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).

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.



How to prepare for Candidates’ Day – Part 2

Back for part 2. Here are some tips to consider the night before your interview.

1. Know where you’re going and how to get there
There is nothing worse than getting lost or stuck in traffic the morning of an interview. Interviews are stressful enough without adding additional stress if you’re running late or lost! If you’re driving, make sure you know the route to get there, and calculate how long your route will take in morning rush hour traffic. Candidates’ Day check-in begins at 8am, which is peak morning rush hour in Asheville and Chapel Hill. If you plan to take public transportation or a cab, review the schedule or set up the ride ahead of time (not the morning of). If you can do a test run of the trip the day before, it might be a good idea.

2. Get a good night’s sleep
Aim for 6-8 hours of good sleep the night before to be at your best the next morning.

3. Eat a good breakfast
Lunch will be provided at Candidates’ Day (after your interview), but it’s a long time between check-in and lunch. You’ll feel better during your interview if your stomach isn’t rumbling.

4. Dress for success 
We recommend that students dress in professional attire. Wear appropriate footwear (or bring a change of shoes) if you plan to participate in the campus tour in the afternoon.

5. Make a good impression
Every time you interact with someone at the School, you are making an impression as an applicant. Even if the person isn’t interviewing you, they might notice you and pass their feedback to someone on the Admissions Committee.

Have any questions? Feel free to leave a comment.


How to prepare for Candidates’ Day – Part 1

Getting ready for your interview? Here are some tips to consider in the weeks leading up to your interview.

1. Familiarize yourself with the Multiple Mini Interview process
We use the Multiple Mini Interview process (MMI). The MMI is a series of 7 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 will not test prior knowledge, but will assess characteristics and attributes which the Admissions Committee feel are important for success as a pharmacist. The MMI is different from a traditional or job interview. Search for MMI online to see videos of the interview process, and find sample questions.

2. Mock Interview
The best way to prepare for any interview is to practice interviewing. Grab a friend or family member to help, or see if any of your clubs/organizations or Career Counseling Center offer them. Interviews can be stressful, but if you go through a mock interview, you’ll be able to practice the tough questions and get some of your nerves out of the way.

3. Research the School
Make sure you’ve spent some time on the School website, and are familiar with the program. While we might be interviewing you at Candidates’ Day, it’s also an opportunity for you to decide if our School is the right fit for you. While you’re researching the School…

4. Prepare some questions
Write down your questions and bring them along to Candidates’ Day. You will have plenty of opportunities to ask current students, faculty, and staff any questions you might have.

5. Practice your elevator pitch
If you have 20 seconds to give an introduction, what would you say? What makes you unique as an applicant? You’ll be meeting lots of people on Candidates’ Day, so you want to make sure you make a positive impression.

Next week, I’ll share more tips to consider as you prepare for Candidates’ Day.


What to expect at Candidates’ Day

You’ve been offered a chance to interview – congrats! Now what can you expect?

Candidates’ Day will be a chance for you to learn more about the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, as we learn more about you. You’ll get to meet current PharmD students, faculty, and staff, and learn more about our program and School. You’ll hear about our curriculum and academic experience, learn more about our Office of Student Affairs, take a tour of the school, have lunch with current students, and hear first hand from students and faculty what opportunities are available at the School.

You’ll also get a chance to participate in a Multiple Mini Interview (MMI). Never participated in an MMI before? It’s an interview method that was developed in Canada and is popular in medical school admissions. You’ll participate in seven different interviews with seven different interviewers, each lasting six minutes. The questions will be thought-provoking, but won’t require previous scientific knowledge. You’ll be challenged to think quickly on your feet, formulate an argument, and articulate your argument effectively to the interviewer. If you do poorly on one interview, you still have six more chances to make a first impression! The MMI will assess certain non-cognitive attributes that the Admissions Committee feels are important to success in pharmacy school and beyond.

Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post about how to prepare for Candidates’ Day!

International Students

Recently, we’ve had quite a few students contact us to ask if they can still apply to the PharmD program even though they’re international students. The answer is: Yes!

We do not review international students any differently in the admissions process, but there are a few things that you will need to provide with your application. First, you will need to have your foreign transcripts evaluated by a foreign transcript evaluation service. We prefer WES, but you can find a complete list of services here. You can find more details about determining prerequisite coursework equivalencies here.

In regards to financial aid, students who hold a United States Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551 or a green card, as it is also known) can be considered for need-based federal and institutional funds. All other international students are required by law to certify at the time of admission that they can pay for their education.

International students will need to fill out the Financial Certificate document upon admission to the PharmD program. We will provide you with that document in your admission packet. You can find more information about that form here.

PharmCAS has several FAQ regarding your PharmCAS application, so I recommend you review those questions here before applying.

October 1st

Our Priority Consideration deadline is coming up next week. To be considered for the Priority Consideration, you will need to submit both your PharmCAS application and your supplemental application by October 1st. Please remember that after you submit your PharmCAS application, it can take several weeks for PharmCAS to verify your application and release it to our School. Even if you can’t submit the supplemental application by October 1st, I recommend submitting the PharmCAS application by that date. We have a rolling admissions process, so the earlier you can submit your applications, the earlier we can review your application and invite you for an interview. We will be sending out our first batch of interview invites in mid-October. Plan accordingly, and apply early!


Have you already taken the PCAT? If you’re applying for Fall 2016 entry, the latest you can take the PCAT for the first time is November 2015.

You can register for the PCAT here. There’s also great information on that website regarding what is included on the exam, and sample tests and questions.

The PCAT is just one factor we review in the Admissions process to determine your academic preparedness. Last year, the average PCAT composite score for accepted students in our program was 88%. We recommend that students score at least a 70% on the composite score to be competitive.

Frequently Asked Questions

Many students have questions about our Admissions process, and about our PharmD program. The best place to start with any questions you might have is our Frequently Asked Questions page on our website. This is a great resource where we have the most up-to-date answers regarding the most commonly asked questions. Take a look!

If you have a question that isn’t on the FAQ page, feel free to send us an