Pre-Pharmacy Advising

Pharmacy

Advisor: Dr. Glenda Ferguson
gferguson@wesleyancollege.edu

Career Description

Pharmacists dispense medications prescribed by physicians and other health professionals. They must understand the use, clinical effects, and composition of drugs. Pharmacists work in a variety of settings, including retail drug stores, hospitals, and clinics

Becoming a Physician

An excellent undergraduate GPA (3.5 and above), competitive PCAT scores, and considerable experience shadowing or working in a pharmacy is absolutely critical for acceptance into pharmacy programs. Pharmacy programs are four years from point of entry, resulting in the awarding of a doctor of pharmacy (Pharm. D.) degree. Students who achieve the Pharm.D. degree must also pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) and state law examination in order to engage in professional practice.

Coursework

The general requirements for pharmacy school include the following courses. Individual pharmacy schools have different requirements for coursework, so make sure to check with the pharmacy school of your choice. You do not have to major in biology, but you must have the requisite biology/chemistry courses in order to fulfill the requirements for admission. Likewise, required classes outside the areas of science and math vary between pharmacy programs; however, most of these (eg., economics and public speaking) can be met through Wesleyan’s general education curriculum. Consult the pre-Pharmacy Advisor, Dr. Glenda Ferguson, for assistance with coursework and timeline. 

Course and Semester Hours

  • General Biology  8 hours
  • General Chemistry  8
  • English (WISE 101 or ENG 101 + ENG 111)  6 hours
  • Organic Chemistry I & II  8 hours
  • Biochemistry  3 hours
  • Microbiology  4 hours
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology  8 hours
  • Calculus I  3 hours
  • Statistics  3 hours
 
Sample Coursework Plan*
YEAR ONE Fall Semester YEAR ONE Spring Semester
WISE 101 BIO 112
BIO 110 MAT 220
MAT 205 Gen Ed Electives/Foreign Language
Gen Ed Electives/Foreign Language -
YEAR TWO Fall Semester YEAR TWO Spring Semester
CHM 101 CHM 102
Gen Ed Electives /ENG 111 BIO 211
Major Coursework Gen Ed Electives
BIO 210 Major Coursework
YEAR THREE Fall Semester YEAR THREE Spring Semester
CHM 221 CHM 222
Major Coursework/Gen Ed Electives/PDE BIO 245
- BIO 318
- Major Coursework/ Gen Ed Electives/PDE
YEAR FOUR Fall Semester YEAR FOUR Spring Semester
Major Coursework Major Coursework
Gen Ed Electives Gen Ed Electives
PDE -

 

*This plan presumes a minimum SAT score of 600 MAT/CR, entering as a first year traditional student


Four Year Timeline

First Year  
  • Discuss with first year seminar advisor the courses to be taken during the first year. 
  • Make draft of coursework and internship plans for next four years
  • Attend meeting with pre-pharmacy advisor to discuss course plan, internship plan, etc.
Second Year
  • FALL: Finalize coursework plan and internship plan with pre-pharmacy advisor
  • SPRING: Inquire about internship opportunities with local pharmacists/Inquire about summer internships/work in a pharmacy
  • Consult AACP website, which has a complete listing of accredited pharmacy schools and other useful information

Third Year
  • FALL: Begin studying for PCAT/take prep course – more information
  • Engage in Pharmacy internship/PDE
  • SPRING: Continue PCAT prep 
  • Obtain application from pharmacy school (available usually in May or June). Familiarize yourself with all requirements and deadlines for each school to which you are applying
  • Identify prospective references, begin work on essay
  • Take PCAT
  • SUMMER: Take PCAT (if not taken in spring)
  • Begin work on application

Fourth Year
  • Apply Early - Deadline for applications are usually early in fall. PCAT scores should be sent to pharmacy schools, along with reference letters and all other materials, fees, etc. Most schools require application through PharmCAS
  • Complete supplemental applications when they arrive and get them in the mail ASAP (again, delivery receipt verified).  
  • Practice interview skills. Wesleyan's Center for Career Development can help with this (see Resources, below).
  • Finish Strong 

 

 


 

Evaluation Criteria

Please note that as mentioned above, pharmacy schools differ in their criteria, and in the weight given to each of the following. Make sure that you are familiar with the criteria used by the school to which you are applying. The following is a general consensus of what most schools are using to evaluate applicants, listed in the order of importance:

  • Science GPA, overall GPA
  • Test Scores (PCAT)
  • Professional experience (You must have experience in a pharmacy and/or volunteering in a clinical setting.)
  • References (one letter should be from a registered pharmacist, one from a faculty member who knows your well (if you have engaged in research, this letter should be from your research mentor).
  • Essay
  • Extracurricular activities (including leadership positions)

 


 

Additional Resources for Pre-Pharmacy Students

The resources below are helpful for students preparing for a career in pharmacy. Wesleyan's Center for Career Development can help students with deciding if this path fits them, as well as with strategic career planning, creating resumes/CVs, writing personal statements, and more.

 

Gaining Relevant Experience as a Pre-Pharmacy Student

It’s important to gain work or volunteer experience in a pharmacy or health-related setting. The Center for Career Development can help you prepare a resume and practice your professional introduction as you get ready to contact organizations about shadowing, volunteer, or internship opportunities.

  • Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP): A free summer enrichment program focused on improving access to information and resources for college students interested in the health professions. SHPEP is exclusively for freshman and sophomore college students. Applications are usually due in early February for the summer program.
  • List of Pre-Pharmacy Enrichment Summer Programs (courtesy of University of Michigan)
  • PathwaysToScience.org: This organization’s mission is to increase diversity in STEM fields by connecting underrepresented students with opportunities. It provides a list of clinical and research opportunities, links to enrichment programs, and more. 

 


 

Local/Statewide Opportunities

  • Work as a pharmacy technician: Look for pharmacy technician positions at Kroger, CVS, and other drug stores. Check their employment pages and Purple Briefcase.
  • The most common way to gain shadowing experiences is to contact pharmacists directly. Talk to the CCD about finding alumnae in this field who may allow you to shadow them.
  • Volunteer at Navicent Health. The screening process takes some time, so start early. 
  • Work or volunteer at a hospice facility or nursing home. Many hospice centers around Macon (including Encompass Hospice, Heart of Georgia Hospice, and Pine Pointe Hospice) have expressed a need for volunteers and interns. Check Purple Briefcase, GivePulse, and the organization’s website for updated information. You may need to obtain a CNA license.

 

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