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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Pre-Pharmacy Club: Join one (or start one!)

I always find it a bit curious when reading an application from a student -- who attends a college/university that has a strong pre-pharmacy organization -- and the applicant isn't a member or involved. I ask myself, "Why didn't they take advantage of that?" Being involved in a campus-based pre-pharmacy club can potentially provide applicants with many opportunities:
  • Networking with other students interested in applying to pharmacy school
  • Meeting representatives from PharmD programs, including admissions officers
  • Hearing from guest speakers like current PharmD students, local pharmacists and other health professionals
  • Participating in community outreach activities with other club members
  • Developing leadership skills and teamwork experience
I realize not everyone is the "get involved in school" type... but it really is a terrific opportunity to expose yourself to opportunities that could potentially make you a more competitive applicant. I mean, what applicant wouldn't want all those opportunities? Many pre-pharmacy organizations coordinate visits to the various pharmacy schools in their state. Developing a network of friends who are faced with the same challenges as you (applying to graduate schools) can also serve to help you navigate the application process.

It's for you! Join it!

Wait! But your campus doesn't have a pre-pharmacy club. Perfect! Start one. What a way to demonstrate your initiative and leadership! And it should be fairly easy to get it off the ground.
  • Visit your campus Student Activities or Associated Students office (ask if a pre-pharmacy club ever existed on your campus -- if so, they will likely have a file with helpful information to get you started)
  • Inquire about starting a new organization on campus (you'll likely have to complete paperwork, submit names of officers, and develop a constitution/bylaws)
  • Ask the Student Activities advisor for a sample constitution (or better yet, ask to see the constitution of a similar organization -- like pre-med or pre-dentistry)
  • Work with the activities office to reserve a room for your first/informational meeting; post announcements/posters in key areas that likely will draw prospective members (i.e. science department building) to the meeting; develop an agenda
  • Recruit your favorite professor to serve as the club's advisor
Well, maybe it's not THAT easy -- but it's certainly do-able! Think about the experience you would get, the challenges that you would face, the connections you would make (hmmm... letters of recommendation!), and the legacy that you would leave. Besides, all the opportunities that a pre-pharmacy club can provide are experiences that could potentially make you a stronger applicant.

Build it! They will come!


Unknown said...

I really enjoyed reading your history, thanks!

ai deus said...

Hi Joel,

Though you wrote this post years ago, I would like to comment on it.
A pre-pharmacy club could offer all of the opportunities you have mention, but these opportunities are certainly not restricted to people in a club. Furthermore, I would argue that an undergraduate education is a time to explore many different options. If a student wants to become a pharmacist maybe it is more relevant to join clubs that look at health care differently. Why is it important to become so committed to pharmacy even before leaving your undergrad institution? Is meeting other students who are applying to pharmacy school more important than meeting students who are interested in other realms of public health?
I would like to think that pharmacy schools would look at the breadth of my experiences and how they have shaped my ideas of health care. Once in pharmacy school, such ideas can be molded to fit the pharmacist's role. But why, during a time at which it is so important to explore different ideas, should I be limited or attracted to people that think and will chose the same career plans as me?
I look forward to you posts.

Joel W. Gonzales said...

It was just a suggestion, geeze. Nothing more, nothing less. People get experiences in different ways.

Unknown said...

Im wanting to start a pharmacy club at our community college, this is just what i was thinking of! thanks!! great post!!

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