We’ve received quite a few questions about the PCAT exam this week. Congratulations to all of you who took it in July!

What are the minimum scores you consider?

We recommend that students get at least 50% on the composite and sub sections to be competitive for our program. Scoring 70% and above on the composite section will make you most competitive. Our average PCAT composite score for accepted students the past few years has been 88%. Please note that is the average; many students fall below and above that score.

I didn’t do as well on the PCAT as I hoped. Should I retake it?

ūüôĀ First off, sorry to hear that.

You can, if you feel that you will do better. If you fall below our minimums (see the first sentence in the question above), you might want to study and retake the PCAT. We do superscore; if you take it multiple times, we will consider your highest overall scores.

Since you superscore…if i retake the PCAT, can I focus on the sections I did poorly on the first time, and not focus (ie-not try as hard) on the sections I did well on before?

This is not the best strategy. If we see that you aced your biology subsection the first time and significantly decreased your biology score¬†the second time around, this might be cause for concern. I would recommend focusing your studying beforehand on the sections you didn’t do as well in, and still try your hardest on all sections when you take the exam.

Which sections are most important in the admissions process?

We focus most heavily on the composite score, and the biology, chemistry, and quantitative sections. The critical reading and essay are important, but we prefer to assess those areas in other parts of your application.

What other questions do you have about the PCAT exam?

Here we go!

How is it already mid-July?! You know what that means – the 2016-17 application for Fall 2017 entry is now open (as of July 15)! Who has started their PharmCAS application already?

I’m currently attending the Admissions Workshop at the annual American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) conference. It’s always nice to see colleagues from other pharmacy schools, and learn more about updates, best practices, and what we can expect in this years’ admissions cycle. One of the presenters just shared a novel new¬†admissions¬†formula¬†to admit students. Take a look:

Admissions formula

I think we’ll stick to reviewing applications holistically and skip the formula this year!¬†ūüėČ

Note: I hope you gathered as much, but this is a joke!!

Recommendation letters

Your recommendation letters are an important part of your application, as they give us a different perspective about you. Here are some common questions and answers about who you should ask to write your recommendation letters.

  • Who should write my letter of recommendation?

Ask someone who knows you well and will write a positive letter of recommendation. You should ask someone who can write from an academic or professional perspective. Friends and family are great, but they are not going to write an objective letter of recommendation. You might ask a professor, teacher, advisor, mentor, or boss. If you’re going to ask a professor, make sure you choose¬†a professor who knows you well (and knows more about you than just your name and that you were in their Biology 101 class). It’s easy for a professor to regurgitate information that can be found on your transcript, and if you haven’t taken the time to build a relationship with your professor, your professor is not going to be able to provide much information about your character and potential in pharmacy school.

  • When should I ask them to write it?

Ask them at least 4-6 weeks before the letter should be¬†submitted. It’s always better to give them more time to write, especially if they are busy during the fall semester.

  • What¬†does my recommender need to write a letter?

It’s always helpful to provide your recommender with your resume, transcript or an academic overview, and your personal statement from your application. Make sure they are aware of which programs and schools you are applying to. Make sure you give them enough information about yourself and your fit for pharmacy so that they can write you a strong recommendation letter.¬†You’ll also want to make sure they are comfortable and understand the instructions for¬†submitting their letter to PharmCAS. Feel free to share this information with them to reference as they write your letter.

  • How many recommendations do I need?

We require two, but you can submit up to four in your PharmCAS application. If you submit all four, we will read them all.


UNC Eshelman Institute for Innovation

In December 2014, Dr. Fred Eshelman gave an unprecedented gift of $100 million to create the UNC Eshelman Institute for Innovation. It was the largest gift given to a US Pharmacy school, and the largest gift given from an individual donor to UNC. The Institute’s goal is to provide funding for big ideas to advance health care, research, and education.

The first round of funding occurred in 2015; you can see some of the initiatives which received funding here. Over $9.4 million was awarded.

A few weeks ago, the Institute completed the second round of funding. Students, faculty, and staff pitched their ideas to the Institute. 46 proposals were submitted for consideration. The Institute approved 16 of the projects, awarding over $3.7 million in funding. This round of funding was the first time students and postdoctoral fellows could submit a proposal. Of the submissions, 22 were submitted by students and fellows, and 9 projects were funded.

The Institute is an unique opportunity for students interested in entrepreneurship, research, and innovation. Do you have a big idea that you think could change health care?