Pharmacy school personal statement examples demonstrate that pharmacy school applications require many different documents to adequately assess you as a potential candidate. In addition to looking at your , transcripts, , and any other required materials, most pharmacy programs ask you to submit a personal statement. After gathering so many materials together, a one-page essay may seem like a trivial item to check off on your application to-do list, but beware of treating the personal statement too lightly! Gaining admission to a graduate pharmacy program certainly requires top grades, competitive test scores, and glowing letters of recommendation from referees who know you well, but these aren’t the only components that admissions committees take into account when evaluating your profile.
Keep in mind that most pharmacy school applicants already have stellar academic records, impressive test scores, and fantastic recommendations. These sorts of accomplishments are important, but are more or less a given in the application process. Furthermore, grades, test scores, and other people’s perceptions of you and the quality of your work are insufficient to determine if you are up for the challenge of the rigors of pharmacy school and the work that follows graduation. With something as serious as pharmacology, it is crucial to determine whether who you are would make you a good fit for the profession. Your knowledge, experiences, and attitudes all play a key role in deciding if you would thrive as a pharmacy student, and eventually, as a pharmacist serving your community. With so many applicants each cycle, admissions officers need some way to gauge these factors in order to narrow the applicant pool down to those they would like to speak to in person, or these days, over the internet. This is where the personal statement comes in! Keep reading to determine what a pharmacy school personal statement measures and how to create one that will make you stand out from other applicants.
Three days after my thirteenth birthday, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. The next twelve months were the toughest in my life, but this experience also gave me something I am forever grateful for—an unwavering passion for pharmacy. I always accompanied my mother to her chemotherapy sessions, where I performed plays for her and the other patients, trying to make them smile. I took an immediate liking to the pharmacist, who returned repeatedly to ask my mother how she was feeling; he explained in detail how these chemo drugs worked and how they interacted with others she had been taking. I listened raptly, entranced by the seemingly magic properties of this medication. It was difficult to watch my mother lose her hair and become frail, but she ultimately made a full recovery, thanks to the wonderful team of medical professionals and to these life-saving drugs. While I lost the naivety of youth that year, I gained a profound new sense of purpose. I was inspired to become a hospital pharmacist and to help patients in times of extreme uncertainty and pain.
I therefore began shadowing this very pharmacist a few years later. I followed him as his day began by meeting the healthcare team to discuss the best plan of action for their patients. I noticed how the team—made up of a doctor, nurses, dietician, social worker, and this pharmacist—worked together to solve their patients’ problems. I paid close attention to how the pharmacist communicated within his team, often collaborating to find innovative and more effective ways to treat pain and other symptoms. I also listened to how he spoke with his patients and their families, as he educated them patiently and minimized their fears and anxieties. I learned that a major role of pharmacists is their ability to actively listen, empathize, and communicate effectively with their patients, families, and healthcare team. I have tried to implement these skills in all of my further endeavors and will continue to work on them throughout pharmacy school and beyond.
In college, I became interested in advocacy when I learned the story of the drug Eflornothine, which worked miracles on the deadly disease African Sleeping Sickness but was discontinued because it did not make the company money. Like many pharmaceutical companies, this one kept the patent, disallowing other companies from making this medication cheaply, thereby condemning millions of people to suffer. When I learned of this, I felt ashamed and wanted to be a part of changing aspects of the industry that could be harmful. I began volunteering for an NGO that advocated for certain patents to be lifted, to allow patients suffering from treatable diseases to receive life-saving medicine. My task was to research the age of a patent, find out if it had been renewed, and if the company had any exceptions. We often found that patents had expired but the medicine prices had remained high; it was therefore easy to lower these prices, allowing patients in lower-income countries to afford medications. Through this experience, I learned that it is important to advocate for those who do not have the power or resources to advocate for themselves. I also learned important research skills that I aim to sharpen in the pharmacy program, such as conducting literature reviews and developing focused quantitative analyses. I will continue advocating for patients, both at home and abroad, and in the years to come, I aspire to change policy surrounding patent laws and life-saving medications.
Within the last few years, I have been interning at a local rural clinic during the summers. The members in our community have complicated medical histories and extensive comorbidities, making our local pharmacist’s job quite challenging. On multiple occasions our healthcare team had to make home visits to patients who were unable to leave their homes. Our first task was to gain the trust of these patients, many of whom were from marginalized communities, and who complained of negative experiences with people in positions of power. We therefore entered the community with an openness to learn about their culture and beliefs, as well as the challenges they faced. Through this open-ended dialogue, we were able to gain their trust and could administer medication, as well as educate about prevention. This experience taught me that building rapport begins with active listening and sometimes unlearning long held stereotypes or dogmas. I also learned that building patients’ trust is necessary in order to get an honest medical history and avoid contraindications or adverse events.
When my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, I remember feeling numb, confused, and scared. But within our first few trips to the hospital, I was reassured that she was in competent and compassionate hands. While not every family member will have the outcome that I did, when I am working as a pharmacist, they can rest assured that their loved one will receive the best care possible. As a future pharmacist, I promise to: collaborate with my team, continually striving for better methods and better outcomes; advocate for my patients and for those who cannot advocate for themselves; and actively listen and empathize with my patients and their families to ensure they receive patient-centered and compassionate care. While I know the road ahead will be challenging, pharmacy is a field I am honored to pursue, and I look forward to the day that I can inspire the next generation of pharmacists, as I was inspired a decade ago. (918 words)
Anyone who has ever faced a challenge has probably heard about the deflating nonexistence of a “magic pill” solution. Want to lose weight? There’s no magic pill for that. Trying to learn a new language? No dice. Hard work is always touted as the solution, and rightly so. As a preteen who struggled with confidence, I desperately yearned for a magic pill solution that would make me the bubbly, carefree girl surrounded by laughter in the cafeteria. Instead, the only bubbly aspect of my lunchtime break was the gurgling, broken faucet inside the girl’s restroom. Though unaware of it at the time, the bathroom was not a refuge from the scary, hormonal social scene of junior high, but from my ever-increasing social anxiety. As for a magic pill to rid me of that affliction? I think you know the answer to that.
Though there may not have been a magic pill to rid me of my mounting social anxiety, hard work seemed like an unlikely solution, too. For months, I put on a happy face, trying to convince myself that there was nothing to fear in locker-side conversations and that my worth was not determined by what a group of gangly middle-schoolers thought of me. Eventually, my parents took me to see a psychiatrist, and after many sweaty-palmed conversations, I was diagnosed with social anxiety and handed a prescription for anti-anxiety medication. Of course, the medication I received was no miracle, but with other coping mechanisms, my world began to seem a little more welcoming. Gradually, I interacted with peers more, who became friends. I still had to work hard in therapy, but the capsules I took in the morning each day removed my constant, debilitating worry.
Without the shadow of anxiety darkening my every social interaction, I felt as though I was beginning to become the version of myself I always wanted to be. Years later, I actually was the girl surrounded by laughter in the high school lunchroom. More importantly, though, I took my first chemistry course and discovered my passion. The ways that elements on the periodic table could combine to create entirely new substances fascinated me. I realized that, just like myself, the world around us is in a constant state of flux, with elements combining, reacting to forces, and continuously changing. As I changed from a high school chemistry novice to a university student, one thing remained constant: my passion for chemistry. Delving into how chemistry can be used as a tool inspired me to pursue it as a major, and I worked in various labs on campus investigating how different combinations could be put to use to solve problems, just like my psychiatrist helped me find ways to deal with my social anxiety.
Through my lab work on campus, I grew close with Dr. Johnson – the principal investigator in a campus lab and a faculty member in the pharmacy program. One evening, as we were locking up the lab, Dr. Johnson asked me if I had ever considered becoming a pharmacist. Initially hesitant, I finally accepted Dr. Johnson’s offer to facilitate a shadowing opportunity with one of his former colleagues. My first day in the pharmacy was overwhelming. The rattling of pills in bottles served as the backdrop to the near-tangible pressure of making sure no life-threatening mistakes occurred. I was intimidated by the responsibility, but excited by the chemical interactions that the pharmacist discussed with me. This was the ultimate problem-solving chemistry I had been seeking!
After months of shadowing a pharmacist, I was convinced that I wanted to pursue a career in pharmacy. My experiences with Dr. Johnson and his colleague piqued my interest in what seemed like a never-ending field of discovery. Elements combining, reacting to forces, and continuously changing, but in the human body! Figuring out the puzzles of chemical reactions had always been intriguing, but knowing that I could combine that with helping people recover from sickness, manage chronic disease, or even find the strength to leave the middle school bathroom and have lunch with other students was empowering. The medication I took as a preteen may not have been a magic pill for my social anxiety, but there was certainly some magic in it. I look forward to putting in the hard work to bring that magic to others as a pharmacist. (724 words)
‘I want to do more than just counsel on the proper use of Levothyroxine’ was what I told my father when he asked me what kind of pharmacist I wanted to be. He died shortly after, and it saddens me to think that I cannot tell him now how my vision has evolved. Now, besides being someone in charge of educating patients about their medications, I see pharmacists as scientists who design and produce medicines, evaluate lab results and drug interactions for the benefit of the patient, act as a trusted link between doctors and their patients and, ultimately, impact patients’ lives and contribute to their wellbeing. Pharmacists need to be team players, good communicators, detail-oriented problem solvers, and culturally sensitive professionals, and these are some of the characteristics that I have developed through different endeavors.
As the captain of my soccer team in high school, I was put in charge of leading the team both in and outside of the game. On the field, I acted as a mediator between the players, coach, and referee. Successfully guiding players on the strategies dictated by the coach required excellent communication skills. In my team, I was not only a player; I was a key decision maker and a motivator. Making tactical decisions while supporting everyone in their position showed me the true meaning of being a team player and taught me how to handle pressure well. When I look back at those times and think about the titles we won for our school, I know that the characteristics I developed while I led my team to victory will be put to use when I have to collaborate with a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals in the future.
In college, while volunteering at a local pharmacy in my hometown, I helped the pharmacist handle prescriptions and dispense a variety of medications. It became clear to me that following a methodical approach and paying great attention to detail were essential in pharmacy. I made it a point to learn from him, and with time, I found myself being thorough, accurate, and organized not only at the pharmacy but at school as well. I also sought to understand both the cause and the effect of a situation, which is an ability that has guided everything I have done since then, including my research work and my academic activities as a Biology major. Seeing the pharmacist interact with patients was truly rewarding. I watched as he explained the treatment, potential side effects, and desired outcomes to them while evaluating the interactions between the drugs they were taking in order to avoid any harm. This showed me that, besides being a problem-solver and having analytical abilities, pharmacists need to be empathetic and care for their patients. Very soon I found myself interacting with people who visited the pharmacy and exercising the same skills the local pharmacist possessed.
This interaction with people helped me refine different characteristics that I bring with me to this new journey. One of the most significant is, perhaps, the cultural awareness that I developed in my shadowing work at the university hospital. Having a patient who does not speak the language, calming them down, and finding a translator, for instance, or understanding how different cultures view certain health practices and looking for ways to respectfully adapt to them has allowed me to learn and practice cultural sensitivity, which is crucial in a multicultural society, such as in Canada, where the population is becoming more diverse. By seeing pharmacists in action in the university hospital setting, I gained insight into the every-day lives of healthcare professionals who work with patients from every background imaginable. Moreover, I also came to realize the pressure to which pharmacists are exposed when the correct medication has to be provided with extreme urgency. Working under pressure is something I do well since my soccer days, so instead of deterring me, this motivates me.
If anyone were to ask me today about the kind of pharmacist I want to be, I would have a much stronger answer than the one I gave to my father many years ago. I want to be the kind of pharmacist that uses their knowledge, skills, and compassion to improve their patients’ health and one that works with other health care professionals to maximize health outcomes. Furthermore, I want to have patients trust me enough to let me become involved in their lives as I guide them on their medications and help them improve their quality of life. Besides all this, and on a much more personal level, I want to be the kind of pharmacist that will make my father proud. (781 words)
“Why would you want to be a pharmacist?” was the question my father asked me when I shared my decision to pursue pharmacy school. This was a question I had asked myself many times as I solidified my decision to pursue this dream. I shared my experience standing in line at a local pharmacy to fill a prescription. This was something I did every month, and not an experience that I had given much thought, however; when I saw the person in line in front of me experience great distress at learned the price of her daughter’s prescription, I realized that not all patrons had the same experience as me. To many, a trip to the pharmacy may be filled with questions over how their medications will affect their body or their ability to afford groceries for the month. The woman in line was worried about the high prescription price in light of other expenses in providing for her family. As I saw the pharmacist assist her in finding a less costly alternative, and the ease come over the woman as she learned that her family would be alright, I had my first glimpse into my future profession as a pharmacist.
This day sparked my interest in attending pharmacy school, but also a desire to further explore what it meant to be a pharmacist. While donating blood to the Red Cross, I learned of the growing need for pharmacist volunteers, with many underserved communities necessitating additional support. As I was giving blood, I talked with a current pharmacist volunteer, ‘Samantha,’ who recounted her responsibilities to me when I expressed an interest in wanting to learn more. ‘Samantha’ explained why she felt pharmacists made wonderful volunteers in the community. She reflected that pharmacists have the knowledge to make an impact and valuable experience conversing daily with people of all backgrounds. As I talked with ‘Samantha,’ I thought about my own capacity to strike up a conversation with people I had not met before. I recalled that my friends often joke about how I could talk to anyone about anything, a trait I admire in myself. Everyone is skilled in different ways, but my ability to talk to anyone I come across will be an asset to my future as a pharmacist. I look forward to new experiences every day and speaking with new patrons to get to know their needs and concerns. In addition, I hope to volunteer in my community as a pharmacist to expand the number of people I can impact with my loquacious disposition as I guide them towards safe medication use.
With the personality to be a efficacious pharmacist, I looked to build my experience in the healthcare profession. I secured a volunteer position aiding a hospital pharmacist in educating health professionals on drug side effects. I was responsible for designing educational posters for use in counseling patients about their medications. I was eager to use my artistic talents to help people seeking to understand their prescriptions, like the woman in line ahead of me at the pharmacy. As I designed posters, I asked my friends and family to look at my drafts and provide feedback. I asked if the information was conveyed in a clear, approachable way and I learned that what is clear to one person – such as myself – can be viewed differently by another person with a different background or set of life experiences. As a pharmacist, I will utilize educational materials that have gone through arduous testing to ensure they can deliver the necessary information, but I will also aim to understand community members’ experiences and how this may impact their understanding and outlook towards their medication.
I explained to my father that, to me, pharmacy is about conversation. As patrons share with you why they have come in to the pharmacy that day, or what is troubling them, it is important to truly listen. This is the starting point for the conversation needed to understand their concerns, provide appropriate medication, and educated them as to how best proceed. Although my friends joke about my ability to talk to anyone, this is a trait that will go far in serving my community as a pharmacist. (702 words)
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Pharmacy school personal statements are a crucial aspect of your application because they help to separate you from the crowd of other accomplished applicants. After all, grades, test scores, and letters of recommendation only go so far in presenting who you are and your talents and strengths. Even a CV does not reveal enough about you and your experiences to adequately reflect your ability to succeed in pharmacy school and beyond. Imagine trying to measure a candidate’s level of motivation or ability to persevere through adversity by looking at his or her GPA! Luckily, you have the power to present the strengths and qualities that would make you an incredible future pharmacist and make your case for admission through your personal statement.
Essentially, this short essay asks you to reflect upon who you are, what led you to want to study pharmacology specifically, and why you would be great at it. Most pharmacy programs in the United States use a central application portal called PharmCAS (Pharmacy College Application Service) to distribute application materials like transcripts, test scores, and personal statements to individual university programs. Personal statements for PharmCAS must be 4500 characters or less, including spaces. It is crucial to draft a personal statement that is within the character limit because the online portal will not allow you to save or submit a personal statement that exceeds 4500 characters. As you prepare to write your personal statement, be sure to verify that your program(s) of choice use PharmCAS for receiving application materials. If you find that your university does not utilize PharmCAS, check the program’s website for specific instructions regarding the character or word limit for personal statements.
Canadian pharmacy program application expectations differ from school to school. The University of Toronto’s PharmD program, for example, does not require a personal statement of any kind.
A common mistake that pharmacy school applicants make is relying upon cliches to discuss their motivations for pursuing a career as a pharmacist. Cliches read as tired and don’t reveal anything meaningful about an applicant. Moreover, many personal statement cliches like expressing a desire to “help people” are so vague that they fail to address an applicant’s desire to study pharmacology precisely. There are a multitude of careers that help people: teachers, doctors, non-profit workers, and more. Similarly, a fascination with science applies to any number of medical professions, researchers, scientists, and so on. In your personal statement, you must clearly express why you want to go to pharmacy school specifically.
Additionally, admissions officers want to ensure they admit only those applicants who demonstrate their capability of handling the demanding course work as well as possess the correct attitude and motivation to pursue a career in pharmacy. You’ve probably heard that past behavior is one of the best predictors of future behavior, and for good reason. For instance, if you have already persevered and exhibited your resilience, work ethic, and determination in past experiences, chances are you will exhibit those same skills in a pharmacy program, no matter the challenges you may face. Showing your skills through relevant anecdotes and relating them to core attributes you possess that will ensure your future success as a pharmacist goes a long way to separate you from an already qualified pool of applicants.
Pharmacy personal statements also assess the value you will add to your matriculating class, the program, and the institution overall. You want to prove you are a mutually beneficial fit for your pharmacy program of choice. As you craft your personal statement, you will likely need to create several versions that cater to each of the institutions to which you plan to apply, highlighting the attractive elements of each program that motivated you to apply and explaining how you would thrive in such an environment and contribute to the program’s culture and mission. Prove that the school would be missing out on an exceptional candidate if you were not offered admission!
Although each program has different requirements, pharmacy personal statements are generally around a page long, or 4500 characters for most applications in the United States, and should be structured similar to a traditional, academic paper. Your personal statement should have a clear introduction, a body composed of about 2-3 paragraphs, and a marked conclusion. It is important that you transition well among each of these elements to enhance the flow and overall readability of your statement. The logical progression of your ideas should also be well-defined so that admissions officers can easily follow your train of thought. Keep in mind that each individual reading your personal statement will be looking at many, many personal statements in any given sitting, which can get exhausting. Make their jobs easier by ensuring that your statement is easy to read and makes your points both concisely and clearly. Given the myriad personal statements each admissions officer must review, your statement must be quite unique and engaging in order to stand out and be memorable.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not the best choice to start your statement at the beginning by working on the introduction. Part of the reason you should avoid starting with the introduction is because an introduction typically sets the stage for what you discuss in the body of your statement. If you don’t have the content of the body prepared, it is unlikely that you will be able to craft an appropriate introduction. Rather, you want to plan out the body of your statement first by creating a rough outline of the topics you wish to address in your statement to give the reader an overview of what led you to pursue pharmacy school, as well as the experiences and qualities that would make you an excellent addition to the program of your choice, and ultimately, a great pharmacist. Utilizing an outline to plan out your response also takes a bit of the pressure off of you as a writer so that you are not focused on making every single sentence perfect until you have a general idea of where you are going with your statement. After you have the “bones” of your statement planned out via an outline structure, begin to add the “meat” little by little, gradually expanding your outline with more substantial content, including anecdotes that serve as evidence or justification for the claims that you make.
Pharmacy personal statements are an opportunity to show the admissions committee your personality, values, and goals. With this in mind, think carefully about which experiences you want to emphasize and the skills and values you want those experiences to illustrate. “Illustrate” is a key word here; be sure to show your readers what you mean instead of telling them. For example, don’t just say you are a lifelong learner. Show your readers evidence that demonstrates you are a lifelong learner by narrating and reflecting upon experiences in which you were continuously eager to learn new information. One of the most important tips to remember as you plan the outline for and later write your pharmacy personal statement is to be true to yourself. When applicants communicate what they believe admissions committees want to hear, or in this case read, their inauthenticity is blatantly evident. Being genuine not only serves you in the short-term by creating a personal statement that reads as truly authentic, which is always more convincing and impactful, but it is to your benefit in the long run as well. After all, pharmacy school is 4 years long, which isn’t exactly an insignificant time commitment. You should aim to gain admission into a program that wants you for who you truly are and the potential you’ve demonstrated, and the only way of guaranteeing this is to show who you truly are through your personal statement.
Once you have crafted a full outline, begin to write a rough draft of your body paragraphs. At this point, you still do not need to worry about choosing the best words or making sure that the stylistic elements of your body paragraphs are top notch. Focus on getting your thoughts out on paper in a way that makes sense and flows well in terms of a logical progression of ideas. So, how many experiences should you write about in your personal statement? While there is no concrete number you should aim for, do be selective about which experiences you choose to include. Think quality over quantity. Essentially, as you answer the question “Why do you want to be a pharmacist?”, trace the origin of your interest in studying pharmacy through each stage of its development. Given the 4500-character limit, at least for most pharmacy programs in the United States, you will have to limit your discussion to two to three experiences, depending upon the level of depth of your discussion of each experience.
Which kinds of experiences work best? Keeping in mind that the experiences you decide to address and the way in which you write about them should be authentic to you, aim for experiences that involve exposure to the field. Of course, exposure to pharmacy can come in many forms! Perhaps you were exposed to pharmacy and the positive impact it can make in people’s lives through your own use of prescribed pharmaceuticals to treat a chronic illness, which inspired you to learn more about how medications work. Or, maybe you were considering a career in either medicine or pharmacy, decided to shadow physicians and pharmacists alike to accrue more knowledge about the day-to-day responsibilities of each profession, and found yourself enamored with your pharmacy shadowing experience. In any case, make sure that you are specific about which aspects of your experience were particularly influential in your developing desire to study pharmacy and what convinced you that you would make a great pharmacist yourself!
Once you have completed your rough draft, take a day or so away from your statement so that you can achieve mental distance from your writing in order to review it with fresh eyes the next time you read it. With this new perspective, revise your body paragraphs, choosing the strongest vocabulary possible to convey your meaning. Remember, though, that it is important to be authentic, so don’t abuse your thesaurus! Work on strengthening the wording of your statement and try reading it out loud to see how well each sentence fits together. Rinse and repeat.
Next it is time to work on your introduction and conclusion. These two paragraphs can make or break the success of your pharmacy personal statement. The introduction sets the tone for your statement and should capture your readers’ attention and interest from the very beginning so that they feel invested and driven to continue reading, while the conclusion serves to lend your statement a sense of closure, but should end on a powerful note so that your narrative is memorable.
How do you create a strong introduction? Simply put, there is no formula or singular way to grab your readers’ attention, which provides you with a lot of freedom. Get creative! If the introduction is crucial to generating interest in your statement, the first sentence is even more so. Recall how many statements the admissions officers will be reviewing on a daily basis during any given application cycle. Make yours stand out with a quote, rhetorical question, or a vivid, sensory description of the middle of a scene from an anecdote. Ultimately the strategy you employ is up to you, but strive to use an opening “hook” that is authentic to you and your path to becoming a pharmacist. Ask yourself if you would be interested by your first sentence. If not, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and try another creative strategy, keeping in mind that your whole statement should be cohesive, so whatever hook you use needs to be related to what you discuss in subsequent paragraphs.
What about a strong conclusion? First, let’s identify what your conclusion should not look like. Refrain from simply summarizing the body of your statement or listing the topics you’ve covered. With just one page to make your case for admission, you must make every paragraph count. While you shouldn’t bring up brand new information in a concluding paragraph, you can offer reflections upon content you’ve already discussed or draw connections between the skills you learned through the anecdotes you recount and your future success in the particular pharmacy program to which you are applying. Similar to the introduction, an effective conclusion must contain a strong last sentence to cement the positive impression and impact you’ve made. Use a creative approach here too! One strategy that tends to work well is linking back to the creative element of your opening hook, but experiment with different endings to see which works best and feels most like you.
Tip #1: Be authentic.
The personal statement should explain why you want to study pharmacy, so your discussion of this should be true to your experiences. Instead of writing what you think would be appealing to admissions officers, present a genuine account of why you want to be a pharmacist and the experiences that led you to that conclusion. Inauthenticity is actually quite easy to detect, so it is always preferrable to be authentic.
Tip#2: Start early.
The strength of your personal statement is crucial, and with limited space to show the admissions committee who you are and why you are passionate about becoming a pharmacist, you will likely go through many drafts before you arrive at the final product. In order to accommodate multiple rounds of edits and give yourself time to gain mental distance from each draft before revising again, you must start early.
Tip#3: Get expert feedback.
Notice that we suggest expert feedback, not just feedback in general. Everyone can give you an opinion on the strength of your pharmacy school personal statement, but only a select few can give you constructive criticism that will actually serve to improve your statement. Trusted professors, pharmacist mentors, or admissions experts like the ones at BeMo are all great choices to give you informed and insightful advice.
Tip#4: Be concise.
Since you have limited space to convince your reader that you are passionate about pursuing pharmacy and would make an excellent future pharmacist, every word counts. Recount your experiences in a succinct manner so that you can maximize your character count and include valuable reflections that will demonstrate how strong of an applicant you are!
Tip#5: Avoid cliches.
While it can definitely be tempting to rely upon commonly used motivations for pursuing pharmacy school like “to help others” or “to give back,” leaning upon these cliches will only hurt your application. Even though part of your motivation for becoming a pharmacist may genuinely be to help others, you need your statement to stand out. If hundreds of other applicants express the same sentiment, your sincere altruism may be lost in the crowd of other personal statements communicating the same thing. Further, helping others and giving back can be achieved in various careers. Your job is to convince the reader that you want to make that impact through pharmacy.
1. How long should my pharmacy personal statement be?
If you are applying to pharmacy schools in the United States, check out PharmCAS’ website to see if your program utilizes this application service. If so, your personal statement will be restricted to 4,500 characters, including spaces. If not, check out the program’s website to discover that school’s specific personal statement requirements.
On the other hand, if you are applying to pharmacy schools in Canada, you will need to go directly to that school’s website to see its specific requirements. Some programs don’t require a personal statement at all.
2. Do all pharmacy programs require a personal statement?
No, some schools like the University of Toronto don’t require a personal statement or essay of any kind. Double check the website(s) of your program(s) of choice to see what the specific requirements are.
3. How should I structure my pharmacy personal statement?
Unless directed otherwise by your program of choice, your pharmacy personal statement should be structured like a traditional academic essay. Include an introduction, 2-3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Please see above for further details.
4. What should I include in my personal statement?
Overall, your personal statement should answer the question “Why do you want to be a pharmacist?” or “Why do you want to go to pharmacy school?” Your answer to this question should show your reader why you want to pursue this career instead of telling them. Show your desire to become a pharmacist by discussing key experiences that sparked your interest in pharmacy and developed that interest into a true passion. Include experiences that exposed you to the profession, whether that is as a patient, working as a pharmacy assistant, or shadowing a pharmacist.
5. How should I write the introduction of my personal statement?
Although it may seem illogical, your introduction should be one of the last things that you write. The introduction of your personal statement must introduce the content that appears in your 2-3 body paragraphs, so it makes sense to write your body paragraphs first in order to know which content you are introducing. In order to capture your reader’s attention from the very beginning of your personal statement, the first sentence of your introduction should employ an opening hook that uses some sort of creative element to generate interest in your statement. Opening hooks often use relevant quotes, pieces of dialogue, or vignettes of a particularly impactful experience to “hook” the reader and make them more invested in the document before them. Following your opening hook, you should discuss the significance of it, whether that is how a quote relates to your life or an explanation of the significance of the situation described in your vignette. Finally, your introduction should establish your interest in pharmacy and set the stage for the more substantial content that will follow in subsequent body paragraphs.
6. How should I write the conclusion of my personal statement?
The conclusion of your personal statement should not just be a summary of the content covered. Rather, it should be comprised of reflections upon the experiences you’ve described, draw connections among your experiences, and/or discuss future goals in the field of pharmacy. Make sure that the last sentence of your conclusion leaves the reader wanting to know more about you. How memorable your statement is depends heavily on your last sentence, so you should use a creative approach as you did with your opening hook. Some applicants find it useful to refer back to their opening hook in a creative way. Try out different endings and see which works best with the statement you’ve written!