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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Q & A Time!

It's a very quiet Saturday morning. I was super excited to go to bed last night, knowing I didn't have to interact with the alarm clock this morning. I dreamt I was at a summer barbecue, hosted by Ina Garten. So it appears this 3-day weekend is off to a great start!

I haven't had a chance to respond to many of the questions that are sent through the little box on the sidebar of this blog (look! over there --->) so I thought I'd respond to a few in one long post. As you can imagine, a lot of "stuff" comes through that feature. Many questions are so basic ("What's the minimum GPA requirement?") that I simply don't respond as the information is easily accessible on our website. Other questions ("Have you received my application?" asked Anonymous) are so specific to one applicant and not appropriate for a blog post -- they end up getting deleted. So here goes...

"Once you are chosen for an interview, do you get accepted solely on how well you do on the interview or does the admission team go back and review your entire application before making a decision?"
Final decisions are not based solely on the interview. Although the interview is an important component, all other factors are looked at (entire application packet, reference letters, on-site essay, etc.) following the interview portion of the process.  The entire application packet, along with the interview results and on-site essay, are used in making final decisions.

"Evening Joel! I am one of the lucky ones to get an interview at UCSF. I am on track to publish a few papers and abstracts soon. Is there a way to update the admissions committee of my progress or would these not be under consideration at this point?"
We will not accept or consider additional information or materials once an application is submitted.

"Would a Bachelor of Science obtained from the Allied School of Health Sciences taught through Kaiser Permanente be viewed as a valid bachelors degree by UCSF? And can that be used as an admission requirement?"
First, a bachelor's degree is not an admission requirement. Second, according to the Kaiser website: "Kaiser Permanente School of Allied Health Sciences (KPSAHS) and its certificate/degree programs are not regionally accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education."  In order for us to recognize the degree, the issuing institution would need to be accredited by one of several regional accrediting agencies recognized by the USDE.

"I want to know how to write essay for my PharmD admission?"
Any readers have any suggestions? (Sometimes when I get questions like this, I'm not even sure where to start.)

"Hey Joel, I was just wondering if UCSF accepts retaking a course at a community college or is it purely our undergrad GPA they're interested in? Thanks and hope the application process is going well!"
That's an oddly-worded question as a community college course is considered "undergraduate" and would be calculated in an undergraduate grade point average. Yes, we will accept community college courses -- including repeated courses.

"Hello Mr. Joel After reading your Humanities & Social Sciences post, I realized that I have several classes that can satisfy my 28 units for that category. So should I email those classes to UCSF admissions committee ASAP or should I wait after Jan. 11?"
These should have been included on your UCSF Supplemental Application where you listed the specific courses that fulfill our prerequisite courses. Once a Supplemental Application has been received, we will not allow updates or edits.   ~Mr. Joel

Is this a trick question? Hmmm, my answer would be: "What is missing in this series: aa, bb, __, dd, ee, ff, etc."

"I recently retook Organic Chemistry at a community college since I had originally received a C+ in it. Would I include the grade from the community college course or include both? Thanks!"
The application instructions are very clear. You must list all prerequisite courses, including repeats, failed grades, withdrawn courses, etc.

"Hi! I had some social science classes that also qualify for speaking intensive. So can I use it for the public speaking or I have to take a class about public speaking only?"
We require a course in public speaking.

"Dear Joel, I am a first year PharmD student at another school and am going to apply to UCSF for Fall 2013. I have heard that some pharmacy schools, including UCSF, prefer not to considering applicants who are already accepted to other schools. Is it true?"
I cannot speak for other schools. If a student met UCSF's minimum requirements, we would review that application -- like all other applications -- to see if that individual was a potential "good fit" for UCSF, regardless of whether they were enrolled in another program. We received many applications this year from students enrolled in other pharmacy schools. Some were invited to interview, others were not. Obviously, we would expect an application to provide a detailed explanation as to why they would leave a particular program (otherwise, we are left to wonder what the circumstances are/were.) Ultimately, I don't think being enrolled in another program is as important as whether or not that applicant is a good fit for UCSF.

"Is it a bad idea if none of the recommendation letters come from a science professor? I have chosen three people that know me really well whereas all my science professors do not know me beyond my grades. What should I do?"
We do not require a letter from a science professor. Why would you consider getting a letter of recommendation from someone that does not know you well?

"Hey Joel, I just started following your blog. Do you not want me to comment on it?"
Hmmm.... Let's discuss this.

"Is it true that UCSF puts a large emphasis on research publications done in undergrad? In other words, do the statistics show that one's chance of getting into UCSF for pharmacy increases if one has research publications?"
Not true. That's a myth.

"Hi I am an undergraduate at Humboldt State University in Arcata CA. What class recommendation would you make to satisfy your human anatomy requirement?"
We do not require anatomy.  Our subject-area requirements are listed on our website. For specific courses at all public California colleges (including the CSU system, the UC system, and all community colleges) can be accessed via the assist.org website.

"Does a committee letter count as more than 1? Can I submit supplemental letters directly to the admissions committee?"
A committee letter would count as one letter. I rarely see committee letters anymore. All letters must be submitted to PharmCAS. We will not accept letters sent directly to our office.

Okay... off to start my day!


Leo said...

Thanks for the helpful information!

Anonymous said...

Hey Mr. Joel!

Will the interviews be composed of only MMI's? Or will there be a traditional interview as well?

Thanks for your time.

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