Just a few short days ago, PharmCAS released the 2016-2017 Pharmacy School Application! I remember filling out that same application 2 whole years ago, but wow, it feels like the time since then has flown by.
The application itself is long and intimidating, and it’s a school’s first “glance” at who you are. This application and all the information you put on it will be the reason a school extends an invitation to interview, or not. For me, it was practically the most important application I’ve ever filled out in my life, and I wanted to make sure that I made the best impression I possibly could via a series of electronic forms. I wanted to compile a small list of application “Do’s” and “Dont’s” for all the pharmacy school applicants this year and in the future. I’m hoping that this can help someone to get through that vicious application, and score an interview at their dream school!
Don’t leave anything off of your application.
When filling out the “resume” portion of the application, feel free to be yourself here. Are you a member of the local dodgeball team? Put it down. Do you spend time learning how to tap dance? Put it. Do you volunteer at the community’s Little League concession stand? Put it!! None of your accomplishments or extracurricular activities are insignificant. Anything goes here, just as long as it is something you legitimately do. Don’t make anything up here just to make yourself sound interesting. But, I do encourage you to share interesting hobbies and activities here . It makes you a more interesting applicant to the Admissions’ Committee, and it also gives proof that you are as well-rounded of an applicant as they are looking for.
Do think hard about submitting your application as an “Early Decision”.
Early Decision is a serious matter. There might be that dream school out there that you are applying to, and you tell yourself that you will absolutely accept their offer of admission if they choose to give it to you. That is a fine choice for some people, if they are dead set on attending a particular school. I advise you not to cut off all other options, though. If you don’t get selected as an Early Admit for your dream school, you need to have back up options. You are only allowed to pick one school as an Early Decision. You don’t even have to choose an Early Decision school if you don’t want to. Pharmacy school admissions is competitive, and you need to make sure all of your bases are covered. Also worthy of mentioning is, if you do apply for Early Admit, and the school offers you admission, you are bound to attend that school. There is no changing your mind at this point in the game. If, for whatever reason, you apply for Early Decision, the school offers you admission, and you decline it, you are not allowed to apply for any other Pharm D. programs during the current admission cycle – you must wait again until the next year. Take this decision seriously.
Don’t wait until a school’s deadline to submit your full application.
As a matter of fact, try to submit your materials as soon as possible. Sometimes, it takes a while for your transcripts to be processed by PharmCAS. It also may take a while for your references to submit their letters of recommendation. Plus, the earlier you submit your application, the faster you will receive offers to interview.
Do realize that most schools only give you 2 weeks to accept their offer.
After you attend a school’s interview, the waiting begins. It could take anywhere between 1 day to 1 month to hear back from the school. In any case, the majority of schools will only give you a 2 week time frame, starting from the day they accept you, to accept their offer. This can obviously be a huge problem. You may still have a ton of interviews lined up that you haven’t been to yet once you receive an offer of admission. You may feel slightly anxious that no other schools that you interview at will accept you, and that you might as well accept the school that has. Make the best decision you possibly can. If you feel confident enough to keep going, I advise that you do that. You don’t want to accept an offer of admission to a school that your heart isn’t set on. You won’t end up happy with that decision. I turned down schools left and right after they admitted me, mostly because they weren’t good fits for me regardless, but I’m glad I waited for the right place to come along.
Good luck to all of the pharmacy school applicants this year! I know you will do well!