After completing your pharmacy school prerequisites and submitting your application, the only thing standing between you and admission into pharmacy school is your interview. The pharmacy school interview is your opportunity to discuss who you are, why you are interested in pharmacy as a profession and why you are an outstanding candidate for admission to the school of your choice. Being prepared for your interview can mean the difference between being accepted for admission and being wait-listed.
The most pertinent questions in a pharmacy school interview will center around why you are pursuing the field in the first place. There are several factors to consider, starting with your interest in health care. You also might talk about pharmacy being attractive as a profession because it has one of the smallest gender pay gaps among all of the country's professions. Feel free to expand on personal experiences that have lead you to the field, but refrain from making it sound as if pharmacy is a "Plan B" alternative to medical school or other health professions.
Recognize Your Importance
Without you and other students like you, the pharmacy schools could not operate. Though each school has its own protocols for selecting interviewees, many schools interview approximately two or three students for every seat that is available. Your inclusion in the interview pool means that you have already been selected above the rest of the applicant pool to compete for admission to the pharmacy program.
Show Yourself Off
Pharmacy programs admit a small number of students per year, in several cases between 100 to 150 students at most. While many schools look at academics and PCAT scores during initial admission selections, the interview is designed to look at a student's personality and determine if she is a good fit within a program's culture. Don't be afraid to show off your personality by talking about your favorite books, hobbies and volunteer experiences, even if they are not pharmacy-related. Many schools are concerned with burn-out, which is a leading cause of attrition in professional programs. Talking about hobbies and ways that you mentally take care of yourself can both show off your personality, and indicate to your interviewers that you have mechanisms in place to prevent burnout.
While portions of your interview may be one on one, it is common for pharmacy schools to interview students in groups to observe group dynamics and to generate discussion among interviewees. It is also possible that you will interview with a panel of faculty, staff and current students at the pharmacy school.
Pharmacy schools want students who are high-achievers, but who are also connected to the world around them. This not only includes volunteer and extracurricular activities, but also an understanding of current news, events and political movements. Health care as a whole is deeply entwined with the political and economic environment at the local, state and national levels. Having an informed opinion on political and economic events can separate you from other interviewees in your applicant pool.
2016 Salary Information for Pharmacists
Pharmacists earned a median annual salary of $122,230 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, pharmacists earned a 25th percentile salary of $109,400, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $138,920, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 312,500 people were employed in the U.S. as pharmacists.
Anthony Oster is a licensed professional counselor who earned his Master of Science in counseling psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has served as a writer and lead video editor for a small, South Louisiana-based video production company since 2007. Oster is the co-owner of a professional photography business and advises the owner on hardware and software acquisitions for the company.