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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

2019 and Beyond: PCAT No Longer Required

(Note: The Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) was retired on January 10, 2024, NO PCAT testing dates will be offered during the 2024-25 admissions cycle or beyond.)

Over the past couple of years, I've posted a lot of information about the PCAT. It seems to be the topic that generates the most questions from prospective students and applicants.

Three years ago we launched a pilot program that required all UCSF applicants to complete the PCAT as part of their application.  We are ending that program. Beginning with the class applying in 2019 (for entry in summer 2020) the PCAT will not be a required part of the application process.

Yes, you read that correctly, the PCAT is not required -- rather it’s optional. "What's that mean?" you ask.

Well, the PCAT isn't for everyone. Nor is it necessary for everyone. Let me explain.  For some candidates, taking the PCAT can really help bolster an otherwise questionable academic portfolio. We want this to be an option for those applicants. If an applicant believes the PCAT provides evidence of their academic preparedness for the UCSF PharmD program, they are encouraged to take the PCAT and submit their scores to PharmCAS.  Here are two examples:
  1. An applicant who is at or near our minimum 2.80 GPA requirement may consider taking the PCAT as a way to indicate their grasp of material that may not be evident in their academic background.
  2. An applicant who completed science prerequisite coursework more than seven years ago and would like to prove they are still very familiar with the material may opt to take the PCAT.
But every candidate is different -- so even applicants who fall into the two categories above may have unique circumstances that wouldn't necessitate taking the PCAT as part of their application to UCSF.

We know there are likely to be many questions so I encourage you to contact us! 

Monday, December 10, 2018

PCAT - A Better Question To Ask (2018 Edition)

(Note: The Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) was retired on January 10, 2024, NO PCAT testing dates will be offered during the 2024-25 admissions cycle or beyond.)

Ugh! That same old question comes up again: "What's the average admitted PCAT score?"

So I tell them.

I'm also quick to share our RANGE of admitted scores.

You can see on the grid below that the range is quite great.

On the low end, we admitted a student with a composite score in the 27th percentile. On the other end is, of course, an admitted student who scored in the 99th percentile. (There's always THAT person, right?)

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

PCAT: We WILL Accept October/November 2018 Scores!

(Note: The Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) was retired on January 10, 2024, NO PCAT testing dates will be offered during the 2024-25 admissions cycle or beyond.)

 We're starting to receive questions about PCAT testing dates.

In an ideal world, your plans include taking the PCAT during September so your official scores are available by our November 1 application deadline. Or even better, you could take the PCAT anytime you wanted, right?  Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world.  The PCAT is only scheduled for very specific testing dates. For students planning to enter in summer 2019 (and planning to submit your application by November 1, 2018), we will accept October/November 2018 PCAT scores.

It takes about 4-5 weeks for PCAT to submit your OFFICIAL score to PharmCAS.  Our application deadline is November 1, 2018. If you take the PCAT during the October 22 - November 2 testing period, we will ask that you email us your UNOFFICIAL score (that only you have access to) at PharmacyAdmissions@ucsf.edu so your application can be processed and reviewed. Then we will replace the UNOFFICIAL score with the OFFICIAL score, once it’s eventually delivered to PharmCAS from PCAT. Unfortunately, PCAT exams taken in January 2019 are likely too late for consideration.

We've updated our website to reflect this:

Please don't hesitate contacting us if you have ANY questions. 

Monday, August 27, 2018

Our September 12 meeting is scheduled! See you there?

Once again, representatives from UCSF's PharmD program will spend the day ONLINE! Won't you join us? (You don't even have to get out of bed to ask questions about our new 3-year program.)

Registration is required. (But it's free!)

Saturday, July 28, 2018

In Their Own Words: Troy

(Note: It's funny that Troy mentions his experience teaching a Kanye West course while at Cal -- because that's one thing I always remember about his application. We asked "What makes you unique from all the other students that will be admitted in the class?" Troy didn't hold back.  He promised he'd bring his leadership skills to the PharmD program and he certainly didn't disappoint as he served as UCSF's Student Body President during his third year of pharmacy school. Having him on the Admissions Committee was kind of a no-brainer, knowing his rich experiences would serve us well when selecting a unique and authentic group of students to be a part of our entering class.)

Name: Troy
Hometown:  San Jose, CA
Previous institution attended: UC Berkeley
Undergraduate Major: Cellular Biology - Human Physiology

Why did you apply to be a member of the Admissions Committee and what have you enjoyed the most?
I applied to be on the Admissions Committee because, years ago, UCSF took a chance on a kid like me and I felt like it was only right that I give back to a place that has given me so much. In the past, I felt like I was too much of a free spirit to be in this field. However, some person must have looked at
my application and saw me as a diamond in the rough, and now I’m in the same position and I’m just so amazed at how things come full circle. When I look through applicants, I try to find people who show real potential and have core values that give them a chance to leave an incredible legacy during their three years here, despite their flaws. At the start of this new curriculum, I think we need to find these people to kick off this new era in the school. Everyone at UCSF are diamonds in the rough, so to speak – constantly refining ourselves but already inherently valuable.

In your opinion, what are the most common mistakes applicants make?
Remember that the entire application process gives us a chance to dive deeper into understanding who you are as a human being. I want to understand the motivations behind things that you’ve done and things that you want to do in the future. The “why” is what I’m trying to understand from applicants when I go through their file or when I interview people. Many applicants will forget this at some point in their application process.

Think about movies. If we don’t understand the history of a character or why they do the things they do throughout the film, then the experience becomes convoluted and cliché. If a character is interesting, honest, and compelling, then the viewer becomes invested in the character and wants to see them succeed. Make people interested in seeing how your story unfolds!

What stands out to you in an application?
The applications I really remember are ones that expand my perspective or applications that teach me something I didn’t know before.

What impresses you about an application/applicant?
Applicants that have a really strong sense of the pervading discourse that guides how they make decisions. Also, applicants that have an idea about how they can push humanity forward through their careers. Or at the very least, applicants that seem to be on the track to answering these questions.

What are your pet peeves when interviewing an applicant or reviewing a file?
Too many applicants try to be who they think we want them to be instead of who they truly are. The application process is just as much choosing a school that fits you as it is choosing an applicant that fits UCSF. It’s easy to tell when someone isn’t being genuine.

Have you or any of your friends exaggerated on Tinder? Your photos could have you courtside at a Warriors game with a puppy sitting on your lap and Lin-Manuel Miranda could write your “About Me” but eventually, you’re going to have to meet your date in person and they can smell the front from a mile away. Be yourself! Because unlike Tinder dates, you can’t just ghost the pharmacy school you choose to attend.

What characteristics are necessary in order to succeed in UCSF’s PharmD program?
One of the first things a mentor of mine told me when I was coming into the program is that UCSF is here to teach you how to think. Everything comes down to your mindset! You will forget side effects. You will forget first-line therapies. But if you understand how to think critically and solve problems, you’ll be valuable wherever you go.

The other thing I’d say is don’t be afraid to be great, today. A lot of people think, “Once I graduate school, once I finish residency, once I get this position....” The point of all of this is not to run a rat race better than other people. This profession is about lifting others up, asking deep questions, and solving problems within healthcare with what you’ve learned. That is possible on day one. Find mentors and a group of friends that inspire you and everything will fall into place.

What tools or resources would you recommend to prospective applicants?
People are your biggest resource! Put yourself out there and talk to people. Not just pharmacy people – anyone. Every person has something valuable and interesting to share with you when given the chance and put into the right context. In my experience, the best applicants (and the best clinicians) have an incredible perspective of the world we live in.

Why do you think you were admitted into UCSF’s PharmD program?
You know, sometimes I wonder why they admitted me to this program too! A lot of people tell me they remembered me as the applicant who taught a Kanye West class at Cal. But in general, I think the admissions committee could tell I was an applicant who was consistent.  The voice behind my essays, the work I wrote about in my CV, and the person you talk to when you meet me are all part of same person with the same core values. When a person has a strong sense of their core, they can succeed when they’re lightyears out of their comfort zone, which you’ll find is where you spend most of your time while you’re at this school.

What do you do for fun?
I love hanging out with the different people I’ve met around the Bay. Some of my friends like going to shows and that’s always a blast. I have a squad that likes to hoop and check out breweries, but we also recently started a book club because we’ve been reading so much lately. There a few art galleries around SF and Oakland that have been very moving which I’ve enjoyed. I’m really a huge nerd at heart so I really enjoy being around people who are really passionate about whatever they’re into.

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

Saturday, July 21, 2018

A Major Shift, Supplementally Speaking

The past couple of years have witnessed a major shift in the PharmD application process.

A dynamic new version of the national application, PharmCAS, was launched last year. The new version allowed each school to add unique prerequisite requirements and essay questions specific to each PharmD program.  Last year, we took advantage of that opportunity by moving our UCSF-specific prerequisite requirements list into the PharmCAS application.  Applicants no longer had to re-enter that information on our Supplemental Application. This year, we've moved EVERYTHING into the PharmCAS application. 

In previous years, UCSF utilized a two-part application process: (1) the PharmCAS application; and (2) the UCSF Supplemental Application. Beginning with the current admissions cycle, we no longer require a separate UCSF Supplemental Application. Instead, UCSF-specific essays and prerequisite requirements will now appear in the PharmCAS application when an applicant designates UCSF as a school to which they intend to apply. We do still require a UCSF Application Processing Fee.

Even though we no longer have a separate Supplemental Application, I thought it would be helpful to provide you with our UCSF-specific essay questions that are now part of the PharmCAS application.

For students applying in 2018 for entry in summer 2019, a current list of essays questions, can be found here.

To access the PharmCAS application, visit the PharmCAS website!

To access the UCSF Application Processing Fee page, visit our website!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Want an "inside" look at UCSF? Join us in April!

Interested in applying to UCSF's PharmD program for 2019 and beyond?

Get an "inside" look as part of Inside UCSF, a free two-day program for prospective students being held April 13-14, 2018.

Applications are now available and due February 16.

To learn more and apply, visit: https://diversity.ucsf.edu/InsideUCSF

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