It may feel overwhelming to begin thinking about pharmacy school while you’re still navigating high school, but seeking advice from those who have been in your position will prepare you for the journey ahead. To help, we’ve compiled the four best pieces of advice that students interested in attending pharmacy school received from peers and practicing pharmacists.
Take Advantage of Your Time in High School
High school is a prime time to explore your academic and personal interests. The classes and after school activities that excite you oftentimes indicate a potential career path. For example, if you’re fond of math and science, then pharmacy may be right for you! Most pharmacy students and pharmacists we interviewed said that they enjoyed math and science classes while they were in high school.
Join organizations that align with your personal passions. If your high school offers healthcare-focused or even pre-pharmacy organizations, join them! And don’t always look up, look to the side. Your peers, specifically upperclassmen, in these organizations are great people to connect with and learn from. Your peers are valuable because they’re closer to the types of situations you may be struggling with right now.
Additionally, high school guidance counselors offer a wealth of knowledge as they can further educate you on class selection and college programs to pursue. You never know who can connect you to the resources and tips that you’ll need to excel—be social!
Do Your Research
Before applying to pharmacy school, you should be well aware of the possibilities and opportunities that a PharmD degree can provide. There are a plethora of career pathways you can pursue after graduating from pharmacy school. From veterinary pharmacy to pharmaceutical research and development, you can truly pick a career that best aligns with your personal interests.
Set yourself up for success by researching colleges that offer prestigious pre-pharmacy programs or excellent math and science programs. Further increase your chances of admission by enrolling in courses that showcase your intended career path. Having a number of chemistry, biology, and statistics classes on your high school transcript will show demonstrated interest to college admissions officers.
Seek out Mentorship
Talking to practicing pharmacists can help inform your knowledge of available opportunities. Shadowing practicing pharmacists in varying fields will give you hands-on experience and help narrow your interests. If you don’t have a direct connection to a pharmacist, utilize your guidance counselor to learn more about internships or opportunities in your area.
Keep in mind that your youth and inexperience is an asset! Adults love helping passionate young people discover their career paths and interests. Use that to your benefit. If you show that you are genuinely interested in pharmacy, you may be surprised by how much people are willing to help and mentor you.
Visit Pharmacy Schools
Lastly, after being admitted to college and deciding that you’d like to obtain a PharmD, you’ll want to make sure that you select the pharmacy school that is right for you. Contacting the admissions office at various schools and scheduling a visit can provide you with further insight into how the four (or six) years of your life following college will look and feel. Further, utilizing your visit to review admissions criteria can ensure that you’re currently taking the right steps to increase your chances of being admitted.
While high school can be a time of many pressures and stresses, you’re never too young to begin thinking about your future. If you have even the slightest interest in being a pharmacist, then you owe it to yourself to put pharmacy school on your radar. Don’t be afraid to do some research, read a few articles, go to a club’s interest meeting, reach out to your local pharmacist, and get your feet wet! Be intentional in the steps you take during high school, as they play a huge role in dictating your future success.