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Nailing the Pharmacy School Interview & Getting Accepted

PHARMACY SCHOOL INTERVIEW

After filling our your pharmacy school application, the next step is interviewing. And interviews can be stressful, especially when the on-site pharmacy school interview is a critical part of the admissions process. By following the below steps, you’ll be one step closer to being accepted into pharmacy school.

Prepare to be interviewed.

Practice mock interviews with someone who can give you objective feedback. Treat the mock pharmacy school interview like the real thing. The more you prepare, the less anxious you’ll be and the better you’ll perform. Anticipate questions you might ask if you were the interviewer. If you can’t answer why you are the right fit for the pharmacy school you are interviewing at, you aren’t prepared.

Be prepared to write an essay and perform calculations.

Many schools require you to complete a calculation test and an extemporaneous essay during the pharmacy school interview day. You can and should practice ahead of time for both. Remember, if your personal statement reads like you’re Emily Dickinson or Ernest Hemingway, but you can’t write a simple essay during the interview day, what sort of impression do you think that leaves? Same thing applies for basic arithmetic.

Never be late or rude to anyone during the interview day.

A lot of busy people are devoting their time to get to know you. If you can’t make it for whatever reason, provide advance notice of at least 48 hours. There is growing intolerance for this type of unprofessional behavior since it takes two minutes to make a phone call or send an email. Remember, as an applicant, you are bound by PharmCAS’s “Applicant Code of Conduct.

Interviews are a two-way street.

A secret about the pharmacy school interview day: it’s as much a way for you to determine if a school is a match for you as it is for them to determine whether you are the right candidate. Ask questions to faculty, students, preceptors, and alumni. Do folks appear happy and supportive? Are there scholarships? Research opportunities? Major practice site hubs for the program? Student support mechanisms? Organizations? Leadership opportunities? Ask yourself, “Is this a program that will nurture my growth?”

Follow up.

It never hurts to send a simple thank you note to the people who interviewed you. Ask for their business card or email address at the conclusion of your pharmacy school interview. If you forget to ask, this information is usually available on the school website.

And if everything goes according to plan…congratulations! You’ve been accepted!

A few of final pieces of advice on getting accepted:

Acceptance deadlines are real.

If you receive an offer of admission, respond back—it’s the professional thing to do. Many schools will provide you with clear deadlines to accept or reject the admissions offer. Do not ignore them. If you fail to respond, your offer will be retracted and extended to someone who will. To avoid this, schedule your interviews carefully. Open and honest communication with the school is always appreciated.

Stay connected to your email and voicemail.

After accepting an offer, remain connected with the school and don’t go “off the grid.” We want to engage and welcome you into our community. Therefore, we’re likely to begin sending you important information (new student orientation and white coat ceremony dates, housing information, summer reading, required vaccinations, tech requirements, intern license information, etc.). This flow of information is done specifically to ease your transition into the program and to avoid issues that inevitably occur when trying to address these items at the last minute. Give the pharmacy school a heads up if you anticipate being out of contact for whatever reason.

Start conditioning yourself with good habits before school starts.

Once you receive an acceptance, use the time before pharmacy school starts to develop a routine of good sleeping, eating, and exercise habits. Healthy habits will help ease your transition into pharmacy school, allow you to focus on the rigors of graduate coursework once it starts, and optimize your chances for success!

Dr. Kyle Sousa is the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs at West Coast University’s School of Pharmacy in Los Angeles. You can follow him on Twitter @drbiochemistry.

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