With interview season underway, current students reflect back on their experiences at our interview day (Candidates’ Day).
Besides UNC, how many other pharmacy school interviews did you attend?
How did you prepare for Candidates’ Day (or pharmacy interviews in general)?
I looked up common interview questions online, and made sure that I had some answers prepared and rehearsed for each of them. I wanted to be prepared and didn’t want to waste interview time thinking about answers to questions that I could have anticipated, such as “why do you want to do pharmacy” and “why do you want to come to this school.” Additionally, I made sure that I had a personal anecdote to tie into each of my responses so that I could give the interviewers a little better picture of who I am. I used my past work experiences, leadership roles, and big moments in my life to make sure each of my responses was grounded and had context. At the same time, I wanted to make sure I was flexible in my responses in case a question threw me off; I didn’t want to be so stuck in my rehearsed responses that I wouldn’t be able to answer an unanticipated question.
I also came up with 1-2 questions in case I had the opportunity to ask either a student or a faculty member. I tried to come up with specific questions about the program to not only show that I had done my research on the school, but also to receive answers that I could distinguish between each school that could ultimately help me make a decision on which program to pick.
However, probably the most important thing I did was just relaxing the night before the interview! I had reviewed all of my notes the week prior to the interview, and I just needed to relax and not psych myself out.
What did you like about Candidates’ Day?
I really liked having my own personal student ambassador throughout the day! Having a current pharmacy student lead me through the entire day was really helpful, since there were several stations scattered throughout the pharmacy school, and the last thing I wanted to do was get lost! Additionally, all the ambassadors I met were so helpful and gave some great last-minute advice before going into my interview. They calmed me down and reassured me that everything was going to be fine. Furthermore, it was great having so much one-on-one time with a student, as it allowed me to ask some personal questions. At other schools, sometimes the only interaction I had with a current student was during a student panel. On my Candidates’ Day, I really felt like I had ample opportunity to get to know current students, who were so warm and friendly. They took the time to ask us how our undergraduate classes were going, why we were interested in pharmacy, and were happy to help set us up with certain faculty or professional contacts who seemed to match our backgrounds and interests.
Having had a student ambassador on my Candidates’ Day was the reason why I am now involved in the Recruitment Ambassadors Program, the student organization at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy that helps organize Candidates’ Days! I also became good friends with my student ambassador, who recognized me on my first day of class more than 7 months after my interview, and came up me to congratulate me and give me a big hug.
How was Candidates’ Day different from other pharmacy school interviews you attended?
My first impression of Candidates’ Day at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy was that it did a great job at “showing,” not just “telling.” Everything from the scheduled programs throughout the day to the small-group lunches with current pharmacy students really did a great job reflecting the atmosphere that is cultured at this pharmacy school. It was professional, laid-back, and welcoming at the same time. Never did I feel pressured to put up a guard or act like someone I wasn’t. The students made me feel so welcome, and treated me almost as if I had already been accepted! They really seemed invested in getting to know me, and that stood out to me. At some other pharmacy school interviews, The students just answered some of my questions, but that was it. They also seemed just a lot more intimidating and too business-like.
Additionally, the faculty members did a fantastic job being both professional and warm. As a third-year student, I can tell you that they are not just putting up a front, that they are genuinely invested in all of their students and want to get to know you, just like how the student ambassadors are. Furthermore, the programming during the day was very unique. I had not been to an interview as interactive as Candidates’ Day, while also being very informative about how classes and student organizations are like at the school. It didn’t feel like I was sitting in a long lecture about how great the school was.