In this post, I will cover the potential changes in the way in which pharmacy schools are willing to conduct interviews and additional questions applicants should have as we look forward to a post-COVID world. In the second portion, we’ll get a bit of an insider’s perspective from a classmate of mine who has worked extensively with Roseman University’s Admissions Committee through prospective student recruitment, reviewing applicants, and coordinating interview days.
Schools allow for applicants to interview in an online format (eg. Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting)
Will the increased adoption of online interviews...
1. Allow applicants to interview with more programs?
• I believe students would be able to interview with more programs as the majority of the time commitment to be in-person for interviews would be virtually eliminated.
• Looking back at one of my interview days, I vividly remember another applicant who had interviews on back-to-back days in two separate states. Having just one of these interviews online would have saved this applicant much needed time, stress, and potential travel costs. Personally, I understand that applicants for decades have done these types of stress-filled interview journeys but I believe that this is unnecessary in today’s world.
2. Allow applicants to consider programs that are further geographically?
• Speaking from my own experience, in 2018 I was able to interview with the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s pharmacy program. At that time, I was still completing my bachelor’s degree at the University of Oregon but due to the potential travel costs and the missing of college classes, I considered not applying. The reason why I was able to interview was that they allowed applicants to do so online.
• I would not be surprised if, in the future, applicants began to consider programs they would not have originally due to the elimination of having to budget for the financial and time costs of interviewing in-person.
• Due to these changes, I believe that schools could expect an increased number of quality applicants and provide themselves an opportunity to graduate from being a program that is regionally constrained to one that is able to recruit nationally.
Additional questions students should have for programs post-COVID
• Was your program able to transition seamlessly into an online format or were there delays in the school year?
• How were exams conducted? Did you feel that students’ performance was on par with in-person exams?
• What protocols did your program implement for the 2020-21 school year?
• Were student IPPE or APPE rotations delayed?
The next portion of this post consists of a few responses to questions I was able to ask Christopher Hernandez, a fellow classmate of mine at Roseman. Over the last two years at our school Chris has had an active role in our school’s admission process, acting as our class’ Admissions Committee Representative where he has worked extensively with Roseman University’s Admissions Committee through prospective student recruitment, reviewing applicants, and coordinating interview days.
Do you expect any potential changes in the way in which schools conduct interviews post-COVID?
In general, Roseman has actually already adopted changes to interviewing. COVID-19 really affects the most important time of the interviewing process. We switched to an online-only interview style and it was quite a success. Since we know we can do it already, I could see it being utilized in the future.
Will schools be more willing to conduct interviews online if students can’t make it in person?
This is a harder question. In some ways, yes, and in others, no. We know that we can perform interviews online but let’s face it, the applicants do not have the same experience as in-person interviews. I could see us shifting to interviews online if the pandemic continues; however, I do not believe it will become a personal preference of the applicant. Just like the pandemic, the situation is very fluid and we could favor online interviews in the upcoming admission cycle.
Do you have uncommon advice for applicants after your extensive work at Roseman?
With so much advice out there I am not even sure what would be considered uncommon. I think many applicants are nervous about interviewing and they should know that we already anticipate that. Don’t try to be something you’re not, no matter how much you think it will help you. You’d be surprised how a cookie-cutter applicant isn’t as favored anymore. Roseman uses a holistic approach and we really want to get to know individuals and their fit at our university. So be yourself and remember to be polite with everyone you meet throughout the interview day, pharmacy is a small world and word gets around. Good luck!
Thanks again to Chris for his great insight! Find him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christopherohernandez/
If you want more advice on applying to pharmacy school, check out my last post here: “Uncommon Advice for Pharmacy School Applicants (A current pharmacy student’s perspective by Holden Young)”