Pharmacy School Application: A Step-by-Step Guide

As careers in pharmacy are growing nowadays, more and more people are enrolling in this program. To become a pharmacist, one needs to work hard and get educated well. If you are planning to get into pharmacy school, there are various things you need to keep in mind. Pharmacy is a scientific field which includes preparing, dispensing, and drugs. It also includes additional clinical services.

After you complete the pharmacy school, you will need to pass the licensure exam to become a licensed pharmacist. As a pharmacist, you will have so many responsibilities and duties such as dispensing medicines, considering safety for the prescribed therapy, monitoring patient health, collaborating with physicians/nurse/health care, and many others. As a newbie in the pharmacy field, you might have so many questions in your head. In this article, we have added all the questions you need to know about pharmacy school application. We have covered all the questions most pharmacy students have.

When Do You Apply for Pharmacy School?

Do you want to become a pharmacist? If yes, you will need to enroll in the pharmacy school through the admission procedure. You need to apply for pharmacy school admission once you fulfill all the requirements. When you go applying for pharmacy school admission, there will be numerous factors considered.

When do you apply for pharmacy school is the question asked by so many students. Basically, you can apply for pharmacy school after completing the general education or completing the Associate of Arts degree. But, you also need to consider all other requirements for admission.

During the admission procedure, the background of the applicant has been reviewed thoroughly. The pharmacy school considers various factors such as letters of recommendation, leadership, co-curricular activities, work experience, the background of the applicant, the reason behind choosing a pharmacy, etc. Before you apply for the pharmacy school, you must have fulfilled the following requirements:

  • Must have completed general education coursework or must have completed Associates of Arts degree.
  • Completion of the preprofessional courses.
  • Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT).
  • Foreign language (as per the requirements)
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) – It is for international applicants.

Apart from the requirements mentioned above, it may vary depending upon the school criteria and other factors. Now, let’s head over to another popular question asked by pharmacy applicants, i.e., When are the pharmacy school application deadlines?

Pharmacy School Application Deadlines

Pharmacy students often get confused about applicant deadlines. If we talk about applicant deadlines of pharmacy schools, it varies from one pharmacy school to another. There’s no fix applicant deadline for all the schools. Different pharmacy schools have different PharmCAS deadline. It doesn’t matter whether it is a public or a private school, and what’s the location of the school, the deadline for each of them is different. For the year 2019-2020, you have the deadline date options as given below:

  • January 6, 2020
  • February 3, 2020
  • March 2, 2020
  • April 1, 2020
  • May 1, 2020
  • June 1, 2020

Depending upon the pharmacy school, the PharmCAS deadline will differ. So, while selecting a pharmacy school for admission, you need to check out its application deadline. In case you miss the deadline, the program may deny your application. Hence, you need to make sure that you submit all the necessary documents before the deadline.

In case you miss the application deadline, you can contact the program directly and request a deadline extension. After your request for a deadline, extension is granted by the program; you will have 48 hours to submit your PharmCAS application. And, if you fail to submit your application again, you have to request the program again a second 48 hours deadline extension.

Pharmacy School Requirements

Before you get admission to the pharmacy school, you need to meet pharmacy school program requirements. If you want to get into pharmacy school and achieve the PharmD (Degree of Pharmacy), you must have completed a bachelor’s degree and completed the prerequisite coursework in biology, chemistry, calculus, microbiology, statistics, organic chemistry, philosophy, and biochemistry.

Apart from completing a bachelor’s degree and doing prerequisite coursework, you also need to take the Pharmacy College Admission Test, which is also known as PCAT. With all these, you need to meet a specific GPA requirement. Let’s take a look at pharmacy school requirements pointwise:

  • Must have completed general education coursework or must have completed Associates of Arts degree.
  • Completion of the preprofessional courses.
  • Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT).
  • Foreign language (as per the requirements)
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) – It is for international applicants.

If you meet all the requirements mentioned above, you can apply for admission to the pharmacy school. If you are not from the United States, you will also need to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The motive of this exam will be to test your English language skills.

Once you get the admission to your selected pharmacy school and earn PharmD, you will not be called as a professional and licensed pharmacist yet. To become a professional and licensed pharmacist, you need to take the licensure exam. There are different pharmacy licensure exams out there. One of the popular pharmacy licensure exams is NAPLEX or North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination.

The licensure exam is designed to analyze whether the applicant has sufficient knowledge and skills required to become a pharmacist or not. It is a standard licensure examination created by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP).

When Does PharmCAS Open for 2020?

If you want to get the admission in the pharmacy school, you have to go through the application procedure. To get the admission, you need to make sure that you fulfill all the eligibility criteria. If you are applying for admission through the PharmCAS, then you must submit a completed web-based application with biographical data, the post-secondary programs you have attended, the history of the academic courses, your work experience, participation in different extracurricular activities, and a personal statement.

If you want to apply for admission through PharmCAS, you need to make sure that you apply it before the deadline. The admission cycle of PharmCAS (Pharmacy College Application Services) for the year 2019 – 2020 was started in the mid of July 2019. You need to keep in mind that your application will not be considered if you deliver it after the 1st of June, 2020.

Depending upon the pharmacy program you have enrolled in, you may need extra materials such as supplemental applications, letters of recommendation before your application gets considered. Applicants get confused about the role of PharmCAS. The important thing you need to keep in mind that PharmCAS is not responsible for any materials you have lost in the mail or the delays that occurred by the registrar’s office.

To get a clear idea about the PharmCAS dates, check out below given list:

  • JUL 18: 2019-2020 PharmCAS Application Opens
  • SEP 03: Early Decision deadline
  • NOV 01: 1st Regular application deadline
  • DEC 02: 2nd Regular application deadline
  • DEC 12: Fall Academic Update opens
  • JAN 06, 2020: 3rd Regular application deadline
  • FEB 03, 2020: 4th Regular application deadline
  • FEB 18, 2020: Fall Academic Update closes
  • MAR 01, 2020: CAG deposit deadline for applicants applying to CAG schools
  • MAR 02, 2020: 5th Regular application deadline
  • APR 01, 2020: 6th Regular application deadline
  • MAY 01, 2020: 7th Regular application deadline
  • JUN 01, 2020: 8th Regular application deadline

What Do I Need To Apply For Pharmacy School?

When it comes to applying for pharmacy school, the first thing is to make sure that you have everything you will need to apply for pharmacy school. Many times, applicants submit incomplete documents that lead to the rejection of the application submitted. There are so many questions applicants have while applying for admission. Here are some questions you may have before applying to pharmacy school:

Will I need a bachelor’s degree before applying for pharmacy school?

The criteria regarding whether you will need a bachelor’s degree before applying for the pharmacy school could vary from one school to another. Generally, you are not required to have a bachelor’s degree to apply for pharmacy school. You will need at least two years of undergraduate study before enrolling for the pharmacy program. Most of the pharmacy schools give preference to the applicants who have completed the bachelor’s degree.

Which courses will I need to complete before applying for pharmacy school?

What undergraduate courses you will need to complete before applying for admission to the pharmacy school will vary from institution to institution. The admission criteria of various pharmacy schools and institutions are different; hence you need to research it to get a proper idea.

What experiences will you need to get into pharmacy school?

What experiences you will need is based on your pharmacy school admission criteria. Generally, pharmacy schools need to have volunteer or paid experience working with the patients in a pharmacy or any health-related setting like a hospital or nursing home.

How Do I Apply To Pharmacy School?

Are you confused about how to apply to pharmacy school? Because you are a newbie, you will have so many questions regarding how to apply to pharmacy school. If you want to apply for a pharmacy school, but you are not sure how actually to apply for it, then this is for you. Follow the below-given steps to apply for it:

Use the Checklist

First of all, you need to go through the checklist prepared by PharCAS. It is intended to help you with the preparation of your application.

Read PharmCAS instructions

You need to carefully read the instructions by PharmCAS after going through the provided checklist. Reading the application instructions by PharmCAS will help you understand what mistakes you have to avoid while applying for admission.

Review the admission requirements

The next crucial stage is to review the admission requirements of the pharmacy school you are applying to. When it comes to admission requirements, it will differ from one pharmacy school to another. There are so many factors you need to keep in mind regarding the pharmacy school admission requirements. It includes selection factors, fees, and other specifics.

Review prerequisite course

There are so many pharmacy courses offered by different pharmacy schools. After considering the admission requirements, the next thing is to review prerequisite courses within the PharmCAS School Dictionary.

Applicant Code of Conduct

The next thing is to take a look at the applicant’s code of conduct and abide by it.

Understand responsibilities

Last but not least, you need to familiarize yourself with the PharmCAS applicant’s responsibilities. As a pharmacy school applicant, you will have different sets of responsibilities and duties that you need to understand.

What GPA is Need for Pharmacy School?

GPA (Grade Point Average) is the crucial aspect considered by many pharmacy schools. Pharmacy schools consider GPA and test scores for admission purposes. The minimum grade point average criteria will vary from one pharmacy school to another. If we talk about the GPA criteria of the Oregon state, it is 2.75 for Oregon residents and 3.0 for non-residents. To get the proper idea about GPA requirements, visit the school directory on the PharmCAS website to check out the expected GPA of the accepted students and what is the minimum overall GPA considered at different PharmCAS school.

Do You Need PCAT for Pharmacy School?

Another question you may have regarding the pharmacy school admission is whether you will need PCAT for it or not. PCAT (Pharmacy College Admission Test) is the examination designed especially for applicants by the pharmacy school for admission purposes. The test results help pharmacy schools to determine the aptitude, types of abilities, and skills the applicant has.

The Pharmacy College Admission Test is the examination consists of 192 multiple choices and one writing section. For the examination, the students will be given 3 hours and 25 minutes. This exam will measure areas such as biological processes, chemical processes, critical reading, and quantitative reading.

The main question students often ask regarding the PCAT exam is, “Do all the pharmacy school will need the PCAT for admission?” The answer to this question is NO. Not all the pharmacy schools need the PCAT for admission. Around 85 percent of the pharmacy schools require applicants to submit PCAT examination scores. Depending upon the pharmacy school you are applying for the admission, the PCAT results criteria may vary.

To know the PCAT score criteria of different pharmacy institutions, you can review the directory pages on the PharmacyCAS School Directory. So, whether you should take the PCAT or not is based on in which pharmacy school you are planning to get the admission. If your selected pharmacy school requires applicants to take PCAT, you have to apply for it.

Pre Pharmacy Timeline

Pre-pharmacy is a 2-year undergraduate course that you need to complete first in order to get admission to the PharmD program in the United States. The PharmD program consists of 3 to 4 years of time duration, and many pharmacy schools also offer combined pre-pharmacy coursework with the PharmD for a 5 to 6 year time duration.

When it comes to pre-pharmacy, each college has its own criteria regarding it. Generally, the pre-pharmacy course includes chemistry, biology/anatomy & physiology, mathematics, and English. The pre-pharmacy timeline is as follows:

1st Year:
  • Begin coursework
  • Start gaining hands-on experience in the pharmacy and health field
  • Get familiar with ideal student organizations and activities
  • Get familiar with faculty and their research interests
  • Meet the academic and pre-professional advisors
2nd Year:
  • Second-year of the pre-pharmacy includes continue of the course and utilizing services as per requirement
  • Starting preparation of PCAT (Pharmacy College Admission Test)
  • Building networks with pharmacists in the health care field and faculty for letters of recommendation
  • Meeting with academic and pre-professional advisors

Another question students often ask is, “How to spend summer vacation?” The answer to this question is – there are so many ways of spending the summer vacation during the pre-professional pharmacy studies. It is advisable to get into the paid or volunteer experiences during the summer vacation. You need to gain the experience that relates to your chosen field so that you can have the clarification of your career goals. You can also spend your summer vacation by enrolling in a summer enrichment program.

Final Thoughts

If you are going to apply for pharmacy school, there are so many factors you need to keep in mind. As a newbie, you may have so many questions related to it. Here we have covered so many things about pharmacy school and its admission process.

We have also discussed the PCAT examination, Pre-Pharmacy timeline, and answered some frequently asked questions of pharmacy. This post will also help you to avoid different mistakes while applying for pharmacy school.


Danielle Winner

Hello my name is Danielle Winner. Welcome to my site on Pharmacy School and tips and tricks to hopefully help you get in. It's not easy but hopefully you can learn to not make mistakes that students (myself included) make. Good luck on your journey. I graduated from Albany School of Pharmacy in May 2010 and have had a few different jobs across the east coast of the U.S.

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