You’re applying to pharmacy school, so you’re ready to answer a lot of questions. After all, you have an application to complete and a personal statement to write to answer questions that the admissions office has about your previous experiences and future goals. But did you know that you should also ask your potential schools questions?
Pharmacy school is expensive, both because of how much you’ll pay for tuition and because it’s going to require a lot of your time and effort for the next few years. That means you’re going to want to put in the effort to make sure you choose the right school. To help, we asked Jonathan Parker, Director of Pharmacy Admission at Samford University’s McWhorter School of Pharmacy, what questions every prospective pharmacy student should ask potential schools.
What kind of environment does the school foster?
Before asking the school this question, ask yourself what type of environment you need to thrive. Parker says, “It’s important that you know yourself and a part of this is knowing what you are looking for in a program — that’s more than just the academic side!”
You’ll want to figure out if the school offers a quiet, focused environment for studying or if the school is on the livelier side. Once you know, you can make an informed decision about which school you’ll attend.
Other questions that you might add to this category:
- Does the school offer the amenities you need to set yourself up for personal success (e.g., a gym, health services, etc.)?
- Does the school offer outside of the classroom support you’ll need as you work towards your specialty of choice (e.g., mentor connections, a career center, etc.)?
What are the school’s graduation rates?
“Many prospective students stop seeking information after they find a school’s average GPA and test scores for admitted classes. They think that provides as deep of an overview of the school as is needed,” shares Parker. “There’s so much more information that you can collect to get a better understanding of just what you should expect from your prospective school!”
Also consider asking:
- What are the school’s employment rates?
- What support does the school offer graduates to help them enter the health care workforce?
Does the school’s dining hall have your favorite style of food on its menu? Or is your favorite type of restaurant nearby?
“Visit the schools,” Parker suggests. “Really take the time to learn about everything not related to academics that they have to offer. If possible, arrange to spend some time with current students. We can’t put everything about the school on our websites, much less all the information that might be useful about the local city/town. Since you are only going to be in class on campus about a third of the time you spend at college, put in the work to make sure your new community and its surrounding areas are a good fit for you.”
Additional questions to pose:
- If you’re a runner, does the campus offer ample safe running routes?
- If you don’t have a car, is there reliable public transportation nearby?
Find the answers to your questions
The best way to get answers to your questions: Take advantage of the admissions office! Professionals like Parker are there to help prospective students like you and they’re happy to answer these questions and any others that you might have. “I say this all the time: If prospective students didn’t have questions, I wouldn’t have a job,” Parker says.
The bonus: Asking questions not only gives you the information you need to make the best decision when it comes to your education, but it gives you an opportunity to network with admissions officers. When applying to pharmacy school, it never hurts to be more than just an application in a stack of similar papers.