Prep Materials & Application Process
Below is a rough timeline for preparing your application to pharmacy school.
Fall Semester Before You Apply
1. Research Pharmacy Schools
The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) manages the online Pharmacy School Locator, or check the PharmCAS School Directory.
Candidates should research the academic rigor of a program, the clinical experience offered, and the availability of faculty and support services. Of course, the cost of the program, availability of financial aid, and the location and environment of the college can be contributing factors in deciding which program is best suited to the candidate. Deciding on a program that best fits the applicant’s needs is a very personal process. All schools produce graduates who are competent and capable of providing quality pharmaceutical care. The applicant must decide what values are personally important and then use those as a basis for evaluating the various programs.
Some factors to consider
- What is the focus of the pharmacy school’s training and does it match the applicant’s interests and needs? Clinical opportunities? Research opportunities? Specialty training? Qualifications of teaching faculty? Qualifications of clinical faculty?
- What is the structure of the curriculum in terms of what is taught and when? How early does the student see patients? Opportunity for electives? Externships? Community service? Part-time work?
- What academic resources are available to students? Faculty availability? Numbers and diversity of patients? Community settings?
- What services are available to students? Tutoring? Peer advising? Student government? Stress counseling? Housing? Medical care? Parking? Extracurricular activities?
- Where is the school located? Is a rural or urban setting more desirable? Cultural or sports availability?
2. Review the Americal Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) website
The AACP website provides a wealth of information to help you research pharmacy schools, learn about the profession, and to apply to multiple pharmacy schools via PharmCAS, the centralized application service for U.S. pharmacy schools.
3. Make a list of your activities
Activities may include: employment, internships, volunteer, etc., outside of class, in addition to: hours, dates, locations, contacts; and your role and what you learned
4. Identify possible faculty for letters of recommendation
Spring Semester Before You Apply
1. Study for the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT)
Most pharmacy schools require the PCAT. You can find more information on their website. For tips on taking admissions tests, check out our exam tips page.
Register early as seating is on a first-come, first-served basis to get your preferred testing date, time, and location. If you wait until the "Late Registration and Schedule" deadline, you will be charged additional fees, with no guarantee that you will get your preferred testing date, time, and location.
The PCAT consists of test sections in
- Biological Processes
- Chemical Processes
- Critical Reading
- Quantitative Reasoning
2. Write a personal statement
For tips or assistance on writing your application essay, or to have your personal statement critiqued, please make an appointment with a career counselor in the Career Center.
3. Request letters of recommendation
Schools vary in their letter of recommendation requirements. Please check with individual schools. Most will generally require 2-3 letters from science faculty (Biology, Chemistry, and/or Physics), and 1 non-academic letter.
Summer That You Apply
1. Complete the PharmCAS, the centralized application service for pharmacy schools. (Online application services open in June)
Allow up to 4 weeks for PharmCAS to process and verify your application once your application and transcripts are received. Each pharmacy school may require additional materials, including supplemental applications and letters of recommendation, before your application is considered.
The centralized application includes:
- Biographical Information
- Colleges and universities attended
- Academic course history
- Personal Statement
- Work & Volunteer Experiences
- Extracurricular activities
- Letters of Recommendation (must be electronically submitted to PharmCAS; or sent directly to the pharmacy school as required)
2. Complete school-specific secondaries or supplemental application
Some pharmacy schools require a secondary application unique to each school. For information about secondary applications, check individual schools or programs in the School Directory.
3. Interview Preparation
Applicant finalists will be asked to participate in interviews. For help preparing for interviews, please make an appointment with a career counselor in the Career Center.