There’s a lot of information out there, sometimes misinformation, so it’s important that you know all the steps in the process and allow plenty of time to complete it. And every pharmacy school has different requirements, making it especially easy to forget something crucial if you’re not careful.
Here’s a list of the most common problems (and their solutions!) that I’ve seen as an Admissions Counselor at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy.
- Missing required coursework
This is a big problem, especially for students who complete coursework at a community college or at another university. Every school of pharmacy requires different pre-pharmacy coursework. Often, your school may have a pre-pharmacy course schedule, but which pharmacy school is that based on? Plus, requirements may change and your school may not have altered their suggested curriculum to match.
ALWAYS contact all the schools directly as soon as you start thinking pharmacy school is right for you. Plan ahead to get requirements for a back-up school, too.
At the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, all required pre-pharmacy courses must be completed by the end of the spring semester after you apply to pharmacy school.
- Transcripts not received by PharmCAS
If PharmCAS does not receive your transcript, they cannot verify your application. You need to keep an eye on your application status to make sure everything is happening on schedule. This causes major delays for some students every year! Ultimately, it’s the student’s responsibility to make sure PharmCAS receives the transcripts, not just to request the transcripts.
- Applying too late to get your preferred interview date
Just because the Early Decision deadline is Sept. 8th this year doesn’t mean you can apply on Sept. 7th and everything will go smoothly! You need to allow PharmCAS 4-6 weeks to verify your application before your desired interview date. Pick your preferred interview date, count back 4-6 weeks, and make that your personal application deadline.
- Providing Incomplete Information
A portion of your admission is based on community service, work and leadership. The committee will look at the Biographical Supplement on the Supplemental Application for this score. Make sure you are detailed and provide complete information. For example, saying “Community Service Chairperson” is not nearly as helpful as detailing the organization, its function, and details about your role as Community Service Chairperson.
- Not checking email frequently
You’ll receive information about the Supplemental Application and Applicant Day instructions at the email address you provide on your PharmCAS application. Check your email often, including your spam or junk email folder! Sometimes students believe they never received information, but they weren’t checking the correct email account.
- Understand the minimum requirements
You will only be invited to interview if you meet the minimum requirements for acceptance to the program. The minimum GPA on required pre-pharmacy courses is a 2.75, but the average is usually 3.3-3.4. The minimum PCAT composite score is 395, with average scores of accepted students typically between 408-410. You also need to earn a 3.0 on the Writing section of the PCAT.
If you are not invited to interview because you do not meet the minimum criteria, we will keep your application on file during this application cycle. When you take the PCAT and send your official scores to PharmCAS, your application will automatically be updated. You will be invited to the next Applicant Day if your new scores make you eligible.
- Do not successfully complete all remaining coursework
Although classes will still be in progress when you interview and receive your acceptance, all offers are contingent on successfully passing your fall and spring courses. Keep studying and make sure you take all necessary coursework!
There are a lot of specific steps for applying to Pharmacy School, but the good news is that there are lots of resources to help you.
Here are a few to start you on the way:
Admissions Counselors (Me!)