PharmD Student Music

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Thursday, July 2, 2009

How To Get Into Pharmacy School: Sophomore Year

Ok, so now that you've made it through Freshman year and the PCAT, now it's time to start your Sophomore year of pre-pharm. Here are some tips to getting through that year in one piece.

1. If you haven't already, get an apartment.
Don't do what I did and live in the dorms again. You have friends, you don't need to make new ones that'll just mooch off "your" lab reports and old tests. Get an apartment, pay the bills, and live a life independent of parents, hall directors, and RAs. Yeah, it kinda sucks having to make your own food, but that's what grilled cheese, pasta, and frozen pizzas are for.

2. Stop drinking every night.
Now that you're in classes that will actually teach you something worthwhile, you can't be hungover during them. Pay attention in Human A&P, well, not necessarily to the Anatomy part, but definitely the Physiology part, your brain will thank you for years to come. Drinking is now a weekend activity. Make up for the lost drinking during the week by consuming gargantuan amounts during the weekend. Some of my best stories are from wandering through my city, trying to find campus or a friend's apartment.

3. Sleep Through O. Chem I.
Actually, I don't recommend this, but honestly, this class sucks balls. I went to every class and slept through almost every class. It was so hard to stay awake just to hear my Asian professor ramble on about alkenes and alkynes and alkanes, all of them sounding the same coming from her mouth. The class isn't as hard as they make it sound, but it isn't easy. To top it all off, 90% of the information you learn will never be used again. You will know that dex and lev mean that the certain isomers rotate light positively and negatively, respectfully, but you won't give a shit. Well, that is until you learn that certain drugs contain both isomers, and the new, improved (read: original drug's patent is running out, quick, make a new one) drug has only one isomer, because the other isomer causes "side effects." Plus, who gives a fuck what DIBAL does to a double bond? (Hint: it makes an epoxide, another useless piece of information in my brain) I got a B in O. Chem I and called it good.

4. Get a job in a pharmacy.
Actually, I recommend getting one your first year if you can, but I waited until my second year. You will be able to counsel patients as soon as you apply for your student license, and it's nice to actually know something about drugs when you do that, so learn up on those easy drugs (antibiotics, pain meds) before you're allowed to counsel.

5. Take as many pharmacy school classes you can.
I finished all my microbiology and English requirements to graduate from pharmacy school before I was even in pharmacy school. It's comforting to know that you only have to take 16 credits a semester instead of the 20 the rest of your friends are taking. Then you can make fun of them when they're doing work you did 2 years before.

6. Find a hot pharmacy chick and date her.
And for fuck's sake, hold on to her. Ever notice that every good-looking P4 has a huge rock on their finger? Yeah, it's because hot, smart, successful women are damn hard to come by, and most guys are at least smart enough to realize that. I didn't have any luck with this, I still don't have a girlfriend, and guess what? Almost every single girl in my class is taken, and some are even engaged. Get them before they're in pharmacy school.

7. Apply to pharmacy school.
Yeah, I know this seems like a no-brainer, but out of the 80 or so kids that lived on the pharmacy floors I believe 10 applied and 8 got in. Hmm... so that one comment from Anonymous was pretty on track when "she" (I'm looking at you, Pharmgirl ;) ) told me I was giving out inappropriate advice, and that my advice would only work for 10% of the population. I guess I owe "her" an apology. Haha, sorry, but I'm just assuming Pharmgirl posted that; what is interesting though, if you'll look at my advice on the PCAT, and her advice on the NAPLEX, you'll realize they are quite similar. In fact, I'll link you to her advice here. Now look at the dates of my post compared to hers... Hmm... Haha I'm just fucking with you Pharmgirl, I like you.

8. No, seriously, apply to pharmacy school.
Because out of the 500 kids who started out in pharmacy your freshman year, only 100 of those kids have made it this far, and about 10 of them won't apply because they think their scores aren't good enough. SoOoOoO, you've got a pretty good chance of getting in, even with unremarkable scores. I just learned today that two of my friends got in with PCATs in the 50s.... I mean, wow. So for fuck's sake, APPLY!!!!

9. During the interview, avoid common subjects.
Don't talk about the donut hole, that is the most generic conversation ever. They won't remember you. Instead, talk about how evil drug companies are. I can honestly say that the Drugmonkey helped me get into pharmacy school. I didn't talk about the Part D plan or the North Dakota ownership law (which I know was a popular subject during the interviews this year). Talk about the isomer thing I mentioned before, or the fact that PBMs have a different MAC list for different pharmacies, or that drug companies will add two drugs together and call it a new drug, and charge insanely high prices for it. I'm looking at you, Treximet.

10. Once you get your acceptance letter, coast through the year.
Give your brain a rest. Hopefully you've accumulated enough points where you don't need to get an A on every test to maintain an A in the class. Just get your work done, learn a thing or two, and just be happy you got in. You may regret getting in when you look at your schedule for the next 3 years, but don't let that bother you now. Stop stressing, be happy, have fun, and live life.


  1. Couple questions for ya about your guide.

    First how could you take the PCAT after your freshman year in college? You haven't been able to take any upper level biology or chemistry courses, such as O Chem, Microbio or A&P.

    Second, why would you apply after your second year? Most schools essentially require a 4 year degree before being admitted now. The only way you have a chance of getting in after 2 years now is if you have straight As.

    Third, I've never heard of a pharmacy school allowing you to skip a class (such as Microbio) if you've already taken it. If they do, bitchin', but of the five I'm looking at, none of them do so.

    Just a little puzzeled at some of your advice here. Maybe things are a bit different where you come from.

  2. Hey, love the numbered posts. A lot of good advice and hilarity. I'll be moving to UNC-CH next year and might be out in the apartments as soon as I get there. Just depends really.


  3. Well Phathead,

    Yeah, I took my PCAT after my freshman year, as did all my pharmacy friends. Yeah, the chemistry portion of the PCAT fucking sucked, I didn't know shit. Like I said in the post, I bombed it, both times. However, the biology wasn't so bad, and the math/English/reading and whatever else was easy, well, for me it was, so my score was decent both times I took it.

    Yes, most schools "essentially" require a 4 year degree. That doesn't mean they require a 4 year degree. The kids, like me, that got in after 2 years of college were the pretty smart ones, and yes, we all pretty much had a 4.0 GPA, or a 3.9. The kids, like the ones who managed 50s on the PCAT and still got in were the ones that either had 3 or 4 years under their belts. However, I know more than a few kids who got in with ok grades and an ok PCAT, just after 2 years, so it doesn't hurt to apply, like I said in the post.

    Lastly, at my school, if you take a class, that means you've taken the class. It doesn't matter if you've taken it as an undergrad or in a professional program. I did have to get special permission from the teacher to take one of the microbio classes, but I have a good relationship with more than one microbio teacher, and it was easy to get that permission. So just because I didn't take it when the college had me scheduled to take it, doesn't mean I didn't take it.

    Hope this cleared things up for you,


  4. Phathead:
    I got in after two years with a 3.6 and mid 70s PCAT. Just like what PDS advised in never know until you try. Pharmacy schools like seeing the 4.0s, but you don't need one to get in if you're well rounded with lots of pharmacy experience, leadership positions, extracurriculars, etc. like I was.

    Just discovered your blog. It's hilarious, and I'll have to keep some of you "study techniques" in mind when I enter pharmacy school this fall. Keep it up!

  5. My "getting into pharmacy school" experience was so different! Granted, I didn't have to take the PCAT to get in... we're accepted into the program right after high school, and the only segue from undergrad into the professional years is the interview, which was a piece of cake.

    Like you, I never went to class during the first 2 years of undergrad (besides labs), and when I did go, I fell asleep and had nightmares.... so that prevented further attendance :)

    As a female P3, I wholeheartedly agree with point #6. I don't know ANY single female pharmacists. They're all married/engaged.