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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

In Their Own Words: Julia

(Note: It's so great having Julia on the admissions committee. Her current success is a testament to hard-work and determination. As she mentions below, she is a re-applicant to pharmacy school, after not being admitted the first time around. This experience, I believe, has really informed her work as a member of the committee. Julia's high-expectations, combined with her sincere desire to ensure applicants receive insightful reviews and evaluations, makes her work and contribution on the committee invaluable. Having Julia as a student in our program = WIN! Having Julia as a part of our admissions process = DOUBLE-WIN!)

Name: Julia
Year: Class of 2016
Hometown: Nairobi, Kenya
Previous institutions attended: Ohlone College, California State University Sacramento
Undergraduate Major: Biology

Why did you apply to be a member of the Admissions Committee and what have you enjoyed the most?
As a second time applicant, I was curious to find out what the admission committee looks for in a candidate. I wanted to learn what it takes to be a student here -- and use that knowledge to help others with a similar background to gain admission to a graduate program.

What surprised you most about UCSF’s admissions process?
It’s not just about the grades! The admissions committee really takes the time to evaluate a candidate as a whole. Therefore, if you choose to apply to UCSF, you can rest assured that the admissions committee will perform a thorough review of your application.

In your opinion, what are the most common mistakes applicants make?
If you are a second time applicant, please take time to write about new experiences and growth since your last application. Also, some candidates fail to articulate why they chose to pursue pharmacy as a profession. This is important information that I believe should be reflected in your essays. For those that do not have pharmacy experience, it is important to demonstrate what you have done to learn about pharmacy whether it’s through shadowing or informational interviews.

What stands out to you on an application?
I like to read a thoughtful, well-written, and genuine essay. Also, I like it when a candidate has taken the time to learn about our program and state in their application why UCSF is a good fit for them.

What are your pet peeve(s) when interviewing an applicant or reviewing a file? (What drives you crazy?)
When a candidate does not take the interview seriously. As I mentioned above, the admissions committee looks at an individual’s application as a whole and so the interview part does play a role in the final decisions. It also drives me crazy when a candidate fails to address the question/prompt asked on the on-site essay. I would rather read a short essay that is well written and precise, rather than one that just fills the space. Also, grammatical errors on the PharmCAS and/or UCSF Supplemental Application are just a no-no!

What characteristics are necessary in order to succeed in UCSF’s PharmD program?
An individual that is willing to work hard, is resilient, goal-oriented and motivated.

What tools or resources would you recommend to prospective applicants?
UCSF School of Pharmacy website -- to learn about our program and find out whether you would be a good fit here. It is important to have other people read/edit your essays but still make them your own. Speak to current students and attend informational sessions that our school offers. The informational sessions offer an opportunity to learn about UCSF and also to ask questions about the school.

What single piece of advice would you give to a prospective applicant?
For those that believe their grades are mediocre, do not let the fact that UCSF is the #1 school in the nation prevent you from applying. Dare to apply and give it your best shot.

Why do you think you were admitted into UCSF’s PharmD program?
Because I am resilient and hard-working.

What do you do for fun?
I love to travel! Since I started school I was blessed to have the opportunity to travel to Jamaica and Dominican Republic. I also like to go hiking, spend time with family and friends, and trying out new restaurants.

(To read all previous "In Their Own Words" profiles, click the "committee profiles" label link below!)

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