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How to get into pharmacy school with low grades

Updated April 17, 2017

Getting into pharmacy school is competitive. Having good grades is always a plus, but it’s not the only factor that determines whether you are admitted. Some schools will take other factors into consideration, such as work history and life experiences. There are ways to increase your chances of getting into pharmacy school with low grades.

Take a few graduate classes and get good grades. Although it won’t raise your college grade point average for your undergraduate degree, it can impress admissions committees. Enrol in classes such as chemistry and microbiology.

Consider becoming a pharmacy technician. Many pharmacy technician programs can be completed in 6 months or less. Become a technician and gain some work experience at a pharmacy or hospital. It may be easier to get into pharmacy school with low grades if you have direct experience in the field.

Play up other activities. Get involved in community service or volunteer work, preferably something related to helping people or in the medical field. Join professional organisations in the health care field when possible. Many organisations have student memberships.

Ace the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT). Almost all pharmacy schools require taking the PCAT as part of the admissions process. The test is nationally standardised and consists of question on biology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology. Get a study guide and take sample tests. Test scores in the 90th percentile are considered excellent and may help you get into school despite low grades in college.

Get published. Writing and publishing academic articles are always considered impressive when it comes to admission to pharmacy programs. Contact pharmacy journals and get guidelines for writing articles.

Review various schools admission requirements. Not every pharmacy school will weigh grades equally. Review admission polices at several schools you are interested in attending. Apply to schools that place an emphasis on extra-curricular activities, volunteer work or a personal essay.

Your chances of getting into pharmacy school with low grades are better if you apply to more than one program. Keep in mind you should only apply to schools you would be willing to attend.

Some pharmacy schools may hold interviews as part of their admission process. Prepare for an interview by practicing common interview questions, such as talking about your work experience and academic background. Prepare to answer questions explaining low grades.

Tip

Don’t give up. If you are unable to get into pharmacy school at first, try again the following year. Competition may be different and your chances may increase.

Warning

Never lie on you application to pharmacy school. Always give a true representation of you who are and what accomplishments you have.

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About the Author

MaryAnn DePietro has been a professional journalist since 2000, specializing in health, fitness and medical articles. She is also a certified respiratory therapist. Her work has appeared on websites such as eHow and ModernMom and in publications including the “Sacramento Bee, “Press Tribune“ and “Succeed.” DePietro holds a Bachelor of Science in rehabilitation from Penn State University and a degree in respiratory therapy.