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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

In Their Own Words: Margrit

(Editor's note:  This is the second of a multi-part series I'm titling "In Their Own Words". I'll start by highlighting student committee members and then perhaps introduce you to faculty members as time and space allows. In addition to getting to know a little about them, this will also give you insight into the admissions process. Hopefully, this will also allow you to put real faces/names behind what is often characterized as a mysterious and secret process. Students play a huge role in our annual admissions cycle, serving as full-fledged members of our committee. Students serve a two-year term during their 3rd and 4th years of the program. Many of the same qualities that got them into pharmacy school -- leadership, commitment, maturity, etc. -- are what landed them a spot on the admissions committee. If I had to describe Margrit in one word it would be ENERGETIC -- and yes, in all caps! She's been a valuable member of the committee and has assumed her responsibilities with great passion and dedication.)

Name: Margrit
Year: Class of 2012
Hometown: Harlingen, TX
Previous institutions attended: Carnegie-Mellon University (Bachelor of Science), Pace University (Master of Education)
Undergraduate Major: chemical engineering and biomedical engineering

Why did you apply to be a member of the Admissions Committee and what have you enjoyed the most?
I have a deep interest in all facets of education.  I used to teach before pharmacy school.  When I came to UCSF, I wanted to continue my practice in education somehow, so I got involved with the “architects” of our curriculum -- the Educational Policy Committee.  Naturally, the admissions process is not only essential, but also unique in education.  It’s not everyday that you get to shape the character of an entire class!  My favorite part of the process is putting a face to applications on interview day. 

What surprised you most about UCSF’s admissions process?
I was pleasantly surprised of how holistic the entire process is.  We really want to get to know applicants.  It’s not all about numbers.

In your opinion, what are the most common mistakes applicants make?
I would say painting a picture of someone who they are not.  Nothing is more of a turn-off.  Many applicants assume they know what we want to hear, so they make up this perfect persona.  We can really see through that, especially on interview day. 

What stands out to you on an application?
I definitely look for unique life experiences.  In particular, I’m interested in those experiences that are meaningful and have influenced or shaped an applicant’s life. 

What is your pet peeve when interviewing an applicant or reviewing a file? (What drives you crazy?)
I don’t like robotic interviews.  Some applicants can be so “rehearsed” that, before I finish the question, they are already answering!  I like to see someone be genuine and thoughtful in interviews.  I want to see a personality (but keep it professional).

What characteristics are necessary in order to succeed in UCSF’s PharmD program?
Motivation to endure four years of school.  Dedication to do it well.  Determination to rise when you hit some walls.  Balance and fun, because it’s not all about books!  

What tools or resources would you recommend to prospective applicants?
Get a taste of pharmacy and talk to current pharmacists practicing in different settings.  Know the profession and where it’s going.  Everything else will fall into place, regardless of where you study pharmacy.

What single piece of advice would you give to a prospective applicant?
You know yourself best, so make sure you have genuine reasons to become a pharmacist.  Trust me, it sounds simple, but those reasons may be the hardest to defend during an interview.  We want to be sure this is what you want. 

Why do you think you were admitted into UCSF’s PharmD program?
I think the Admissions Committee saw in me the potential to make unique contributions to my class, the school, and the profession. I am what you consider a career changer (atypical student).  I came to UCSF after three years of teaching in Harlem and France.  During those years, I gained valuable life and professional experience, where leadership is a must.  Perhaps, interviewers could appreciate my maturity and motivation to become a pharmacist.  My background in engineering, research, and teaching gave me skills that I could transfer to the pharmacy practice.  Most importantly, nothing can replace the passion and excitement I have for the things I choose to do, like pharmacy.

What do you do for fun?
I love to travel abroad during long breaks.  I love to eat different ethnic foods.  I love learning foreign languages.  I really enjoy watching films and documentaries, especially foreign films or those that are not your typical blockbusters (although, I like summer action films too).  

To read previous "In Their Own Words" postings, visit:
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