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!


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.

Important admissions cycle dates

Well, it’s June! We’re getting closer and closer to the start of the 2016-2017 admissions cycle. I wanted to share some important dates and deadlines for this coming cycle.

2016-2017 Application Cycle

May 20, 2016 – Registration deadline for July PCAT examinations.
July 5, 2016 – Registration deadline for Sept PCAT examinations.
Mid-JulyPharmCAS launches 2016-2017 application
                  UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy application launches!!!
July 21-22, 2016 – July PCAT examination dates
September 7-9, 2016 – September PCAT examination dates
October 7, 2016 – Registration deadline for October/November PCAT examinations.
October 24-31, 2016 – October/November PCAT examination dates
December 1, 2016UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy application deadline
December 15, 2016Fall Academic Update window opens
                                    During the Academic Update period, you will be able to log in                                                 to your application to update your Fall 2016 grades, and make                                               changes to your Spring 2017 courses
February 15, 2017Fall Academic Update closes

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.



The fast track or the traditional track – Part 3

The PharmD program is unique in that applicants do not need to have completed a bachelor’s degree before starting. Approximately 20% of each incoming class does not hold a bachelor’s degree. They enter the PharmD program after 2 or 3 years of undergraduate study – however long it takes to complete the prerequisite coursework.

One of the most common questions we get is in regards to whether an applicant should complete their bachelor’s degree or forgo their bachelor’s and apply early. This is a challenging question, because there is no clear cut answer! Two weeks ago, I wrote about the benefits to being on the fast track, and last week I wrote about the benefits of being on the traditional track. This week, I’m wrapping up this series with some final thoughts.

Ultimately, whether you decide to finish your bachelor’s degree or not before starting pharmacy school is a very personal and difficult choice. There are many factors to consider when making the decision, and the decision might be different for each student. While we certainly see more students starting our program after completing their bachelor’s degree, we have many successful students who complete their prerequisite courses in 2-3 years, and are ready to enter our program afterwards. Whether you’re thinking of taking the fast track or the traditional track, we hope that you take the time to consider the benefits to each side. Which route is the best one for you?

The fast track or the traditional track – Part 1

The PharmD program is unique in that applicants do not need to have completed a bachelor’s degree before starting. Approximately 20% of each incoming class does not hold a bachelor’s degree. They enter the PharmD program after 2 or 3 years of undergraduate study – however long it takes to complete the prerequisite coursework.

One of the most common questions we get is in regards to whether an applicant should complete their bachelor’s degree or forgo their bachelor’s and apply early. This is a challenging question, because there is no clear cut answer! Here are some things to consider if you’re trying to make the decision whether or not to complete your bachelor’s degree. This week I’ll post some of the benefits to finishing your undergraduate work on the fast track, and next week I’ll follow up with the benefits to finishing your bachelor’s degree (the traditional track).

Benefits to completing your prerequisite courses in 2-3 years (the Fast Track):

  • Some students finish high school with AP or IB credits or dual enrollment courses which transfer in as credit to their undergraduate institution. They might test out of a course altogether, or receive placement into a higher level course. This enables them to start college with enough credits to complete the prerequisite classes in less time.
  • If you know that pharmacy is right path for you, you will likely want to get to the PharmD program as quickly as possible, because those are the classes you’re going to be most interested in. Rather than taking an extra year of coursework at the undergraduate level just to fulfill degree requirements, you want to pursue your passion as quickly as possible.
  • The cost of pursuing a bachelor’s degree and a PharmD degree can be huge. Students looking to lower their debt post-graduation might choose to finish their undergrad studies early in order to save money.
  • If you’re able to demonstrate that you’re a competitive applicant already – strong academically, well-rounded, mature – and are ready to enter a rigorous PharmD program, then what do you have to lose by applying early? If you feel that one more year of undergraduate work is not going to make you more competitive or more ready for pharmacy school, then you might benefit from applying early.




Admission decision FAQs

Every year, we receive more applications than we have spots in our class. Admission to our PharmD program is very competitive.

If your application was denied admission, you probably have many questions. Below are some of the most common questions we receive. If your question isn’t listed below, we would be happy to answer it: or 919-966-9429

Why was my application denied?

We do not provide specific feedback on why an application was denied. The Admissions Committee reviews each application thoroughly, and considers whether the applicant is academically qualified, a strong applicant, and a good fit for the program. There are many different reasons why an application might be denied, and it also depends on the size and strength of the applicant pool. We receive more applications than we can offer an interview (or a seat in the class), so we are selective.

Is there any more information I can provide the Admissions Committee to overturn the decision? Can I appeal my decision?

No, the Admissions Committee has reviewed your application and made an admissions decision. You cannot submit new information after the application deadline has passed. The decision is final.

Can I meet with someone to review my application?

No, we do not meet individually with students to discuss their applications, and we do not provide specific reasons for why an application was denied.

What can I do to be more competitive next year?

We recommend that you review this website to learn more about the types of students admitted to our program. You can find statistics for students previously admitted here. We will update this website with the Class of 2020’s admission information by July 1, 2016.

We also encourage you to review our Admission FAQs.

This post has recommendations for becoming a more competitive applicant. Feel free to check back on the blog in the coming months; we will post more content that will focus on being competitive.

In general, consider which aspect of your application was the weakest, and focus your efforts on improving that for the next admissions cycle. Every application and every student is different, so what might be the weakest part of your application might not be the same for your friend’s application. Sometimes the weakest part of an application is the academics (prerequisite courses, GPA, and/or PCAT). If that is the case, focus on improving your GPA, retaking any low prereq courses that you might need to review, and studying to improve your PCAT scores. Many times, it is because outside of academics, the applicant was not strong. We like to see students who are well-rounded in terms of their extra curricular involvement, who demonstrate leadership, have explored pharmacy and healthcare, and have research experience.

Is there additional coursework I can take to make me a stronger candidate?

You are always welcome to take more advanced coursework in your major or in an academic area (especially math or science) that will help you prepare for pharmacy school. We also encourage you to take courses you are interested in! If you’ve always wanted to take an art or psychology class, go for it! You will have 4 years to study science and pharmacy, so now is your opportunity to take classes outside those disciplines.
If you need coursework to fill credits, we recommend taking a research or writing-intensive class.
If you have lower grades (C- or lower) in prerequisite courses, we encourage you to retake those classes (and aim for an A or B grade). Don’t feel that you have to retake your prerequisite classes if you have above a C- in a prerequisite course. Retaking a class just to improve your GPA should not be your goal. Your goal should be to learn the material.

Can I reapply?

Yes, you are welcome to reapply. Our application for Fall 2017 entry will open in mid-July 2016.


Final application deadline approaching

Well, here we are – the last week to complete your application for Fall 2016 entry. The final day to submit your supplemental application is this Friday, January 15th. If you haven’t received the email instructions to submit your supplemental application, please send us an email as soon as possible: We are wrapping up our application reviews in the next few weeks, and sending out invitations for our final Candidates’ Day.