of pharmacy and it’s helpful to have an idea of what they are before entering pharmacy school. In my experience, pharmacists are more than willing to give you advice, tell you about their daily routine, or allow you to shadow if you ask!


Why did you choose the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
I chose UNC because during my interview, it immediately felt like the right program for me. The students made me feel very welcome and hearing the faculty speak about what they teach made me genuinely excited about pharmacy. Every other school I interviewed at had different aspects of what I was looking for, but none of them made me immediately feel excited to start school like UNC did.

What’s been one of your favorite experiences at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy so far?
I have loved getting to know my classmates through student organizations. I am a member of Phi Delta Chi Fraternity and it has allowed me to get to know many upper class men I may have not interacted with otherwise. I am also a student in leader in CPNP, the UNC student chapter of the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists. I have loved getting involved in this organization as well because it is an area of pharmacy I never knew existed. It helps break down the stigma of mental illness and allows students to learn how they can work as pharmacists as advocates for mental health.

What has been the most challenging part of pharmacy school?
The most challenging part of pharmacy school for me has been deciding where to put my extra time outside of class. There are so many great organizations to join and job opportunities to have during school, but it is important to remember that school comes first. First semester was definitely overwhelming acclimating to organizations and academic life, but by my second year, I prioritized organizations I really enjoyed and made sure I didn’t overwhelm myself during the school year.


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

Getting ready for pharmacy school when you’re in high school

One of my favorite questions to ask current students is: when did you get interested in pharmacy as a career? The answers always vary; some students decided on pharmacy in college, whereas others knew as early as middle or high school that pharmacy was the right field for them. If you’re in high school and thinking about pharmacy as a career, that’s great! You’re ahead of the game and have plenty of time to prepare for pharmacy school. Here are some things to focus on now:

  • Take advanced coursework in math and science. If your school offers Honors, AP, IB, or dual enrollment classes, challenge yourself to take hard classes (and do well in them). Taking advanced courses in high school will prepare you for our prerequisite courses and ultimately our curriculum.
  • Talk to your pharmacist; shadow if possible. Anytime you or your family has to go to the doctor or pharmacy, make an effort to talk with the pharmacist. If you let them know that you’re interested in pharmacy as a career, I’m sure they would be happy to talk with you. Depending on the pharmacy, you might be able to set up a time to ask the pharmacist questions about their career or shadow them.
  • Find a passion. What do you like to do with your free time? Are you involved in extracurricular organizations, community service, a sports team, or a music ensemble? Finding a meaningful way to spend your time outside of school will make you more well-rounded. Your passion doesn’t have to be science or pharmacy as a high school student (but that’s great if it is!).
  • Develop strong communication skills. Pharmacists have to be strong in math and science, but they also have to be strong writers, speakers, and overall communicators. Every day, pharmacists talk with patients and health care team members including other pharmacists, doctors, and nurses. Focus on your writing and speaking skills now, and it will help you in the future.