Students who know how to prepare for pharmacy school are more likely to be informed and prepared for the application and schooling process, ultimately leading to greater success after school.
As a high school student considering a career in pharmacy, the task of choosing a career can seem overwhelming.
Fortunately, there are enough pharmacists who have experienced the process that advice is easy to come by!
So, how should a student prepare for pharmacy school?
Get experience… early
Experiencing pharmacy is the first step of preparing for pharmacy school. Experience can mean a few different things.
Students can gain experience through shadowing opportunities, on the job training and community service, to name a few.
When shadowing, try to shadow at least 3 different kinds of pharmacists to get an idea for the variations that exist in pharmacy practice.
On the job training as a pharmacy technician is another option.
Many community pharmacies and hospitals like to hire prospective pharmacy students.
Community service can also be a way to gain experience, especially if you are volunteering in a medical environment with other pharmacists.
If pharmacy is a field you are still interested in after gaining first-hand experience, then consider the following when thinking about how to prepare for pharmacy school:
1.Take courses most closely aligned with pharmacy courses
This means math and science.
Pharmacists are responsible for understanding complex processes within the body and calculating complex drug mathematics, so an aptitude in these two fields is very beneficial.
That being said, pharmacy is so diverse that even people stronger suited to arts and literature types of material can still be successful.
Pharmacy courses often cover the effects of medications in the body on a cellular and clinical level, how medications move through the bloodstream and the body, what are appropriate doses of medications, how are medications used in clinical practice, and much more.
Additionally, early pharmacy courses have instruction in communication, both written and verbal.
Students interested in pharmacy careers should, however, understand that pharmacy courses lean heavily on basic principles of math and science, both biology and chemistry, so having a good understanding of these core subjects is quite helpful.
2. Get involved
Another great way to prepare for pharmacy school is by getting involved.
This can mean many different things, but preferably something health sciences related.
Many high schools and even Universities have “pre-med” clubs, which can include field trips to health care facilities, discussions about various jobs, or volunteer opportunities centered around medical care.
Additionally, pharmacy school applications will ask about organizational involvement and community service activities. The earlier students can engage with organizations and volunteer work, the better.
Not only do these activities provide essential life-skills, they also portray the student as dedicated, engaged, and caring for others. These experiences are great when thinking about how to prepare for pharmacy school.
3. Do your homework
Students preparing for pharmacy school should be looking at what coursework it takes to meet the requirements for pharmacy school, and be thinking about where to take the courses.
There are many options including community college, State Universities, private Universities, and more.
Most pharmacy schools require similar components of pre-requites ahead of pharmacy courses, which is about 2-3 years worth of schooling.
Some pharmacy schools do offer entrance after high school and these will include pre-requisite courses within the program.
Essentially, there are so many options available based individual preferences.
Students should understand that professional school can be costly, so taking advantage of financial aid and scholarships while doing pre-pharmacy courses can pay off down the road.
Bottom-line: do your homework and make informed decisions for your benefit.
In summary, following these three steps will help students wondering how to prepare for pharmacy school.
Each step should be tailored to your interests and abilities, because above all else preparing for pharmacy school is about identifying and pursuing your passion.