Most, if not all, students applying to pharmacy school obsess over the average gpa for pharmacy school. It is an unfortunate reality that I know all too well. I remember those somber evenings during finals.
Instead of studying for exams, I would sit down with my TI-84 and examine every point of every class! By evening’s end, my whiteboard looked like a prop from A Beautiful Mind! Sad, but true… I still do this.
But, why the need to obsess? Is it worth all of the worry and effort? Let’s examine some of the pharmacy school admission statistics, beginning with average gpa to get into pharmacy school.
GPA Is Only A Number
GPA is a measuring stick that many schools use to assess a student’s academic performance. I am a firm believer that this number is arbitrary and reflects discipline, not intelligence.
That being said, I will not be the one accepting you into pharmacy school.
Most institutions will have a minimum GPA requirement. The school directory, located within PHARMCAS, is available to students. Here, prospective students are able to see these minimum requirements.
The AACP website (aacp.org) has a table where students can view the average gpa for pharmacy schools in the United States. This table is a great resource!
It lists several pharmacy school admission statistics for prospective students.
From this table, the average gpa for pharmacy schools falls predominantly in the range of 3.0 to 3.7 on a 4.0 scale.
Another thing to consider is core (prerequisite) gpa. Not all pharmacy schools require completion of a four-year degree. In fact, many schools only require that students satisfy a minimum number of general education and basic science pre-requisites.
This is a benefit for some, but a curse for others. Pharmacy schools take into account a cumulative gpa and a basic science and/or major gpa. This is an important consideration for prospective students.
Pharmacy schools do a tremendous job vetting applicants, and won’t let “underwater basket weaving” and “how to watch television 101” salvage a weak science gpa.
A Little Closer To 3.0 Than 4.0
The discussion of the average gpa for pharmacy school is often accompanied by paranoia and panic. Several students hovering in the 3.0 to 3.5 range worry their gpa isn’t good enough. Then what?
- Use a mulligan! Some pharmacy schools allow students to replace a grade by repeating a class. Before investing the money, time, and energy, be sure to consult a school’s policy on re-taking a course.
- Better late than never! Because pharmacy schools don’t always require a degree, many students seek to apply early. It may be beneficial to stay in school another year and boost that gpa!
- Own the PCAT! While it’s easy to assume an above average gpa for pharmacy school is the best way to get in, there’s more to it than that. Acing the PCAT is a great way to show a school that you are more than just a number!
More Than Just A Pretty GPA
Students are frequently lectured on the importance of being well-rounded. This is also true when applying for pharmacy school. Yes, it’s great to have a 4.0 gpa and score in the 90th percentile on the PCAT, but admission committees don’t want or need an encyclopedia. That’s why there’s the internet.
Pharmacy schools are looking for students that will make the best pharmacists. GPA and test scores represent one component of the criteria schools will use. There are several other ways to make your application stand out:
- Work and/or volunteer in a pharmacy! It sounds like common sense, yet there are students who have never set foot in a pharmacy that apply to pharmacy school. It’s important to know you will enjoy a career as a pharmacist before investing the time and money.
- Take the road less traveled! Science majors are common applicants amongst pharmacy programs, but not required. Most any major can be considered for pharmacy school as long as the proper pre-requisites are satisfied.
- Let others talk about how great you are! Pharmacy schools require letters of recommendation as part of the application process. Seek out healthcare professionals, professors, and employers that can talk you up!
- Get to know the school! This isn’t always an option, but if it’s possible, do it! Seriously. I lived in the city where I applied to pharmacy school, and I would regularly stop by the admissions office. It sounds cheesy, but it’s amazing what happens when the school knows who you are before you’ve even applied!
- Be persistent! Not everyone is accepted into pharmacy school the first time. Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t happen this time. Ask the school how to improve for next year!
It’s important to not allow a gpa below the average gpa for pharmacy schools to be a deterrent. There are times where we have to take the long way around. This doesn’t mean the destination is any different.
All of The Tools In Batman’s Belt
The application process for pharmacy school is daunting. Trust me, I’ve done it. The gpa demands are lofty, the PCAT is brutal, and stress of applying is maddening! But, the feeling of opening an acceptance letter erases all of the negatives. Focus your energy on being the best all-around applicant possible, and do not allow the average gpa for pharmacy schools to scare you away from an exciting opportunity.