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Uncommon Advice for Pharmacy School Applicants (A current pharmacy student’s perspective by Holden Young)

APPE Pharmacy Student

This advice may not be relevant to most potential applicants, but I can say that reading this would have allowed me to be much more confident and comfortable during the interview process. If this does help you in any way or if you have any questions, message me on LinkedIn or find my email on my MyCred ePortfolio

1. Get a feel for a potential career path to choose post-PharmD

I know it may seem way too early for someone not even in pharmacy school to be considering what path they would like to take after graduation, but I believe that this can confirm that pharmacy may be a profession you should pursue and one that you would enjoy. 

Check out APhA’s Career Options Profiles and read the ones that seem interesting to you:

2. Make a LinkedIn profile

Now that you’ve decided that pharmacy school is a profession you want to pursue, it’s time to speak with people who have gone through the path that you are considering. 

Not only will creating a LinkedIn now give you a great headstart for your professional career, but it will also allow you to “cold connect and message” current pharmacy students and professionals. Searches including the schools you are considering applying to and the path you are interested in (eg. Regulatory Affairs) will provide you with current students or alumni who have experience in the form of internships and past job positions. Many individuals will include interests such as Regulatory Affairs in the “About” section of their LinkedIn profile. 

Although this can be a bit awkward at first, many of the people I’ve contacted respond promptly and are more than willing to have a conversation over the phone. In my experience, many of these conversations last an hour or so and provide an immense amount of information that you simply are unable to find in any program’s brochure or company’s website. 

3. For those who are interested in but have had little to no exposure to the career paths outside of community and hospital pharmacy

If you believe that you will pursue a career outside of retail and hospital pharmacy either reach out to programs or during the interview process, be sure to ask these programs about past alumni who have pursued the path you are interested in and how their program can aid in your pursuit of that path post-graduation. 

Also, if you were able to get your LinkedIn up and running from Tip #2, go ahead and “cold message” specific alumni of the programs you are considering and ask them about how they’re school supported their career pursuits, if at all. 

4. Understand the potential time commitment 
Aside from the tuition costs that you need to consider (you can find a great deal of information online about the potential debt you can incur at virtually any level of postsecondary education), all applicants should consider the total potential time commitment of pharmacy school and post-PharmD opportunities. 

From the outside, it can appear that once you begin pharmacy school it will only be 3-4 more years before you start your career, but for many, they will tack on at least another 1-2 years.

As the number of roles that pharmacists fulfill continues to expand, further specialization is often seen as a requirement. From residencies to fellowships, each year more and more PharmDs pursue these postgraduate opportunities.

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Degree Programs, Masters, Post-Secondary