Concerned about writing your personal statement for your PharmCAS application? UCSOP wants to help! It’s actually simple – start by thinking of your personal statement as a story about you—specifically, your academic and personal journey. Be sure to include commentary and reflection on how your academic and personal experiences have led up to you wanting to become a pharmacist. Your story should focus on:
- YOU! Talk about yourself. This one of the rare occasions in life you have to actually write about YOU! Take advantage of this opportunity. Explain why you want to be a pharmacist. Talk about the academic, personal and/or work experiences that have led you this point in your academic career.
- Setting yourself apart. Explain how you are different! Committees are looking for something personal as well as analytical. This might require you to disclose information you would not normally share and/or examine your life (successes and failures) more critically.
- Pharmacy. The writing prompt for PharmCAS is specific in that it asks applicants to discuss why they want to pursue a career in pharmacy. In order to capture the attention of committees, it is important to include discussion on why being a pharmacist is important to you. Has it been a life-long dream? Was there an experience or event that led you down this path? Share those things with details to demonstrate your commitment to pharmacy practice.
Still have writer’s block? Brainstorm! Get out a paper (any paper) and a writing implement (pen, crayon, marker—whatever is nearby) and start answering some of these basic questions:
- What is special, unique, distinctive, or impressive about your life story? Do you have notable accomplishments? Have you traveled the world? Do you volunteer to work with patients at a local hospital? Do you currently work in a pharmacy? You get where I’m going here . . . BRAINSTORM!
- Why are you interested in pharmacy? What area of practice might you like to pursue? Community pharmacy? Academic pharmacy? Managed care? Hospital? (Find out more about career options in pharmacy by visiting: http://www.aacp.org/RESOURCES/STUDENT/PHARMACYFORYOU/PHARMACYCAREERINFO/Pages/default.aspx.)
- What work experiences do you have in relationship to pharmacy practice? If you haven’t worked in a pharmacy, what other types of work experiences will help you when working with patients or just with the rigor of the academic program (interpersonal skills, caregiving skills, attention-to-detail, etc.)?
- What obstacles or hardships (personal, professional, academic) have you encountered along your journey?
- What skills/characteristics do you possess—leadership, perseverance, enthusiasm, integrity, etc. that will allow you to be successful?
- Why should the admissions committee be interested in you in particular? Again, brainstorm some ideas. Past academic excellence? Job-related experience? Personal experience?
WRITE! After brainstorming, it’s time to write! You may find it helpful to make an outline using your brainstorming ideas. Organize your thoughts with a strong introductory paragraph. Tell the committee who you are but also consider how your story relates to the desire to join the pharmacy profession. And don’t forget to PROOFREAD. Share with others too! Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes will catch mistakes you do not. Be sure not to hit submit until you are certain there aren’t any grammatical or content errors. And, above all, always be sure that your personal statement is just that, YOURS. Never copy or borrow another person’s work. This can delay your application or even stop the application process altogether!
Additional things to consider:
- Be mindful of the required word limit
- Proofread (more than once)
- Be sure to connect your discussion to pharmacy
- Be honest, open and truthful (but don’t overshare—you don’t want to include things that might cause a committee to question your judgment)
- Don’t write for a specific school*
Good luck with your application and your essay!
*The PharmCAS personal statement is intended for all schools to which you are applying.
Dr. Susan M. Gardner, Assistant Dean for Professional and Student Affairs
University of Charleston School of Pharmacy
|Sample Graduate School Admissions Essay 2|
(Pharmacy Doctoral Program)
Spending my early years in my family’s native Lebanon gave me a sense of history and permanence on this earth that seemed very at odds with the new life we started when my family moved to New Mexico when I was ___ years old. Life in Lebanon is, on the surface, much like it was hundreds of years ago, and if you were to take a picture of our street there and its inhabitants, I have no doubt with the exception of the particulars of people’s faces it would look much the same as a painting from long ago. It seemed at first that nothing in New Mexico was older than 20 or 30 years old, families moved on and off our block regularly, and everything seemed to be in a constant state of flux. This was so unlike what I was used to that it took awhile to get adjusted, but I soon learned, however, to appreciate my new home and see the importance in constantly trying to improve on what has gone before you. My parents moved us to the US in order to further my father’s education and it is with great pride that I now too seek the same opportunity to build a career on solid educational foundation.
My undergraduate career is marked by a solid grade point average and I have every intention of maintaining and indeed improving my performance in graduate school as I will now be able to devote all of my attention to the sole subject of my interest: pharmacology. I knew early on in my studies that this was a subject that I could excel in due to my natural inclination towards the sciences, but it was only through my experience working in a pharmacy that I found I also had the important ability to relate to the patients as well. I am by nature a compassionate person, and I have found that my calm demeanor and patient explanations to customers helps to put them at ease in what can at times be a stressful or intimidating experience.
It is my goal to earn a doctorate in pharmacology and then apply that knowledge in a career as a pharmacist. I am eager to expand my knowledge in this field and hope to take part in future research projects. I have also had the opportunity to volunteer in my local Children’s Hospital and I hope that as I become more experienced my volunteer activities will expand as well since I will be able to offer more expertise to those in need. I look forward to building a solid educational foundation which I hope to constantly improve upon by staying abreast of any improvements in the field, at ___ University.
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