Pharmacy schools generally consider the following factors when deciding who to admit.
- Successful completion of prerequisite coursework, usually with a grade of C or above.
- Average GPAs for accepted applicants are typically 3.0 - 3.5 or higher.
- Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) scores are required by two-thirds of all pharmacy schools. The PCAT is offered in July, September, October, November and January and requires advanced registration.
Volunteer or paid experience working with patients in a pharmacy or health-related setting may be required by many schools and encouraged by all. Pharmacy-related experience allows applicants to test their career decision and be confident that it is a good fit. Applicants who have researched and gained direct exposure to the profession will be better prepared to write a compelling application and respond to interview questions.
Obtaining pharmacy experiences:
- Many hospitals and community clinics may offer pharmacy-related and/or patient-related volunteer experiences.
- Review the Experiences section on this web site for possible pharmacy-related volunteer opportunities.
- Some pre-pharmacy students work as pharmacy technicians in community pharmacies to learn more about the field. Pharmacy technician jobs require a pharmacy technician license issued by a state’s department of professional regulation.
Letters of Recommendation
- PharmD programs require letters of recommendation (LOR); these letters may come from particular individuals, such as a pharmacist, professor, or academic advisor.
- PharmCAS’s Directory of pharmacy school requirements provides LOR school-specific requirements in terms of number of letters required and types of recommenders accepted by individual PharmD programs.
- If applying to a non-PharmCAS participating program, applicants should check each school's specific directions regarding letters or recommendation.
- Although HPA offers a recommendation file service for medical and dental school applicants, PharmCAS applicants should use the electronic letter of recommendation system provided through PharmCAS.
If asked to interview for a pharmacy program, you should be prepared to discuss why you are pursuing a career in the pharmacy profession and how you perceive the role of the pharmacist in health care. You are most likely to be rated on how you present yourself and interact in a group, your knowledge of the profession, your ability to solve problems, and your motivation to pursue a career in pharmacy. Your written communication skills may also be measured with an essay exercise.