Many of you are getting ready to apply or are in the process of applying! PharmCAS is the application website you use to apply to pharmacy schools. I went through this process three years ago, and I remember how stressful it was. Please bear with me as I try to remember my experience with the entire process.
I was unsure of where I wanted to go. I knew I wanted to go to a top program, but I didn’t have a specific area that I was dying to go. I fully utilized the Top Pharmacy Schools by US News website in conjunction with the School Directory on the PharmCAS website.
I started by narrowing down schools by looking at the pre-requisite criteria for each school. I looked at schools that were ranked 1-80 and were in areas that I would be okay living in for 4+ years. I knew I would end up out-of-state, so location was a big deal for me. When you are looking at schools to apply, you have to think about what type of area you want to be in. Do you want a city? A small town? What size city? Do you want to be near an airport? What is the cost of living there? What opportunities are there for you to get an internship or complete rotations?
After I determined which schools were in areas I would live in, I narrowed down the schools by cost of living, housing options, cost of tuition, and dual degrees (MPH, MBA, etc). At this point, I had narrowed down my list to twelve schools. Eleven of the schools I would apply through PharmCAS, and only one did not utilize PharmCAS. I prepared all of this before I even started my PharmCAS application, and collected all the information within an excel sheet. Honestly, I wish I could find my excel spreadsheet because I put so much time and effort into it! I am actually quite proud of myself for that spreadsheet. It helped guide me through the entire application process.
Ultimately, I decided to only apply to eight schools. I think most students don’t apply to as many schools, but since I knew nobody else who was applying or had applied to pharmacy school, I did not know the norm. I wasn’t fortunate enough to stumble across a blog post like this or have a mentor to talk to when it comes to pharmacy school and applications.
So at this point in my application process, I was ready to start the PharmCAS Application. I thought I could quickly do this part, but I quickly found that I was wrong! I am a bit of a perfectionist, and so it took me MUCH longer than I expected. The part that took me the longest was the essay writing. I knew that there would be essays, but I didn’t realize how much time I would spend on these to make them perfect. If I could make one suggestion, it would be to ask multiple people to review your essays. Ask a friend, ask a parent, ask a mentor! Have your reviewers review your drafts several times. For me, I wanted my writing to show that I could communicate effectively to people of various educations. Communication is a huge part of pharmacy!
As for the content of your essays, just stay true to yourself. Don’t get caught up in what you think the school wants to hear. Answer each question honestly and in a manner that is a great representation of you. Show your passion for pharmacy!
I wish you all the best of luck with applications, PharmCAS, and interviews!
If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will answer them to the best of my ability! If I can’t answer them, I will be able to find someone who can help you.