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Friday, January 30, 2009

Early-early-early-early-Super-early-early bird.

A quick reminder to those interviewing...

As per our interview instructions:
"Because our interview process includes several components (interview, on-site essay, prerequisite review, campus tour, etc.) you should expect to be on the UCSF campus approximately five hours beyond your scheduled time. Please plan your travel accordingly."

What this means:
Check in at your assigned time and expect to remain on campus for approximately 5 hours after that.

What this does not mean:
Check in 5 hours early! =) [Yep, I really can't make this stuff up -- even if I tried.]

Remember: Read your instructions (see previous post), pay attention to details (see previous post), and most of all -- get a good night's rest (see previous post!)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Successful Interview Day: Expectation Meets Preparation

With UCSF Admission Interviews around the corner, I know (well, I hope) many of you are preparing for this phase of the process. [Or will you show up having given no thought or dedicated no preparation time to it? Hmmmm..... scary. I think back on past interview days and remember some applicants that were so unprepared for the day, I wonder if they ever were admitted to any pharmacy program. ]

To help you get started, I've created a list of what you can expect (Expectation) along with what YOU can do to prepare (Preparation)!

Here goes....

Expectation: We've assigned you a specific check-in time.
Preparation: You shouldn't plan on checking in earlier than the time indicated on your invitation letter. We have built in some extra time for you to relax a bit before the Welcome Session. Don't be the person who tries to check in two hours early, only to have to sit there for two hours waiting.... Use extra time to visit the campus, walk through the library, get a snack, etc.

Expectation: It will be a long day.
Preparation: Get a good night's sleep. You will have 364 other days of the year to stay up late. Make sure you are well rested.

Expectation: Your interview "day" should last about 7 hours (welcome session, essay, interview, chat room, financial aid session, tour).
Preparation: Make travel arrangements to accommodate the time frame you've been provided. Expect to be on campus for the entire period of time. Rushing in for your interview and rushing out says a lot about your desire to be a part of our community.

Expectation: Some applicants will be completely and totally nervous. Some will be so frazzled, they won't even be able to see straight.
Preparation: Get in your own zone -- so that that nerves and lack-of-preparation by others doesn't negatively impact your experience.

Expectation: San Francisco is a crazy place and the traffic is sometimes messy.
Preparation: Visit the campus the day before your interview and map out a plan to ensure you have plenty of time to get to campus on the day of your interview.

Expectation: This is a professional interview.
Preparation: Dress for success. You won't get a second chance to make a good first impression.

Expectation: Nothing has changed in the instructions you were provided in your interview invitation.
Preparation: Review those instructions again. In fact, print out and bring with you! (Just in case you need to refer to it.)

Expectation: There may be a last-minute change that will impact you.
Preparation: Be flexible -- it's an important characteristic in a pharmacist!

Expectation: We have assigned you a specific check-in time.
Preparation: Plan to check in at the designated time. If you are early, visit the library, or head to the food court and grab some coffee. Checking in earlier doesn't speed-up-your interview.

Expectation: You will be required to show proof-of-identity at check-in.
Preparation: Bring official photo ID with you (driver's license or passport!). Or will you be the person that forgets to bring it this year?

Expectation: The Admissions Staff will be on-site all day.
Preparation: Introduce yourself! We'd like to put a face to a name.

Expectation: You will be required to complete an on-site essay.
Preparation: Bring several writing tools (pens) that you are comfortable with.

Expectation: You might be asked questions about your experiences and background.
Preparation: Spend quality time thinking about potential questions and possible responses. Don't be rehearsed, be prepared.

Expectation: Although it's technically an "interview" -- we'd really like to consider it a "conversation" and an "experience."
Preparation: Be prepared to engage in a conversation and learn from the experience. That means asking questions, too!

Expectation: We will provide a light lunch.
Preparation: If you require a specific food item, it might be best to bring it with you. We will have a variety of snacks in the chat room in addition to a light lunch.

Expectation: You will be in various rooms throughout the day.
Preparation: Bring a small bottle of water to keep you hydrated as you move through the day, although we will have water available.

Expectation: You will have the opportunity to meet with current student pharmacists.
Preparation: Be prepared to ask them questions and get to know them. This is just as much a chance for you to get to know us as it is for us to get to know you!

Expectation: You may want to jot down some notes or important information throughout the day.
Preparation: We will provide you with a folder and some materials. You will be able to take this home with you. You do not need to bring a folder or portfolio with you.

That's all I can think of now. If something else comes to mind, I'll add to the list.

Friday, January 16, 2009

My new favorite saying...

"The best way to become a competitive applicant is to follow directions."

Can also be re-phrased to:

"To become a competitive applicant, you must first follow directions."


"Following directions is your first step to being a competitive applicant."


"Being a competitive applicant requires that you follow directions."


"Competitive applicants will have followed directions."

Key phrases:
  • competitive applicant
  • follow directions
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