Candidates’ Day Advice: Karin Abernathy

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?
Three

How did you prepare for Candidates’ Day (or pharmacy interviews in general)?
I started by looking up potential interview questions for graduate/professional school admissions. This was super helpful in gauging the types of questions that interviewers are likely to ask – such as questions about myself, questions about my pharmacy school goals, and behavioral questions that involve some sort of scenario that I’d have to address. I took time to think of the things about myself and my experiences that I wanted to highlight during the interviews, and founds ways to draw all of them back to why I wanted to be a pharmacist.

What did you like about Candidates’ Day?
I think the MMI style is very unique, and I very much enjoyed meeting many of the faculty that would one day be professors that instructed us daily. For me, I found the MMI much less intimidating and less stressful than some of the other interviews I attended. If I didn’t feel great about my connection with the interviewer in one room or the way I’d answered the question, there were still six other impressions to be made.

How was Candidates’ Day different from other pharmacy school interviews you attended?
Aside from the MMIs, I really enjoyed the session that attempts to emulate what a day in a typical class in pharmacy school is like. Looking back now, this illustration really showed me a lot about how a typical day would be as a pharmacy student, including taking pre-class quizzes, working in groups, and comparing, discussing, and defending your answers to your peers to collectively solve problems. A lot of other interviews I attended focused solely on the administrative aspects of the admissions process, which is definitely important and an integral part of Candidate’s Day, but I think this mock class session is unique to UNC in that it looks beyond just being accepted into the program and highlights some of the key features that are special to the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

 

What advice would you give prospective students preparing for interviews/Candidates Day?
I think it’s important to really reflect on why you want to be a pharmacist, and why you’d be a good fit for the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. This is helpful not only in prepping for potential interview questions, but will also keep you inspired and enthusiastic during your time on campus. I’d say that the second that Candidate’s Day begins, remember to be professional, friendly, inquisitive, humble, and excited for the duration of your time on UNC’s campus.

Candidates’ Day Advice: Akil Sidi

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?
None – I only interviewed at UNC

How did you prepare for Candidates’ Day (or pharmacy interviews in general)?
I talked to current UNC pharmacy students to get a feel for what the interview would be like and what sort of questions to expect. I went through some general questions that I thought would be asked and practiced the responses I would give. I also practiced interviewing with a couple of different people to see what my weaknesses were and where I could improve.

What did you like about Candidates’ Day?
I enjoyed meeting all the new prospective candidates along with current students. I learned a lot about the UNC ESOP and some of the unique programs they offer. Although the interviews were stressful, I enjoyed the MMI as it allowed me to interact with different people. Candidates day was a good way to get a feel for pharmacy school and what to expect. Everyone was very friendly and helpful and were willing to answer any questions I had and give me a glimpse into the life as a pharmacy student.

How was Candidates’ Day different from other pharmacy school interviews you attended?
I only attended one pharmacy school interview at UNC so I am not very aware of other pharmacy school interviews. I do know that typically many schools do not use the MMI. That would be the biggest difference I believe; most schools use the traditional 1-3 person panel for about 30 minutes to interview the prospective student. Candidates Day uses a MMI with different scenarios and about 7 different interviewers.

What part of Candidates’ Day was most surprising/unexpected to you?
I was most surprised by all the different people I met and their various backgrounds. It was surprising how open and friendly everyone was to talk to you and help you out as needed. I thought Candidates’ Day was going to be very intense and stressful; instead, other than the interview part, Candidates’ Day was very calm and enjoyable. It was very calm and use to help settle you down so you could perform well on your interview as well as educate you more on UNC ESOP.

If you could go back and relive Candidates’ Day, what would you do differently (if anything)?
The only thing I would differently would be to interact with more people. Each person had a unique story and unique perspective to pharmacy so the more people you meet the more knowledge you get. Also, meeting more candidates would have been beneficial as it would help you build some connections with students if you were to be accepted to the program. Other then these minor changes, overall I believed I performed well at Candidates’ Day and learned a great deal of information.

What advice would you give prospective students preparing for interviews/Candidates Day?
I would advise candidates to be as friendly and outgoing as possible. Talk to everyone and start building relationships as soon as you arrive. It is also a good idea to be very friendly with your recruitment ambassador and the various faculty that are present there. Take the time to ask any questions you have, even if you feel it is a “dumb” question; chances are other candidates have the same question. Take time to prepare for your interviews but don’t stress over it; just do your best and have confidence in your self.

My Immersion Experience – Bliss Green

Students have their first immersion (pharmacy rotation) the summer after their PY1 year. They are placed in either a hospital (health system) or community pharmacy. For more information about our curriculum, click here.


Name: Bliss Green
Year: PY2 (Class of 2019)
Rotation: Health System

Where was your immersion located?

UNC Hospital, Cardiac ICU and Central Inpatient Pharmacy/Sterile Products Area

How did you prepare for your immersion experience?

Throughout the second semester of the PY1 year, there will be a few informational meetings that discuss the requirements for various immersion sites and important dates to make sure everyone is on the same page. I reached out to my preceptor about one month before my immersion to introduce myself, ask if he wanted me to have anything prepared for my first day, and set a location/time to meet him. Before my first day of my immersion, I made a trip over to UNC hospital to make sure I knew where to go and to make sure I could connect to the hospital WIFI. I highly recommend this, especially if you are prone to getting lost like me! You don’t want to be late or unprepared on your first day. Besides that, there was not extensive preparation needed before the start of the first immersion.

What was a typical day like?

For the first month of my rotation, I was in the cardiac ICU working with advanced heart failure patients alongside my preceptor, a PGY2 pharmacy resident, and a PY4 pharmacy student. I was assigned patients by my preceptor and followed them throughout their admission (I started with one patient at a time and then worked my way up 3 patients towards the end of the month). A typical day started around 7am. I would look up newly admitted patients on my unit, particularly patients labeled as “high risk for readmission” and perform a medication history assessment. Basically, I would print their list of medications, go find their room, and interview them on which medications they are actually taking and how they are taking them (as well as the last dose). I would then call their pharmacy to confirm fill-dates and make note of any discrepancies. After medication histories, I would open my assigned patient’s medical records on EPIC (UNC’s electronic health record database) and analyze any changes in labs, vitals, medications, notes from physicians, etc. from the night before. Based on this data, I would begin writing my SOAP note that included my assessment of the patient’s status and my proposed plan for each problem. I would then attend rounds with the entire medical team. This is where I could hear the discussion about my patients and make any medicine recommendations to the team. After lunch, I would present my note/findings to my preceptor and we would have a discussion/mini-lecture on the medications involved. The end of my day usually consisted of independent research assigned to me by my preceptor to support our discussion and my recommendations, updating my patient’s notes in EPIC, and discharge counseling in the cases where my assigned patient was ready to go home. I was usually finished around 4:30pm. Some days I also attended journal club, medication safety meetings, transplant discussion meeting, and lectures/discussions with other students/preceptors. I also spent one day with a nurse to witness their role and how they administer the medications. Lastly, I was lucky enough to shadow two serious operations.

What did you like about your rotation?

I liked everything about my rotation! Especially my clinical month in the cardiac ICU. Everything became so real when I stepped foot into the unit. I was challenged on a daily basis and never stopped learning. My preceptor was a phenomenal teacher and a true role model as a pharmacist/professional. I loved seeing how valued and respected he was as the medication expert on the healthcare team. The experience truly motivated me and made me excited about my career path.

What part of your immersion was most surprising and/or interesting to you?

I was able to shadow two open-heart surgeries during my clinical month in the cardiac ICU, which is something I will never forget. I witnessed the insertion of a Left-Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) into a patient’s heart, as well as a complete sternotomy and aortic dissection. This was the first time I have ever seen a beating heart, working lungs, etc. It was amazing to see what the human body can endure and the advantages that science permits.

What was the most challenging part of your rotation?

The most challenging part of my rotation was the emotional aspect of working with advanced heart failure and the poor health status of patients in my unit . It was difficult to see how sick these patients were and accept the fact that most patients with this stage of the disease do not have good outcomes. I witnessed death and heartbroken families multiple times. It is easy to let your emotions bring you down in this type of setting but you have to remain optimistic and provide the best patient care possible.

Is there anything else you want to share about your immersion experience?

I also spent one month in the central inpatient pharmacy and the sterile products area at UNC hospital. This allowed me to see more of the “operations” side of heath system pharmacy. Within this month, I also spent five days exploring five other types of pharmacy (investigational drugs, pediatrics, specialty pharmacy, special formulations/compounding, and operating room pharmacy). It was a great experience and very beneficial to explore various different aspects of pharmacy. I was offered a job in the IV room/sterile products area after my rotation and am currently working there now!

Candidates’ Day Advice – Ricky Kong

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?
None – I only interviewed at UNC

How did you prepare for Candidates’ Day (or pharmacy interviews in general)?
I looked up a list of generally accepted MMI questions. I took that list and practiced with some friends in order to get general feedback of my speaking skills. Feeling comfortable with what you are talking about really comes across in an interview. One of the biggest things that you can do is practice and I know it sounds cliche, but it really does work.

What did you like about Candidates’ Day?
I really enjoyed the structure of the MMI interview. Being able to talk to multiple people can help build a candidate’s confidence as the day proceeds. Also it can help that you can give multiple first impressions if there was an interview that you did not feel great about. Overall, the people I met that day, both candidates and volunteers, appeared to be really enjoying themselves. By the end of Candidate’s Day, I was already sold on wanting to go to the Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

 

What advice would you give prospective students preparing for interviews/Candidates Day?
Make a good first impression on people. Pharmacy is a professional health field so we are expected to act accordingly. Carrying yourself appropriately as well as being attentive in all of the activities goes a long way.

Candidates’ Day Advice – Vivian Cheng

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?
2

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.

 

Candidates’ Day Advice – Megan Cuomo

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?
None – I only interviewed at UNC

How did you prepare for Candidates’ Day (or pharmacy interviews in general)?
One thing that was helpful was reviewing what Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs) are and viewing practice questions online. Additionally, thinking of examples of important experiences throughout your work, school, or personal life that shaped your desire to practice pharmacy, interactions with patients, etc. can be helpful. These experiences can help support your answers in scenarios evaluating non-cognitive traits.

What did you like about Candidates’ Day?
The design of Candidate’s greatly benefits the potential incoming students due to its varied activities and easy access to current students. One of the unique things about UNC’s Candidates’ Day is the extensive exposure to the school through demonstration of technology, the flipped classroom model, and current students. Being able to interact with several current students throughout the day really allows the prospective students to understand many ways to get involved at UNC and different perspectives on student life.

What part of Candidates’ Day was most surprising/unexpected to you?
The most surprising part of Candidate’s Day to me was the presentation on classroom procedure by Dr. Persky. I was surprisingly relaxed during that session and learned a lot about the flipped classroom model. He did a good job of making the session fun!

If you could go back and relive Candidates’ Day, what would you do differently (if anything)?
I am not sure I would do anything differently. Since you cannot prepare very much for the MMI, the most important things that I think I did well were to ensure I was dressed professionally and comfortably, slept well, ate breakfast, and stayed confident. Starting out your morning well by arriving early and feeling good can really help reduce stress.

What advice would you give prospective students preparing for interviews/Candidates Day?
It can be intimidating to be interviewing at the same time as so many other prospective students. It is important to stay confident in yourself and your accomplishments during the entire day, from check-in to lunch or tour. UNC values diversity; just because you have less pharmacy or school experience or different experiences than another candidate does not mean that you would not add value to the school!

Candidates’ Day Advice – Ryan Ragan

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?
2

How did you prepare for Candidates’ Day (or pharmacy interviews in general)?
Talked to family and friends about pharmacy school to help verbalize my motivation to attend pharmacy school. I also met with my undergraduate professional school counselor and practiced a mock interview before each Candidates’/Interview Day.

What did you like about Candidates’ Day?
I liked the opportunity to interact with a wide variety of members of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy (UNC ESOP) community from students to deans and everyone in between. I also enjoyed the peak into the flipped-classroom teaching style practiced by the professors in combination with the discussion about the unique curriculum at UNC ESOP.

How was Candidates’ Day different from other pharmacy school interviews you attended?
Candidates’ Day was different in two major ways. First, Candidates’ Day provided an example of the flipped-classroom teaching style of the professors at UNC ESOP. Secondly, UNC Candidates’ Day afforded the opportunity to interact with many more faculty and staff than the other interviews I attended. It seemed to me that the faculty and staff are more involved in the interview process at UNC ESOP than at other institutions.

What part of Candidates’ Day was most surprising/unexpected to you?
The most unexpected part of the day was receiving dedicated face-to-face time with students currently enrolled in the School of Pharmacy program, without the presence of faculty, staff, or administration looming in the background. This allowed for a much more open and candid conversation among the group about more informal topics. The topic of conversation was much less structured than I was expecting to experience during the course of an interview day.

If you could go back and relive Candidates’ Day, what would you do differently (if anything)?
The only thing I would do differently would to stay as healthy as possible in the weeks leading up to the visit because I felt bad for constantly sniffling and coughing throughout the day. The sense that I was being a nuisance to the other interviewees made me a little uncomfortable. In reality, this is largely out of my control since I was flying in from Minnesota where it had been snowing and cold for 2 months before the interview.

What advice would you give prospective students preparing for interviews/Candidates Day?
The best piece of advice I can provide is to relax and be yourself throughout the day. By relaxing, your responses will remain candid and allow you to interact in a meaningful manner with all of the professors, administrators, staff members and students that you meet throughout the day.

Candidates’ Day Advice – Amanda Searls

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?
2

How did you prepare for Candidates’ Day (or pharmacy interviews in general)?
I prepared for my interviews by first considering what types of questions I would be asked. I thought about these questions and how I would respond to them for about a week. I then practiced with friends and went to moc interviews held by my school.

What did you like about Candidates’ Day?
I liked that there were many other activities besides the MMIs that were incorporated throughout the day. These activities gave me a good feel for the school and what it would be like to be a student here.

How was Candidates’ Day different from other pharmacy school interviews you attended?
UNC was the only school I interviewed at that had MMIs. Other schools had standard sit down interviews with faculty and students and group interviews.

What part of Candidates’ Day was most surprising/unexpected to you?
The group discussion was surprising and fun. I liked getting to interact with other candidates that I’m now in school and getting to interact with one of the professors was interesting.

What advice would you give prospective students preparing for interviews/Candidates Day?
I know its next to impossible to avoid being nervous at interviews. However, someone once told me it was good to be nervous because that means the opportunity is important to you. My major advice is to remind yourself that you were offered an interview for a reason. As cliche as it sounds, relax, take a deep breath, and be yourself. Pretend the interviewers are your aunt or uncle and they are asking you simple questions about pharmacy school. Be confident in your answers and make eye contact with your interviewer!

Candidates’ Day Advice – Starr Barrier

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?
1

How did you prepare for Candidates’ Day (or pharmacy interviews in general)?
Because both the schools I interviewed at planned on doing MMI, all I did to prepare was think about why I wanted to become a pharmacist and what unique qualities each school had to offer me and why I would chose to attend that school.

What did you like about Candidates’ Day?
I especially liked the MMI. I liked how organized it was here and enjoyed it a lot more than I would a typical 30 minute one on one interview. You don’t have enough time to be nervous and you get multiple chances to make a good first impression. I liked how the day was split into different sections, and the group discussion time was a good way for us to interact with other candidates and relax a bit. The information panel was particularly helpful.

How was Candidates’ Day different from other pharmacy school interviews you attended?
The information panel had current students along with professors and I thought this was very helpful. Other schools had student panels but no professors were present. I think this also showed how close the student body is with the faculty and this was eye opening for me and one of the reasons why I chose UNC because it shows the faculty really want you to succeed.

What part of Candidates’ Day was most surprising/unexpected to you?
The group discussion was surprising and fun. I liked getting to interact with other candidates that I’m now in school and getting to interact with one of the professors was interesting.

If you could go back and relive Candidates’ Day, what would you do differently (if anything)?
I would have asked the faculty more questions. Asking questions in general is important, but you especially want to talk to faculty to see if this school is the right fit for you.

What advice would you give prospective students preparing for interviews/Candidates Day?
I would think about why you want to become a pharmacist and if there is a particular field you’re interested in. If you’re not that’s fine, but if you’re passionate about something you definitely want to talk about that at some point. I would ask a bunch of questions because you want to make sure that you chose a school that’s going to be a good fit for you. Don’t forget to relax and be yourself! This is your chance to sell yourself and they want to see who you are.

Candidates’ Day Advice – Ashlyn Norris

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?
2

What did you like about Candidates’ Day?
My favorite part about Candidates’ Day was that we got to meet so many different people and really get a chance to know the school. Throughout the MMI you got to meet a variety of professors, faculty members and administrators and in the different sessions throughout the day you were able to interact with even more professors and see what a typical class was like. I really feel that not only did the school get to know me better, but that I also got to know the school and the people here.

What part of Candidates’ Day was most surprising/unexpected to you?
I was most surprised about how much I enjoyed the MMI. I was able to be myself and have meaningful conversations with the faculty members conducting the interviews. Instead of talking about myself for 30 mins to two people, which was awkward at times, I was able to talk to a variety of people and answer questions that made me think and demonstrate my character.

What advice would you give prospective students preparing for interviews/Candidates Day?
My advice would be to stay relaxed and just be yourself. All of the people are really nice and want to see you succeed. The interview questions are not stressful and are meant to get to know you better, so just be honest and true to yourself.