In case you missed the memo, the PharmCAS aka the big dental school application for next fall is officially opened! The Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS) is a centralized application service to apply to multiple degree programs offered by schools and colleges of pharmacy and there is a PERSONAL STATEMENT required **cue the music** Although the essay is about YOU, you still have an agenda: it still needs to be written in a professional manner and highlight your professional skills, experiences, and interests. That doesn’t have to be so scary! Think of it kind of like answering that classic job interview inquiry: “Tell me about yourself.” Oh no. Did I just make it worse? **cue the music again**
Your PharmCAS Personal Statement is a place for you to “address why you selected pharmacy as a career and how the Doctor of Pharmacy degree relates to your immediate and long-term professional goals” in under 4,500 characters (including letters, spaces, punctuation (like on twitter)), which is about a page long. More so you got to “describe how your personal, educational, and professional background will help you achieve your goals”, you need to articulate that you motivated, academically prepared, plus knowledgeable and passionate about the profession. This can be a little tricky; the key is balance. You want to sell yourself professional while remaining personable. By no means is this a creative writing piece; you want to be clear, concise, and professional. Keep in mind: pharmacy schools are making first judgments on you based on this PharmCAS application, and the PharmCAS Personal Statement is the ONLY place to make a case for yourself IN YOUR OWN WORDS! You can read the whole PharmCAS Personal Statement offical guidelines here.
Remember that you’re selling yourself as a great addition to the field of pharmacy. This is where you talk about your strengths, passion for the field, and all your extra-curricular hard work you’ve done in preparing for pharmacy school (and let’s face it also for this particular essay here).
Three key points to hit:
o Why Pharmacy? – The lifelong childhood dream is all good and fine really but if that’s not the case be candid and honest and talk about your road to discovery, that’s interesting! Your journey to writing this PharmCAS Personal Statement may be long and winding. How did you land on pharmacy?
o Shadowing or Assisting Experience – Talk up your observation hours in a pharmacy setting or a hospital and how these times increased your knowledge and understanding of the field. These experiences show you really know what’s like in the real world application of the pharmacy school.
o Volunteerism – show your interest in working with/for the community and commitment to helping other. It’s important to include both volunteer activities that are relevant to the field and even some that isn’t. For example, working at an animal shelters shows your well rounded not just in a pre-pharm mode all the time. Also include the volunteer work related to the profession that you may have done with a Pre-Pharm society (that’s how you work that you were active in the club in the essay too)!
The ole phrase “writing is rewriting” rings true here this case. Have a trusty professor or pharmacy professional read and give you feedback. They know what admissions committees are looking for and have insight on how to relate your experiences to the field. Final piece of advice: you can upgrade your PCAT Cracker account and unlock the all the practice tests for $39 instead of the regular $99 sooooo go do that and you’ll have gleaming PCAT scores to match this beautiful essay!