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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Photo of the Day!

I know it's not a GLAMOROUS photo, but it is proof that we are able to get some letters in the mail this morning! (Yes, I made the sign.) 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Making a list, checking it twice... I mean three times.

Eeeps! We need to take our own advice and calm down a bit. Seems a bit frantic around here as we near the end of December and prepare for our own winter break.

So what's up? 

Here's what's up (in the form of a Q&A-style conversation)....

What's it like on campus this week?
SUPER quiet. It becomes even more desolate as the days pass. Seems like lots of people decided to take this week off. Wednesday and Thursday will be like a ghost town around here. Students ended finals last week so that adds to the calmness.

Are you done reviewing files?
(I thought you'd never ask this question.) Almost. I would say we have 95% of all files reviewed. Time was our enemy this year and we just weren't able to complete them all before the end of December. But that's okay! We always expect to review a small percentage of files when we return in January. Because our review process is so thorough, we don't like to rush ourselves to the point of potentially missing something in a file.

Have you sent out notification letters?
Not yet. We are feverishly working on it RIGHT NOW. I took a quick break so I could post this message! (....and eat a cookie!)

Well, what's taking so long?
There are lots of details that go into the notification-letter-sending process. We've got to assign interview times, make sure the information is correct in our database system, make sure we are sending the correct letters to the correct applicants (we like to triple-check our work), replace ink toner in the printer (ha!), and actually stuff letters into envelopes (any volunteers?).  In addition, our little printers can only print so many letters at a time.

Well, can't you send out the denial letters then?
Same thing -- we are working on that, too. Hopefully, you won't be receiving one of these so let's not spend too much time on this question.

When will I be notified?
As soon as we can get the letters processed, stuffed, sent.

Do you need a ride to the post office?
Ha! No. We have a campus mail system. The University is a LARGE community. The mail gets picked up once a day and is then delivered to the mail center for processing. It could take a few days for a piece of mail to even leave campus -- if the timing isn't in sync.

What if I don't receive a letter soon?
It could possibly mean your file hasn't been reviewed yet. (It doesn't matter when you submitted your application, by the way. Our review system doesn't take into account the date an application was submitted. In fact, some of the un-reviewed files may, in fact, have been submitted as early as August.)  It could also be the US Postal System being a bit delayed in delivery -- especially around the holidays. It may even be the case that PharmCAS hasn't even sent us your application yet (have you checked lately?)

Are ALL the letters sent out at once?
Nope! I think that's called "magic" and we aren't magicians. 

Oh, so there is a strategy for sending out letters then, right?
Unfortunately there isn't (other than what's already been mentioned.) I know this comes as a terrible shock to those who believe we have some type of sophisticated strategy for sending out notification letters.
If my file isn't yet reviewed, does that mean I will not get an interview?
ABSOLUTELY NOT!  Some of the letters that will be sent soon will include interview invitations as well as denials. Of the remaining un-reviewed files, some will be invited to interview, others will not.

Are the interview invitation letters in BIG envelopes?
Nope. All letters, regardless of decision, are sent in the same-sized envelope. Sorry to disappoint the conspiracy theorists! 

Are the letters sent alphabetically? I should get mine first, right? (My name is Aaron Allen Anderson).
Nope. Unfortunately, Aaron, we aren't that sophisticated to be able to send letters out alphabetically. There's no method to how we send out letters (except what's already been mentioned above.) Sorry to disappoint the conspiracy theorists!

I turned my application in SUPER EARLY because I wanted to be one of the first to be notified. I should be receiving my letter in the first batch of mailings, right?
Nope. There is no preference for submitting applications early. It does not result in an earlier review or an notification than those who submitted their application on the deadline date. Sorry to disappoint the conspiracy theorists!

If I get invited to interview and I decline, that opens a space for another person, right?
Nope. At no point is one applicant's interview based on whether another applicant accepts or declines theirs. Sorry to disappoint the conspiracy theorists!

I can't stand this waiting period. Can I just call you and find out my admissions status?
Nope. We are too busy to field calls of this nature, besides patience is a great characteristic for a future pharmacist.  If you have not received a notification letter by January 14th, please contact us.

Hope that helps.... did I leave anything out?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Everyone loves a parade!

I'd rather be downtown, celebrating the Giants' World Series win. HUGE parade! Instead, I'm doing the following:
  1. Processing applications
  2. Contacting applicants who failed to sign their applications
  3. Fielding calls from applicants who didn't meet the deadline (most of them are crying on the phone)
  4. Explaining why we won't accept late applications
Regardless, it's a good day to be a San Franciscan!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Feeling frazzled? Don't fret -- help is on the way!

Are you frantically working on the UCSF Supplemental Application and feeling frazzled?

Don't fret! Help is on the way -- in the form of an application presentation! Dates, times, and locations have been announced for the UCSF Supplemental Application Presentations! Yes!

These 2-hour presentations are designed to walk participants through the UCSF Supplemental Application.  Additionally, a Q&A session will follow the formal presentation. 

These San Francisco-based presentations are held on the Parnassus campus and are scheduled for the following days:
  • Friday, August 27 
  • Friday, September 10 
  • Thursday, September 16 
  • Friday, September 24 
  • Friday, October 1 
Visit our website for specific room locations and presentation times!

Frequently Asked Questions:

Will you help me complete my application?

Are these presentations required?

If I bring a rough draft of my application will you look at it and provide some feedback?

If I bring a copy of my transcripts, will you look at them and let me know if I'm a competitive applicant?

Will you spend time discussing the PharmCAS application?

Do I have to pre-register to attend this presentation?

Is there a cost to attend this event?

Are there "inside secrets" given out at this presentation?

Will I still feel frazzled after attending the presentation?
Hopefully, not. (But there are no guarantees.)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Will this blog post fulfill your requirement?

We receive a LOT of questions from prospective students, wondering if we have a list of approved courses for a particular college.We realize there is a lot of anxiety as to whether particular courses fulfill our academic requirements.

To make it easy, let's break colleges/universities into 3 groups:
  1. California public colleges/universities (community college, California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC): Approved courses can be found on the ASSIST website
  2. California private colleges/universities: We have course lists for approximately 50 private schools in California. Visit our California private colleges/universities page to see if your school is included!
  3. Out-of-State colleges/universities: We have course lists for approximately 400 out-of-state colleges. Visit our Out-of-state colleges/universities page to see if your school is included! 
As you can imagine, with the volume of applications we receive, we are no longer able to update or create new Approved Course Lists for applicants entering the initial stage of our admissions process. Instead, we ask that prospective students use their best professional judgment to determine whether completed/in-progress/planned coursework meets our academic prerequisite requirements. In order to assist you, we have provided detailed information on our website to help you determine what courses are acceptable in meeting our requirements.

Please visit our web page for more information on Academic Prerequisites.

Also on our website is information related to Advanced Placement (AP) scores.

Please keep in mind that our academic prerequisites are fairly easy to determine. For the most part, we align our requirements with a pre-med/health track. It’s not our intent to require obscure or unique courses to fulfill our requirements.

When submitting your application, you should make your best professional judgment in completing UCSF’s Supplemental Application  (which asks you to list courses that fulfill our requirements.) We will conduct a complete academic review of those individuals who are admitted into the program. At that time we will determine whether specific courses satisfy our requirements.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"...believe in yourself and allow yourself to succeed..."

 Pong wins National Patient Counseling Competition
Original published Friday, April 2, 2010

Krystal Pong, third-year UCSF School of Pharmacy student pharmacist, has won the 2010 American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) National Patient Counseling Competition, which was held March 15, 2010, at the annual APhA meeting in Washington, DC. She won the California Patient Counseling Competition (February 2010), which qualified her to compete nationally. The national event was first held in 1984 with the goal of encouraging student pharmacists to become better patient educators. It is sponsored by CVS/Caremark in conjunction with the United States Public Health Service.


UCSF Student Pharmacist Krystal Pong discusses her recent patient counseling competition with Susan Levings, UCSF School of Pharmacy Associate Dean of Planning and Communications.

Krystal, congratulations on winning the 2010 National Patient Counseling Competition! How does it feel?

I am ecstatic. I am so happy I was able to represent UCSF at the national level and hope this gets more students excited to participate next year because this was such an enriching experience for me.

You won the California competition in February. What happened when you got to the nationals in Washington, DC?

There were just over 100 other students representing their schools of pharmacy participating in the national competition. The first round was two days, and they announced the top 10 who were to compete again in a final round. We were given the patient's profile, the new prescription, and the chance to prepare for counseling with the patient on Septra for the first round, and Tricor for the second round. The patient was an actor who was careful to be consistent for all of the consultations.
For the final round on Sunday, March 15 we were each given five minutes to prepare our consultation with access to references and five minutes to talk to the patient. During the preparation time, I outlined what I was going to say to the patient. Since we are given a list of the 10 possible drugs, I researched all of the drugs ahead of time so I could use the prep time to organize my thoughts and mentally prepare.

Did you also prepare before heading to Washington?

Before I left for Washington DC, I emailed everyone I knew who competed in the PCC (Patient Counseling Competition). Eric Ip, UCSF alum, won the national competition a few years ago and was kind enough to give me some advice, as well as Joy Meier, who mentored me over the summer and also won the national competition. And Troy Drysdale, Class of 2009, reviewed my consultations with me in detail and helped me find ways to improve my communication skills and gain confidence for the competition. I also practiced counseling on every drug--multiple times. And finally, I read and reread the words of encouragement I got from my friends, classmates, family, and faculty before I competed to give me inspiration.

Describe the patient case you were given.

The patient was a sweet older woman who was prescribed Tricor and currently taking Lipitor. Tricor is a fibrate and Lipitor is a statin, both lipid-lowering agents. She was confused about her cholesterol levels and why she had to be on an additional lipid-lowering drug. When I told her this medication was to help control her cholesterol she said, "But I thought my doctor said I have good cholesterol." So we took a few moments to discuss the difference between good and bad cholesterol. I also was sure to carefully go over the side effects with her because taking Tricor and Lipitor puts her at a higher risk of muscle pain and weakness.
counseling with Pong
Counseling session during National Patient Counseling Competition
Unlike at the state competition, where we presented before a panel of judges, at nationals, I presented to the patient in a video room that simulated a pharmacy. There were bright lights and a video camera rolling and the judges review the tapes afterwards. In some ways, the scenario felt very real because I got the patient profile, the prescription, and a realistic patient. I was very nervous before we started, but when the patient and I began talking it felt more like a real consultation than a competition.

During this whole process from the state to the national competition what was the one thing that stands out most vividly?

Actually, two things stand out to me: One, I learned how supportive the UCSF community is--faculty, staff, my classmates, and friends--they were all tremendously kind and supportive. And two, I learned how important it is to not be your "own worst enemy" by having a self-defeating attitude, but to instead believe in yourself and allow yourself to succeed. I will carry this lesson with me throughout the rest of my life.

Image credits: © 2010 Sam Shimomura

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Winning ways...

Originally published Tuesday, May 4, 2010

UCSF student pharmacists win National Student Pharmacy and Therapeutics Competition 

It is April 9, 2010, and UCSF student pharmacists (pictured above left-to-right) Meghan Frear, Wen Chiu, Maher Abdel-Sattar, and Doug Beeman are among a room full of pharmacy students from across the US at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy's (AMCP) Annual Meeting in San Diego, California. They have just learned they won AMCP's national 2010 Pharmacy and Therapeutics Competition.

They later discussed their success and the process leading up to it in this interview with Susan Levings, UCSF School of Pharmacy Associate Dean of Planning and Communications.


What is the P&T competition all about?

The pharmacy and therapeutics competition is sponsored by the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy.The purpose of the competition is to give pharmacy students a chance to experience the P&T formulary decision process and practice evidence-based decision making.

The competition begins locally. For us, the process started here at UCSF. All pharmacy students are invited to participate regardless of their year in school. Each participant picks a partner with whom to collaborate, and each couple is randomly matched with another couple to form a team of 4.

Each team reviews a medication dossier it's been given and researches the specifics of the disease state in question, writes a drug monograph, answers a series of essay questions relating to the disease state and value of the drug or drugs, and prepares a 30-minute oral presentation of the case.

The case is different every year and usually presents a challenging scenario in which students need to decide whether to include one or more drugs on the formulary of a specific insurance coverage plan. Such a decision depends on multiple considerations including the credibility of the safety and efficacy data for each drug, the soundness of the economic and budget-impact studies done by the manufacturer, the disease treatment alternatives and guidelines, the criteria for treatment, the demographics of the population covered in the insurance plan, and other factors.

In the local UCSF competition, UCSF staff judges identify the UCSF team with the best written and oral presentations to be submitted to the AMCP P&T national competition committee.

The top 8 teams nationally are given a stipend and invited to attend the AMCP annual meeting and showcase where they compete for the championship title. The winning team earns a scholarship of $2,500 for its school in addition to considerable recognition for its achievement.

What was the process of getting to the top?

Getting to the top of the competition is a 6-month process.The case we were working on was distributed in November, and throughout the winter break and in early January we prepared for the local competition.Again, the written materials from the team winning the local competition are then submitted to the national competition.

This year 21 teams submitted to nationals.Finally in March, the top 8 teams were revealed and invited to present at the national conference. Presentations took place over a two-day period, and the top 3 teams were announced later on the second day.

The process itself might seem simple--two rounds of competition with a lot of time in between--but the amount of preparation and practice that goes on before a team starts to compete and after a team moves on to the national level is intense.

The team and friends celebrate their accomplishment

What was the exact case you addressed?

The case is the same at every level of competition.This year it was a therapeutic class review of TPO Receptor Agonists and their use in the bleeding disorder trombocytopenic purpura.The specific drugs were eltrombopag (Promacta®) and romiplostim (NPlate®).

This case was challenging on multiple levels.There are only two drugs in this class, and they were both FDA approved in the last two years, making it difficult because of the lack of long-term safety and efficacy data and treatment experiences in real patients.

Then there was the challenge of the disease state itself. Idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura has an extremely low prevalence and the etiology and the exact pathophysiology is not completely understood.Additionally, standard treatment involves a range of therapies that are all used off label without clinical trials to back up their use.

This case was particularly relevant to one of us on the team whose parent suffers from the disease.This made it both more interesting and more difficult to do the research and make a decision about putting the drugs on the formulary or not.Our teammate shared his experience of living in a family impacted by the disease for more than 13 years, trying multiple therapies and even surgery--both of which were unsuccessful.

You would think that our first response would be to immediately put the drugs on the formulary. But after learning of the side effects, the costs, and the safety profile we opted to immediately add only one of the drugs to the formulary--with the intention of reviewing that decision in one year's time pending more data for both drugs.

In the end, the personal experience of our teammate strengthened our overall perspective and ability to relate to patients, while maintaining our objectivity about the data we used to make our decision.

What did you do to prepare before you left for San Diego and while you are there?

Because we were the local team headed for the nationals, we were able to present our case one more time in front of UCSF alumni and Dean Mary Anne Koda-Kimble. This served as a wonderful opportunity for us to get in even more practice answering very challenging questions.

Before flying to San Diego, we rehearsed the presentation one last time, and we met again at the hotel the night before the competition. Since the UCSF team was one of the first to present its case this year, we didn't prepare much in San Diego, but we felt very confident and we were as ready as we could be.

On the morning of the competition, there's a hosted breakfast to allow the different P&T teams to meet each other and mingle. Finally, each team is given 15 minutes to set up prior to presenting its case to 3 judges and an audience of students and professional conference attendees.

What's the value of this kind of competition?

Prior to the competition, most of us knew nothing about P&T other than it meant "pharmacy and therapeutics." Competitions like this provide good learning experiences for students.The P&T competition exposed us to a whole different aspect of pharmacy and challenged us to practice our critical thinking skills. Pharmacy is not only about having the knowledge of drugs, but about understanding how drugs affect patients' lives. In the competition, we had to evaluate the clinical effectiveness of a new class of drugs for the treatment of a rare disease. On top of analyzing the clinical data, we also had to consider the potential financial impact of new drug therapies on a patient and the health system. These are things we don't necessarily learn in traditional classroom teaching.

Through the P&T competition, we were able to apply evidence-based decision making and get a taste of pharmacoeconomics and how it factors into the final decision making.

The presentation aspect of the competition only further emphasized the importance of effective communication skills for pharmacists. After all, pharmacists serve as important links between drug information and the other health care providers and patients. The P&T competition not only provides a learning experience about the P&T formulary process, it also is a great way to get exposure to the essence of managed care and meet pharmacists who are involved in that field.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Learn the art....

"Learn the art of patience. Apply discipline to your thoughts when they become anxious over the outcome of a goal. Impatience breeds anxiety, fear, discouragement and failure. Patience creates confidence, decisiveness, and a rational outlook, which eventually leads to success."
-Brian Adams

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Crossing The Finish Line!

Wow! What a long (and great) day! 

Our final admissions committee meeting just ended -- a perfect way to wrap up a short week. We're all out of here to enjoy the long three-day weekend!

(Now to focus on March Madness!) 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Guest Blogger Hypes Pharmacy Information Day!

Whaaat! Our first guest blogger! We hope you will consider joining us for Pharmacy Information Day! Read on....

Hello out there, blog readers! I’m Shirin, the Outreach and Recruitment Coordinator for the UCSF School of Pharmacy. I work with Joel and the rest of OSACA to reach out to prospective students and help them discover our PharmD program. You and I may have crossed paths at a School of Pharmacy outreach event, at a professional school fair, over email, or in one of the Medical Sciences campus elevators. But I’ve been itching to ring the doorbell here at Joel’s Admissions Blog and join the party. So knock, knock! Let me in!

I’m actually here to tell you about a GREAT upcoming opportunity. Here in OSACA we hit the road every now and then to connect with students a little farther out from San Francisco. Ever heard of Pharmacy Information Day? In March, we’re heading down to the UCSF center in Fresno, CA, and in April, we’ll pop up in Long Beach, CA, for a day-long bonanza of pharmacy career events. We even round out the tour with a final show here at home in San Francisco. So why is this important?

Pharmacy Information Day is an EXCELLENT step for the savvy pre-pharmacy student looking to do all of the following:
  • Hear about UCSF from UCSF 
  • Find out more about careers in pharmacy and where they might lead
  • Listen to practicing pharmacists from different backgrounds explain why and how they chose pharmacy for a career
  • Listen to current UCSF pharmacy students share about their experience and goals
  • Get a solid overview of the School of Pharmacy’s curriculum and learn why it’s unique
  • Understand how to prepare a strong, competitive application
  • Ask some knowledgeable people all the pharmacy school-related questions they want
  • Hear directly from UCSF faculty members
  • Determine whether or not the UCSF School of Pharmacy is the right program for them

Now, if this program sounds amazing—it’s because it is! We’re proud to offer an intimate view of life at UCSF and life as a pharmacist to prospective students. True story: Joel and I often talk about what it would be like if WE were applying to pharmacy school. We ask each other things like, “Would you mention your little-known involvement in community theater under extracurriculars?” or “How would you answer B3 on the supplemental app?” Sometimes we get crazy and wonder what we’d wear to a pharmacy school interview. But no matter the debate, we always agree on one thing: we would both take advantage of every opportunity to hear from the school we were interested in. Think of all the things we use to “research” these days: Google searches, Yelp reviews, online message boards. Don’t you want to do yourself a favor and just go straight to the source? Don’t you want to get a good sense of what UCSF is all about and whether it’s the right place to advance your career? Here’s your chance - come on down and meet us!

This magical website has all the information you need: pharmacy.ucsf.edu/go/pharmd/programs. Or, you’re welcome to write me with any questions.

See you at the registration table!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Happy Rumor-Free New Year!

Happy New Year! I can’t believe it’s 2010. It just seemed like a few days ago it was 2009…. oh, wait… haha!

It was a good winter break. We had a crazy few months of reviewing files in preparation for notification letters going out before the holidays. Hopefully, we’ve had a chance to catch our breath in preparation for the frenzy of the new year. The “down time” has enabled me to catch up on some internet reading that I just don’t have time to do when reading files takes priority. When I do have some free time, I like to pop into a few online forums and I’m always shocked and humored at what I read. I often wonder how I would digest this information if I were a pre-pharmacy student or an applicant. While I can’t respond to every post (and certainly can’t do this on a regular basis), I thought it would be helpful to clarify a few items for the benefit of prospective students and future applicants.

It’s a totally mixed bag of stuff. Things. (How do you like that for categorizing?)

For some items, I’ve rephrased them into a question/statement so that I could provide a direct answer. For other items, I’ve included a quote and responded. I’ve reworded, too, just to make it easier to read.

“It seems like UCSF accepts a disproportionate number of women to the pharmacy program than men. Is this because pharmacy is more of a female type of a job or because fewer men want to do pharmacy or because men aren't wanted? Can someone give me an explanation? I'm bummed out because I'm a guy and UCSF is my dream pharmacy school.”
There’s no preference. We receive more applications from females than men, so naturally more females would be admitted than males. It’s the same for almost every other demographic category. By percentage, our admitted student body reflects the applicant pool we select from.

“The statistics are so because that year they had more applicants that they liked who happened to be women.”
Not true. We had more female applicants that year overall.

“If UCSF is your dream pharmacy school, good luck. You'll need to have some major things to get in. One being a state resident, second having a bachelors degree, etc.”
Not true. The majority of our applicants are from California. The vast majority of our applicants will have a bachelor’s degree prior to starting a PharmD program. It’s not fair to imply we have a preference when we are simply selecting from those who apply.

“Remember that programs in California, like UCSF and USC, require bachelor degrees in order to apply. Except USC is the only one that explicitly states this on their website.”
I can’t speak for USC, but it explicitly states on our website that a bachelor’s degree is not required.

“I went on UCSF's website and looked up the percentage of admitted students without a bachelor’s degree. GEEZ I didn't know it was that low accepting of non-degree people.”
Interesting observation. People make it sound like we receive HUNDREDS of applications from non-degree individuals and only admit one or two. In reality, we receive VERY FEW applications from students without a degree. So naturally, our admitted students will reflect this. Again, we select from those that apply.

“Are onsite essays important?”

“Could some of you post your stats?”
This always fascinates me. Really, it does. I guess people think we narrow an applicant down to a set of stats (GPA, pre-pharm GPA, length of time working in a pharmacy, number of extracurricular activities, etc.) Gosh! I wish it were THAT easy. Then we could just plug the info into a database, print a report, and admit students based on the report! I hope the complexity/length/depth of our supplemental application supports the argument that we look for well-rounded applicants who make the best fit for our program. A stellar set of stats means nothing if an applicant can’t articulate their ideas, display strong communications skills or distinguish themselves as a good fit for UCSF.

“This might be a dumb question, but has anyone gotten into UCSF with a C- in a prerequisite course without retaking it?”

“They HAD to send them (notification letters) out around Christmas.”
I hate the timing of our notification. But we want to let applicants know as soon as possible so we tried to get most of them out before our own winter break.

“From what I remember the last 2 years, if you dodged this round of rejections, you can start booking a roundtrip flight to SF.”
Not true. We sent out invite and denial letters in December. We sent out invite and denial letters in January. There is no meaning to when they were sent out. We simply ran out of time in December.

“Yeah, it appears that the letters are sent out in batches.”
Not true. Well, actually letters do get sent out in batches. But only because we have a small staff and we can only fold letters and stuff envelopes so fast. The mail picks up twice a day. But there is no method to the batches, if that is the implication. (Sorry to disappoint the conspiracy theorists!)

“I haven't heard anything from UCSF yet, but I have an interview invite from UCSD. I'm wondering if it's a good or a bad sign. Since from reading previous years' threads, it seems like some people get in either at UCSF or UCSD. Still hoping.”
We do not collaborate with UCSD in regards to the admissions/interview selection process. Some applicants may be invited by both to interview; some may not be invited to either; and some may be invited to one and not the other. We may admit someone who didn’t even get interview at UCSD, and vice-versa. We are different schools with different programs.

“I haven't heard from UCSD, but got an invite to UCSF. I read that a few people got invites to both schools last year, but it seems most got rejected by one but an invite from another. Who knows. All speculation.”
Yes, all speculation. We simply don’t compare notes with UCSD during the admissions selection process.

“I saw many dates. Any conflict with UCSD interview dates?”
If there are conflicts, lets work it out! Such a simple solution. =)

“As for people with the interviews, I would start reading the interview feedback section and re-read it a few times. I'd also read the last year and the one before that (threads.) You want to have a general idea of the process, so that there aren't any surprises - remember, fortune favors the prepared mind.”
Eeeks! Be careful. There’s a fine line between being prepared and being rehearsed. Everyone has a different experience and being so overly prepared may mask the authenticity that we look for during the interview. Just saying…

“Actually, they don't release interview dates to anyone but the interviewees (as in, they won't tell you if you call them, nor will they post it on the website). Interview dates get released to current students later, so that we may come out and meet the interviewees. Good luck!”
Not true. (Well, except the fact that we don’t put the interview dates on the web.) We aren’t trying to be sneaky, but why post the dates on the web? Everyone involved in the process (interviewees, interviewers, chat room participants, etc.) are informed of the dates. I think that’s enough, no? If someone were to call, we’d let them know the dates. But interviewees don’t get to choose dates so I’m not sure how that information could help them.

“For those who received interview invites, have you done research? It seems like this is a research based school and will only accept you if you did research or have some highly unique characteristic. I did not do research and was not invited to interview.”
First, your statement is what is considered a fallacy. Second, some applicants do bring research experience to the table. Some do not. Some with a research background make good fits for UCSF. Others do not. Sometimes having research experience can make an applicant more interesting and competitive. Other times it may not even matter. Some people are interested in research. Some people aren’t. Some people LOVE research so it’s natural that they conduct research prior to being pharmacy school applicants. Other applicants LOVE sports so they join intramural sports teams. Both could potentially be admitted to UCSF.

“I'm declining my interview, so good luck to whomever gets it!”
A declined interview spot does not make space for someone else.

“Are you out-of-state resident for UCSF? Do you know if they favor CA residents over out of state residents? You must have good stats since I think it is really difficult for out of states to get interviews/acceptance from UCSF. Anyone out there know how many out of state UCSF accepts each year?”
The number of out-of-state students we accept varies from year-to-year. Every year is a new year with a fresh and unique applicant pool. The majority of our applicants are from California. So it’s natural that the majority of our admitted students are Californians. Also, out-of-state tuition is not cheap. So many pre-pharmacy students opt to study in their home state. (This is not a UCSF thing, though. Look at ANY college – undergraduate or graduate.)

“I talked to someone at the office, and they told me they do not favor in-state students over out-of-state students. When they review the applications, they actually do not see the location of the applicant. The reason for the skew towards CA applicants is because there are that many CA people who want to stay in their sunny CA - or so the office told me.”
Partially true. We get a lot of applicants from California, so we admit a lot of applicants from California. We do see where applicants are from (otherwise it would make it difficult to see a lot of things – like academic background, any school/state references in their essays or reference letters, etc.) but it doesn’t dictate whether and applicant is interviewed or admitted. An outstanding applicant is an outstanding applicant – regardless if they are from California or Tennessee!

“For those who got interview letters (is it via snail mail or email, btw?)”
Always by snail mail. We fear those scenarios where thousands of e-mails go out to the wrong people.

“There are some people who will decline their interview dates so be patient as interview spots will open up! Good luck to you.”
Not true. As I said above, a declined interview doesn’t open a spot for another. Applicants are either invited to interview or not. One’s interview invitation is not dependent on whether another declines or accepts.

“Is there an opportunity for the prospective students to meet other prospective students before/during/after the interview day?”
Yes! We have a full-schedule of activities as part of the interview day – including meeting with other prospective students as well as current students. We get criticized for having a long day (there will be moaners, complainers and whiners) but we think it’s important for prospective students to really get a sense of our students (both future and current) and to thoroughly explore our program. Could someone technically just come and go for the required elements of the interview day? Yes. But that is not the type of student that makes a good fit for UCSF.

I hope that helps clarify and shed light on some of those postings.

I feel like MythBusters!
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