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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pre-Application Advising

"Hi! I'm planning to apply this coming June and wanted to know if there was an advisor we can meet with to evaluate us and where they think we would stand in the applicant pool?"

I receive questions like this all the time...  Unfortunately, the answer is no. (Otherwise, every applicant would want to meet to get a sense of their competitiveness for our program -- BEFORE APPLYING.) Reviewing applications and evaluating applicants is what we do in the admissions process -- not something we do to prepare applicants to ENTER the admissions process.

Often, prospective students will email me their academic transcripts and/or resumes in hopes I can give them some feedback or insight into how they would fare in our process. I rarely ever open the attachments. It simply doesn't paint a COMPLETE picture of an applicant. 

It’s impossible to assess an applicant’s competitiveness for our program without seeing a completed application. UCSF’s Supplemental Application is lengthy and includes many essays, along with several opportunities to share any educational barriers one might have experienced. An application also includes a complete academic picture, including prerequisite requirements, which helps us determine whether an applicant is prepared for the rigors of our PharmD curriculum. Finally, letters of recommendation are an important part of the file – without those, it’s not fair to assess an applicant. Our review process takes into consideration many different aspects including: academic preparation, maturity, passion for (and understanding of) the pharmacy profession, communication skills, breadth and depth of work/extra-curricular activities, commitment to addressing the needs of under-served populations, and intellectual curiosity.

In fact, I often think it's an odd request to want someone to look at a piece of the puzzle (and make a judgment) without looking at ALL the pieces (as we do in the review process.)  Wouldn't applicants want to submit a COMPLETED application that represents THEIR BEST work and includes ALL PARTS of the application before ANYONE sees it?

What are your thoughts on this?
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