All about the Supplemental Application

Do you have a supplemental application?

Yes, we do.

What is on the supplemental application?

A little bit of everything. It’s mostly information that we can’t gather from the PharmCAS application:

-Demographic and background information, academic history
-Residency for tuition purposes questions (learn more about the residency process here)
-How you learned about our School and program
-Agreement to uphold the honor code and community standards and School policies
-Military information
-Campus preference (learn more about our campuses here)

Are there additional essays on the supplemental application?


Why can’t I access the supplemental application now?

When your PharmCAS application is verified and released to our School for viewing, we process your PharmCAS application. We pull information from your PharmCAS application to create your supplemental application. We can’t create a supplemental application for you until we’ve received your PharmCAS application.

Within one week of receiving your verified PharmCAS application, we’ll send you a personalized email with information about how to access and complete your supplemental application.

Is there a cost associated with the supplemental application?

Yes, $80.

How long will it take me to fill out the supplemental application?

It depends on how much information you have to fill it out and how quickly you can type, but probably not long. It will likely take you less than 30 minutes.

When is the deadline to submit the supplemental application?

The deadline to complete your PharmCAS application is December 1. As long as you’ve submitted your PharmCAS application by December 1, we will allow you until January 15 to complete your supplemental application.

Have any other questions about the supplemental application? Let us know.

Apply now – don’t wait!

The 2016-2017 PharmCAS application has now been open one month. We have a rolling admissions process, which means we’ve begun reviewing verified PharmCAS applications.

Once you complete and submit your PharmCAS application, it takes PharmCAS 4-6 weeks to verify your application. Then, PharmCAS releases your application to our School for viewing. Allow us up to one week to process your application, and then we will send you an email with instructions to begin our supplemental application.

As we get closer to the December 1 deadline, we receive more and more applications, so apply now!



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?

🙁 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! 😉

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

Advice from our application readers

We use independent application readers to read and evaluate PharmD applications. After wrapping up application review this past year, I asked our application readers to share their application advice for prospective applicants. 

Outside of PCAT/grades, what makes an application strong or stand out positively?

A strong essay and strong letters of recommendation.

  • Essay – do not repeat what is already in your application. Tell the reader about yourself. We want to get to know you. We know what courses you have taken, we can see that you have been involved in student organizations and have shadowed, etc. Dig deeper! How were those experiences meaningful, what did they teach you, how did you deal with challenges, take us through the problem solving experience, etc. If you do want to share more about something already on your application, make sure you are sharing something above and beyond what is already included. We have so many outstanding candidates with excellent qualifications. We need to be able to get to know you through your essay. It is your opportunity to differentiate yourself.
  • Letters of Recommendation – do not gather letters of recommendation from high school teachers or a family friend who is a pharmacist. We want to learn about you as an undergraduate. We want to hear from those people who have known you well during your undergraduate experience – professors, lab supervisors, pharmacy supervisors, volunteer supervisors/advisors, etc. The main emphasis should be on asking people to write letters of recommendation that know you very well, and will write you a positive letter. Don’t ask a professor to write a letter just because you earned an A in their course. S/he will simply write that you earned an A in the course, which we already know from the transcript. Ask people who you have spent significant time with and can comment on who you are as a person  – professors who you have spent considerable time in office hours with, lab supervisors if you have taken part in a research project, volunteer supervisors/advisors particularly if you have had a leadership role and have been very active in supporting the volunteer organization (or any organization), etc. I want to learn something new about the applicant that no other section on the application can tell me.

Outside of PCAT/grades, what makes an application weak or stand out negatively?

  • No pharmacy/health care experiences – either shadowing, volunteering, or even participating in a Pre-Pharmacy organization. If you have not attempted to partake in any of these types of activities, how are we as the reader supposed to believe that you really want to be a pharmacist?
  • Essays and letters of recommendation that lack depth. If you don’t put effort into your essay, we can tell. If your recommenders don’t know you well, we can tell.
  • Any spelling or grammar errors. That is just sloppy! Ask someone else to review your essay or application before submitting it.
  • Plagiarism. Don’t do it.

What advice would you give prospective applicants regarding their application?

  • Don’t assume…
    • …that we will figure out that you did research unless you write about it in your essay or list it in your resume section. We see hundreds of applications from hundreds of schools, and we do not know your schools/majors well enough to realize that a 40- level course entails a major research project.
    • …that we understand what it means to be involved in a certain club or activity at your school. If you don’t have enough space to explain the activity in the resume section and it was a important part of your life or a big responsibility, make sure to elaborate on it in your essay.
  • Provide context for low grades – if we see that you got all A’s and B’s and one F, that F stands out (and not in a good way!). It’s always better to explain what happened in that course.

What is your biggest application pet peeve?

  • Not completing the transcript portion of PharmCAS accurately. If you want to earn possible credits to satisfy prerequisites with AP scores, you must include those in the transcript portion of PharmCAS.

What is your favorite part of application review?

Reading a fabulous essay or reading very strong letters of recommendation! Both of these areas of the PharmCAS application really help me get to know the student better.

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:

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).

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.




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.