Applying to college is stressful! Fortunately, there are directors of admissions like Mercer University College of Pharmacy’s Jordana Berry who are more than happy to help you through the process. Read on to learn more about what Jordana wishes pharmacy school applicants knew before hitting “submit” on their applications.
1. The admissions office is here to help!
You may not be able to visit each school you are considering. That’s fine! Just be sure to reach out to the admissions office before you apply so that you are aware of the admissions requirements (including prerequisite courses) and the process that we use in selecting students for our programs. If you are not able to attend an open house, make a trip to our campus or visit with us at a grad fair or pre-pharmacy meeting at your school, try to connect via email or phone.
2. Experiences are important, too.
Applying to a Doctor of Pharmacy Program – or any health professions program – requires students’ precious resources of time and money, but it is the effort of putting together a comprehensive application that is especially appreciated by admissions staff and committees. To streamline the process, many pharmacy schools use the centralized application PharmCAS for admissions that allows you to apply to multiple schools with one application.
Once you have determined the schools to which you will apply and what we’re looking for, you should review each PharmCAS application section to ensure you have gathered the information you need to present a complete and comprehensive application that showcases your academic, extracurricular and professional experiences. Please take care with how you complete the extracurricular and/or work experience sections, which are also reviewed during the admissions process. We don’t expect you to be active in 10 organizations/activities or have held as many jobs, but we do want to see what your passions are outside of the classroom and additional skill sets you are developing through those activities.
3. Don’t rely on spellcheck.
Once you’ve completed the application, but before you submit it, you should take time to proof it and have at least one other person review it. While the PharmCAS application will end up being consistently formatted for each school you apply to, it will not automatically correct misspellings, incorrect grammar or formatting issues. A wonderful and engaging statement or experience description becomes less so when the reader encounters errors.
4. Timing is everything.
Each school in PharmCAS selects their deadline and fortunately you can add these dates to your calendar once you have figured out to which schools you will be applying. Most schools begin reviewing applications as soon as they are received, which can be months in advance of the application deadline. Not sure if a school uses rolling admissions or waits to review all applications after the deadline? Don’t hesitate to contact each school to find out which process they use so you can plan your application submission at the right time in the process.
5. The process doesn’t stop after you submit your application.
When you press the submit button, know the next steps that will be taken in the admissions process. Those steps will include you following up to ensure your PharmCAS application is complete and verified and then the admissions staff being in contact with you regarding your progress through the admissions process. Most schools use a variety of communication modes (email and phone especially, but also postal mail) to reach out to applicants for additional information, to invite them to interview and to inform them of the final admissions decision. Make sure your contact information is kept up to date throughout the admissions process and be a proactive and engaged participant in the admissions process.
Following these steps will positively benefit not only your application, but also your experience in the pharmacy school admissions process.
Thank you to Jordana Berry for contributing this guest post to ExploreHealthCareers.org. Are you an admissions officer who would like to share tips to help students apply to school? Email editorial [at] explorehealthcareers.org.