For students applying to pharmacy school, few things are as gut-wrenching and fear-inspiring as the pharmacy school interview. Receiving the opportunity to interview is often a moment of great joy, followed soon after by a moment of panic. A number of questions rush into a student’s mind:
- What are they going to ask me?
- What if I say the wrong thing?
- What if my interviewer is a total jerk?!
The pharmacy school interview process may seem daunting now, but I’m here to tell you it isn’t worth stressing over! Here’s some key points of what to expect during the pharmacy school interview process.
First Things, First:
Many times, pharmacy schools will send a request to interview listing multiple interview dates. Many students feel the need to interview as quickly as possible because it provides a better opportunity for acceptance.
Do NOT be fooled by this myth.
Pharmacy schools will take the best students available regardless of when they choose to interview. Sure, it would be nice to make the first interview date, and it would be even better to receive an acceptance letter two weeks after. But, what’s more important is scheduling an interview date that provides the best chance for success.
During my own pharmacy school interview process, I had two schools that I was considering. My second choice emailed me before my first choice, at which time I scheduled the interview. As fate would have it my top school emailed me a week later to schedule an interview.
I was incredibly tempted to move my interview with my second choice school, and take the first available interview with my top choice. I am now glad I didn’t because it may appear unprofessional and insulting. Also, it didn’t make a difference. I was offered acceptance to both programs soon after both interviews.
Again, I make the point. Schedule interviews in a manner that provides you the best chance at success. The pharmacy school interview process is stressful enough. Don’t overthink it!
Before The Interview:
Prepare, prepare, prepare! The pharmacy school interview is not something where students can “just wing it.”
It is important to be relaxed, yet students should not be flippant in their preparation. I will use a Sun Tzu quote to summarize the preparation process,
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”
Knowing Thy Enemy:
Okay, so the pharmacy school interview is not an enemy. But, in this instance it is an adversary. Furthermore, it is important to know what to expect! Pharmacy schools do not all use the same format for pharmacy school interviews. Schools may use a variety of methods for interviewing:
- 1-on-1 interview: where a student meets with a member of school individually.
- Interview panel: where a student meets with a group from the school.
- Multi Mini Interview (MMI): where a student is put through several interviews, each lasting 5 to 10 minutes. This is a newer interview method, here is where you can locate more information.
Another important consideration in preparing for a pharmacy school interview is knowing what questions may be asked. Students should be prepared to answer a wide range of questions during a pharmacy school interview. Some sample questions include:
- Why do you want to be a pharmacist?
- What qualities do you have that make you an effective leader?
- What will you be doing in pharmacy 10 years from now?
- How will you use your pharmacy knowledge to advance the community?
- Why do you want to attend [insert pharmacy school name]?
These questions are asked to help inform the school’s decision on whether or not to admit a student. While there is not a “correct” answer, students need to provide insightful answers, and demonstrate that pharmacy isn’t a hobby. For a more in depth list of questions, check out this other link to science preps.
Last, but most certainly not least, it’s important to be prepared for the interview day itself. This starts with knowing where the interview will be held. It is recommended that students visit the interview site the evening before. Also, make sure to locate parking and have all documentation ready for the morning of the pharmacy school interview.
Know Thy Self:
The most important thing a student can do in preparing for pharmacy school interviews is answering possible interview questions before the interview. Browse sample questions and reflect on the answers.
During interviews, pharmacy schools are not looking for a correct answer. They are looking for your answer!
Everyone’s path to pharmacy is different. Each journey is presented different challenges and triumphs along the way. Before interviewing, know your story and be able to tell it! These schools want to get to know you. Be sure you’re able to tell them about the best you have to offer!
The Day of The Interview:
All the prep-work has been done, and the day is finally here! Now what? It should go without saying, but I’ll go right ahead and mention it. Your interview day is your chance to show off. This starts with looking your best!
Use whatever cliche works best. Look good, feel good, do good; dress for the job you want, not the one you have; walk in looking like a million bucks! Pharmacy school interviews require formal business attire. Show up dressed to impress!
It is also important to start the day off right. On the interview day, make sure to wake up early and allow enough time to get ready, eat breakfast, and get to the interview early! Be sure to reflect on potential questions again, and cement your answers. This will be a big relief on interview day!
What If It Doesn’t Go According To Plan?:
Forrest Gump said it best, “It happens.” Things don’t always go according to plan, and sometimes you have to pick up the pieces. I’ll offer my own story to illustrate.
It was the day of my own pharmacy school interview. I live in the city where I was interviewing, about 10 minutes from campus. I woke up early, ate my breakfast, and left my apartment with plenty of time to spare… enter the rain. Unfortunately, Charleston is below sea level and heavy rain showers lead to floods. Upon arriving on campus, my parking plans were shot as the garage I planned to park in was full. I drove around for 20 minutes looking for a parking spot before find a garage.
Once in the garage, I jumped out of my car and began to hurry to the building I needed to be in. One problem, all of the streets were flooded with knee high water. Yes, every single one. I was literally trapped in a parking garage. Time was no longer my ally, and there was no way to avoid the water. Long story short, I walked into my pharmacy school interview day 15 minutes late, pants rolled up to my knees, socks and shoes in hand.
I immediately thought to myself, “there’s no recovering from this one.” Then I reminded myself, the school doesn’t want me to be perfect.
They want me to be me! I walked into a room full of prospective students, professors, and faculty and uttered the phrase, “Sorry I’m late, I left my canoe at home. Let’s get started!”
While it was not the perfect start to my day, I was able to rebound. That is important! Not everything will go as scripted during your pharmacy school interview. What’s important is how you handle that.
Again, I implore all students to be the best version of yourself during the interview process. Take this advice, and you’ll have nothing to fear during the pharmacy school interview!