I didn’t get into Pharmacy School, now what?

I didn’t get into Pharmacy School, now what?

You followed all the directions for applying to pharmacy school. You prepared for the PCAT, obtained excellent letters of recommendation, got good grades, but things just didn’t pan out the way you envisioned. You had your hopes set on pharmacy school, but that dream didn’t materialize and now you are not sure what your next steps are. So what do you do now?

First, take some time to regroup and gather your thoughts. It’s important to understand that you aren’t alone in this boat. Pharmacy school is extremely competitive and many programs receive far more applications from qualified candidates than they can accept.

Tomorrow is a new day, and there are still other options for you to consider. Remember, there is no “right” or “wrong” path, and you may find that this unforeseen obstacle may lead you on an exciting, new trajectory. This guide is intended to provide some direction to help you figure out what options you have.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself:

Why do you want to go to pharmacy school?

  • Do you love the pharmacy industry?
  • Is it for the money or for job stability?
  • Is it because you want to help people?
  • Is it because you want to work in the healthcare industry?
  • Does the career of a pharmacist fit your short term and long term goals?
  • Does the career of a pharmacist fit your lifestyle?
  • Will you enjoy your work as a pharmacist?
  • Is going to pharmacy school necessary to attain the type of job you have been dreaming of?
  • Is there any other way you can move forward in your career without going to pharmacy school?
  • Did you apply to pharmacy school for the right reasons? Did you apply because you wanted to or because someone else wanted you to?

Depending on your answers to these questions, you may find that you dodged a bullet and avoided a career you would have been very unhappy with. Or maybe you will find that the answers to these questions reinforce your belief that pharmacy school is the path you wish to pursue.

If you decide pharmacy school is not for you, look into other careers in the pharmaceutical sciences field. There are many diverse and rewarding careers in this field that do not require a PharmD degree. Pharmaceutical scientists are employed at pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, universities, government agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration, and laboratories such as the National Institutes of Health.

Here’s how you can learn more about other careers in the pharmaceutical sciences field:

  • Conduct information interviews with professionals whose jobs interests you.
  • Volunteer, intern, or work at a company or in a particular field of pharmaceutical sciences you are interested in.
  • Speak to family, friends, mentors, and colleagues to see what ideas or connections they may have.

See this as an opportunity to find something that you will truly enjoy doing and feel passionate about.

If you decide pharmacy school is the right path for you. Here are some questions you should ask yourself:

  • Did you apply to enough pharmacy programs?
  • Did you meet all the admissions requirements to each program?
  • Did you write a strong personal statement?
  • Did you have research experience?
  • Did you have experience in a pharmacy or patient care setting?
  • Did you meet the required GPA or PCAT score?
  • Did you have strong letters of recommendation?

Depending on your answers to these questions, you may have the opportunity to strengthen your application.

  • Maybe your PCAT score or grades were not high enough in comparison to other applications. Consider contacting the pharmacy programs you applied to and see if an academic counselor is available to discuss your particular situation and what your options are.
  • Consider expanding your options and apply to more programs, including outside California. The more pharmacy schools you apply to, the more you increase your chances of getting into one.
  • Consider gaining more volunteer, internship, or work experience in a pharmacy or other patient care setting.
  • Consider enrolling in a health sciences post-bac program. A post-bac program is designed to support the transition to professional school and is reserved for individuals who have already earned an undergraduate degree but not in pharmaceutical sciences or pharmacology. UCI’s Post-Bac Program in Pharmaceutical Sciences is designed to help individuals strengthen their application to competitive graduate programs in pharmacy or other health fields. CLICK HERE to learn more about the program to see if it is a good fit for you.

Remember, there is no “one size fits all;” whatever path you choose will only provide you with more opportunities for you to grow. Good luck!