A pharmacy school letter of recommendation example can be an excellent resource for students preparing their application to pharmacy school and having to request recommendations. Your pharmacy school letter of recommendation is one of the most important application components you will submit, so if you want to beat the competition and get into pharmacy school, you need to make sure that it stands out for the right reasons. In this blog, we will go over everything you need to know about pharmacy school letters of recommendation. We'll talk about how they should be formatted, who should write one, and we'll show you a couple of examples so that you know what a winning recommendation letter should look like. So whether you're looking for information to give your chosen writers, or you've been asked to write your own letter of recommendation, keep reading for some valuable information.
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How important is your pharmacy school letter of recommendation?
The road to becoming a pharmacist is not easy, and one of the most challenging steps on this journey is gaining admission to a graduate pharmacy program. Even though acceptance rates for pharmacy school are now higher than they were in previous years, you still need more than good grades and competitive test scores to get in. For a field like pharmacology, the admission committee needs to know that you are suited for the profession and that you are committed to pursuing it. That is why more schools are including situational judgment tests as part of their admissions process. For example, the University of Toronto and the University of Manitoba pharmacy programs both require students to take the CASPer test.
It is also why the "why do you want to be a pharmacist" question is so prevalent in pharmacy school interviews and why your pharmacy school personal statement and letters of recommendation are such important application components. Where your personal statement tells the admission board why you think you are a good fit for pharmacology and their school's program, your letter of recommendation tells them why other professionals think so.
Recommendation letters tell the admissions board how other professionals view you and what their experiences with you were like. This is very important because it gives your chosen schools another glimpse into the kind of student you are, the kind of worker you are, and the kind of pharmacist you could become.
It is one thing for you to talk about your own skills and abilities, but for them to not only be recognized but endorsed by another professional, it shows the admissions board that you are the candidate that you've claimed to be in your application. Furthermore, your letters of recommendation are supposed to come from an objective source that has either worked with you, taught you, or supervised you somehow. Usually, it is another medical professional, preferably a pharmacist or an academic instructor, and the reality is that they are far more credible than you.
Have you started working on your personal statement yet? This infographic has some great tips for you:
Who should write your pharmacy school letter of recommendation?
A glowing pharmacy school letter of recommendation from the right source can have a huge impact on your application to pharmacy school. One of the most common reasons why students face med school rejection is that they pick the wrong referees for their application, and this issue is not limited to medical school. Students often make the same mistake with their law school recommendations, CASPA letters of recommendation, and other specialty programs including pharmacy school. So, here are our top three tips for picking the right referees:
1. Follow instructions
Pharmacy schools usually provide guidelines and instructions for recommendation letters. Some schools will tell you how many letters they need and how well your referees should know you. For example, UPenn clearly states that they require three letters from people who know the candidate well enough to evaluate intellectual capability, work habits, educational goals, and extracurricular achievements. In contrast, some other schools, like the University of Waterloo, for example, are more specific in their instructions and clearly state that they require a letter of recommendation from a medical professional, preferably from a pharmacist, a doctor, or a nurse.
If your chosen school has provided these types of instructions, it is imperative that you follow them. We recommend spending some time on the school's admission website before you start preparing your application so that you know what is required of you. This way, if you need to make some changes, you still have time to do so. For example, if you find out that the pharmacy school you are interested in requires a letter of recommendation from a medical professional, but you do not have any referees in the field, then you can start to look for volunteering or shadowing opportunities that will give you access to a potential recommender.
2. Friends and Family don't count
As mentioned earlier, the admissions committee wants to hear from an objective third party who has worked with you or supervised you long enough to talk about your skills and suitability for the profession. The admission committee can't trust a recommendation letter from a family member or a friend as it is most likely biased. Additionally, if your CV shows that you have practical experience or volunteer experience, the admission board may wonder why none of your supervisors or colleagues were willing to write a letter recommending you for their pharmacy program. Instead of asking for a reference from friends and family, you should get a letter of recommendation from one of the following:
The list above is not exhaustive, but it should give you a pretty good idea of where to start. Most pharmacy schools ask for at least two letters - a letter from a pharmacist and one from a science professor in your pre-pharmacy program. If your chosen school gives you the option of submitting additional recommendations and you are not able to get a letter from a pharmacist, you may ask a physician, resident doctor, nurse, or another medical professional. Since they are familiar with the medical industry and can talk about your abilities as they relate to the medical field.
For your academic reference, keep in mind that the best recommendation won’t necessarily come from the professor who gave you the highest grade. You should get a recommendation from a professor who worked with you or evaluated your work for a long period of time, even if you did not get an A in their class. Which brings us to our next point…
3. Pick writers who know you well
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, you need to select writers who know you well and are enthusiastic about your plans to go to pharmacy school. Often, students are too focused on getting a letter of recommendation from individuals who are well known in the pharmacy or medical community. While the recommender's credentials can add to the letter's credibility, it is even more important that they be able to talk about you positively and convincingly. In other words, if you have to choose between one and the other, you should choose a writer who worked with you for an extended period of time.
For example, suppose you need a second recommendation letter, and you can either get one from a well-known pharmacological researcher that you shadowed for two weeks or a chemistry professor that you worked for in college for a year. In that case, you should definitely request a recommendation from your professor. Even though a letter from a medical professional is usually preferable, in this case, a letter from this particular person may actually be counterproductive because even if they do agree to recommend you for a pharmacy school program, they did not work with you long enough to talk about what makes you a good candidate. This means that they would likely write a generic pharmacy school letter of recommendation, which wouldn't add anything to your application.
What is the format & content of a pharmacy school letter of recommendation?
As mentioned earlier, some pharmacy schools may have specific instructions for recommendation letters, so you should take the time to verify the school guidelines, and if they have provided any instructions, you must follow them. It is also your responsibility to ensure that your chosen writers are aware of those formatting guidelines or instructions.
Much like with a medical school recommendation letter, there is no golden template. You simply need to ensure that the letter is easy to read and follow, grammatically correct, and communicates the necessary information effectively in a concise manner.
Unless otherwise stated, we recommend using the following formatting guidelines:
Appearance: When formatting your recommendation letter, you need to keep in mind that appearance is important. You want your document to be neat, professional, and, most importantly, easy to read. For this reason, we recommend that your letter of recommendation be a one-page document with 1" margins all around the page. Your text should be aligned to the left and be single-spaced with an extra space between each paragraph. You should also stick to a traditional font such as Times New Roman, Calibri, or Ariel in a font size between 10 and 12 points. This is ideal as it ensures that nothing distracts from the letter's content or makes it difficult to read.
Length: Unless otherwise mentioned by the school, your pharmacy school letter of recommendation should contain four to six paragraphs, and it shouldn't be longer than one page. You need to remember that someone will be reading your letter and many others. So, you want to give them a document that communicates substantial information about you as a candidate, but that isn't so long that they lose interest.
Content: Your pharmacy school letter of recommendation is supposed to be an endorsement of your candidacy for pharmacy school and a career in pharmacology. So, it should highlight the skills, attributes and accomplishments that make you a suitable candidate. Think about the skills that make a great pharmacist, like attention to detail, organizational skills, and a desire to help others. These are the traits that should be emphasized in your letter of recommendation.
Additionally, a strong letter will provide concrete examples to support the claims that are made about you. Furthermore, people tend to remember narratives, so if you have been asked to write your own letter, try to show instead of telling as much as possible. On the other hand, you can also remind your chosen writers of brief anecdotes and specific examples of projects or meaningful interactions that you shared so that they may also talk about them in the letter.
Check out this video to learn how to answer some of the most common pharmacy school interview questions:
What should a pharmacy school letter of recommendation look like? ( Examples)
Letter of recommendation example #1
To whom it may concern,
It is with great pleasure that I write this letter and offer my enthusiastic recommendation of Aisha Doe for your pharmacy program. I have been a pharmacist for almost two decades now. I have been working with Ms. Doe for nearly eighteen months now at the University of X pharmacy, and I can confidently say that she is not only one of the best pharmacy assistants that I have worked with, but she will make a great pharmacist in the future.
She first started working with us on a part-time basis during her practicum as she studied to become a pharmacist assistant while finishing her undergraduate degree. I remember being worried because she had so many commitments, but she managed them all without a hitch. She was on time for every shift, worked with a great attitude, and on the rare occasion that there wasn't much to do at the pharmacy, she would bury her nose in her textbooks to study. Sometimes, she would even stay after her shift to help the pharmacy technicians with the inventory.
I was so impressed by her dedication that I offered her a position immediately upon graduating from the pharmacy assistant program. I was happy to hear that she planned to pursue a career in pharmacology when she first informed me of her plans a year ago, but I am even happier now that I have had the chance to work alongside her and evaluate her skills.
Her organizational skills and initiative-taking have allowed us to switch to a new storage method that has increased efficiency in our pharmacy. Furthermore, even though most of her duties are administrative, Ms. Doe's passion for pharmacology is undeniable. She always asks questions about different medications, how to best talk to patients about sensitive topics, and different procedures in the store.
More importantly, she cares deeply about helping others and bettering the community. As pharmacists, we are often the most accessible providers within the healthcare system, and our work goes beyond dispensing drugs. We serve as a liaison between physicians and patients and do our part to provide preventive care in our communities. Ms. Doe clearly understands this aspect of our profession already.
Recently, she came up with a plan to help us address students' concerns about over-the-counter medication, prescription drugs and recreational drugs. Students can come into the pharmacy to speak with us directly or submit anonymous questions that we respond to by writing on the school website. She spearheaded this project, promoted it and has been a huge part of its execution. We have been able to help so many students who had concerns about various drugs, from birth control to Adderall and so much more.
This passion for helping others, her work ethic, dedication, and desire to learn, give her the foundation that she needs to become a great pharmacist. I believe that she will be a great addition to any pharmacy program and that with the right training, she can have a career as a pharmacist that will have a positive impact on her community.
If you have any further questions concerning Ms. Doe, please do not hesitate to contact me, and I’ll be more than pleased to answer any inquiries.
Letter of recommendation example #2
To whom it may concern,
I am writing this letter today in support of Mr. Josh Bailey's application to your pharmacy program. As a chemistry professor in the University of X's pre-pharmacy program, I have had the pleasure of teaching and mentoring many bright young students. However, as many of the students in my faculty will tell you, I do not often write letters of recommendation.
I believe that good pharmacists are not only knowledgeable about the field but also compassionate, dedicated, and willing to go the extra mile. So in order for me to recommend a student for a pharmacy program, I need to be able to say that I honestly see those character traits in the students. I can honestly say that this is the case with Mr. Bailey.
I first met Mr. Bailey during my office hours when he came in to ask for help because he was struggling with some of the material. He had missed quite a few classes due to an unexpected situation with his family, and after trying to catch up by himself for a few weeks, he realized that he needed help, so he reached out.
I remember worrying for him because he was indeed quite behind, but he followed instructions and worked hard to the point of finishing the class with an A. I was especially impressed because he did this while keeping up with his other classes, his duties as a track team member, and his commitment to the Student Outreach Program that he started during his freshman year at University X. Watching him juggle these different activities with a positive attitude told me that he knows how to manage his time effectively and that he will be able to handle the rigorous nature of pharmacy school.
Last year, I was able to catch up with Josh again as he worked in my research lab as an assistant. I got to know him a bit better as a person, and I was glad to find out that in addition to being a hard worker, he genuinely cares about his community. We had a particularly memorable conversation where he was expressing his concerns about the outreach program. He explained that he and his fellow program members essentially organize fundraisers so that they can buy hygiene essentials and basic medical supplies to give to the homeless in our community. With his graduation approaching, he wanted to make sure that the project would be in good hands and that it would continue because he had seen the difference that it made for the recipients of these products.
I believe that his sense of compassion, dedication, and hard work will make him a great addition to your program and the pharmaceutical field in general.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any additional questions about his candidacy.
Prof. Eunice Tally
1. How hard is it to get into pharmacy school?
Getting into pharmacy school requires stellar grades, a compelling personal statement, and an outstanding application in general. In other words, it can be challenging, but with the right information and strategies, you can claim one of those coveted spots in a pharmacy program.
2. How many letters of recommendation do I need for pharmacy school?
Most programs in the US require three letters of recommendation, while pharmacy schools in Canada may ask for one to three letters. So, make sure you verify the admissions requirements for your chosen schools.
3. Who should write my pharmacy school letter of recommendation?
You should get a letter of recommendation from a medical professional who knows you well and who has expressed support for your plans to become a pharmacist.
4. What should my referees talk about in my letter of recommendation?
Your referees should discuss their experiences with you and the abilities that would make you a great pharmacy student and pharmacist. They should do so using specific examples.
5. My uncle is a pharmacist. Can they be my referee?
We do not recommend this. Letters of recommendation written by family members can seem biased and they are simply not as impactful as letters written by objective professionals.
6. How long should my letter of recommendation be?
Your pharmacy school letter of recommendation should not be longer than one page. Ideally, it should be four to six paragraphs.
7. What kind of information should I give my chosen writers?
You can provide them with a copy of your CV, personal statement, transcript, and any other information that may help them understand you better as a candidate.
8. How important is a pharmacy school letter of recommendation?
Very! These letters not only humanize your application, but they allow the admissions board to hear about your skills, abilities, and experience from another professional. So, it is important to make sure you are selecting writers who will improve your application to pharmacy school.
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