University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
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Advice from former students

  • Pay close attention to the Calendar of events for the admission process. It changes from year to year. Visit the web sites of the Pharmacy schools to which you are applying very often.
  • PharmCAS opens in June. Begin work on your PharmCAS during the summer.  This will give you plenty of time to work on it without having to worry about the other stress of college.  It is IMPORTANT that you submit your application by November 1st. Then you can submit your fall grades before Christmas break.
  • ALWAYS double check everything to ensure that you are enrolled in the correct classes, prepared for all the deadlines etc.
  • Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Plan to apply to other schools. Research those schools so that you are aware of their requirements.
  • Find an Internship in a pharmacy or work in a pharmacy for experience or shadow a pharmacist.
  • When you write the essay for Pharmacy School, make sure it is a strong essay.  Write about your experiences while working in a pharmacy while shadowing, interning or working in a pharmacy. The schools want to know WHY you want to be a pharmacist and what makes you unique from all the other applicants.   Do NOT mention salary or money that a pharmacist makes.
  • Not all schools follow PharmCAS, make sure you know the requirements for each school to which you are applying.
  • Physics is a must for other schools (look into taking physics for other schools)
  • Sign up for PCATS early and study for them in advance. One can take PCATS as early as June, August and then again in October. 
  • Resources for studying for the PCATs:
    • “Kaplan” is a good book to prepare for PCATs. 
    • Kaplan.com look for PCAT software (costs $1,100) 
    • “Organic for Dummies” is yet another book for simplifying Organic Chemistry.
  • Have a PLAN B. If Pharmacy School does NOT work out, you have the option of getting a degree from Pitt-Johnstown. YOu already have many of the fourses required for Chemistry, Biochemistry and Biology. You can still apply for a PhD. Program in Pharmacy (it is like Graduate School). Talk to Dr. Nigam if you need more information about it.
  • Follow the Pitt-Johnstown Gen Ed Guidelines when selecting electives in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
    • Although it is “recommended” that you take a speaking enhanced course, you “must” take one speaking enhanced course.
    • It would be wise to plan to take some writing enhanced courses as well
    • Although Pitt accepts Business Calc, it is much better to Calc 1. Almost all of the other schools will NOT accept Business Calc.  Also, if you don’t get accepted in Pharmacy school and you are thinking of getting a degree in Chemistry, Biochemistry or Biology, Calc-I will be THE required course.Do more than just good grades.  Get involved on campus to make yourself stand out.  Also include all high-school activities you have been involved in.
  • COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY!!
    • Stay in touch with your advisor.
    • Keep in touch with other pre-pharmacy students so that you have someone to help you out along the way.
    • Keep in touch with Ms. Marcia Borrelli, Director of Student Services, School of Pharmacy, Pittsburgh.  She is always willing to answer any questions that you may have.
  • Make a commitment to do your very best in ALL of your subjects!
    • Master organic chemistry!  Don't just cram before an exam. You will actually need this material once you begin taking courses in the pharmacy curriculum.
    • Try hard for a 3.5 QPA or higher
    • Don't spread out your courses for a lighter load so your grades can be better. This does not go over well with the admissions committess. Plan a solid rigoroud load so you can get used to the workload involved. It will be rigorous when you get to pharmacy school!
      If you don’t get in, don’t feel bad, there are alternatives.