Editor’s Note: This post by third-year student pharmacist Dewan Rummana was originally published on Inside SOP, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy’s blog. It is reprinted here with permission.
You have completed the prerequisite courses, taken the PCAT, filled out more pharmacy school applications than you can count, and now you have reached the last step of the process: the interview.
Many students, myself included, are apprehensive about the pharmacy school interview, but it shouldn’t be a stressful experience. The interview should be a give-and-take process in which the student not only gets to express their interest in the field of pharmacy and the school, but also has a chance to figure out if that school is the best fit. Below is my advice (gained from firsthand experience) on how to make your pharmacy school interview as successful and stress-free as possible.
1. Let Your Passion Shine
The best advice that I can offer is to be yourself and let your passion for pharmacy shine through. An interviewer can tell if an applicant’s interest in pharmacy is genuine. When you are being yourself and representing your thoughts honestly and genuinely, you will find that the interview flows much easier.
2. Make the Interview a Conversation
Interviews should not simply be a question-and-answer process. This makes the interview seem forced, and your answers may come out blunt and choppy. Rather, think of the interview as a conversation about your desire to attend pharmacy school. Do not attempt to memorize answers, because your responses will appear rehearsed and monotonous. Instead, think about some broad ideas for topics that you would like to talk about and messages that you want to convey to the interviewer over the course of the conversation. When applicants think of the interview as a conversation, the experience becomes less stressful and a natural flow for the talk will take over.
3. Be Prepared
Make sure you are ready to discuss all parts of your application in detail — even down to the smallest detail, such as a pharmacy volunteer experience you might have participated in during your sophomore year in college. Do online research to learn about the most frequently asked questions for pharmacy school interviews and make sure you have thought about potential responses. Write notes to help remember topics that are important to you, what you want the interviewer to know about you, and what an interviewer should take away after talking with you.
4. Ask Questions
Asking questions shows that you have done your research on the school and you are interested in learning more. However, be mindful about the questions that you ask. Avoid asking generic questions for which the answers could easily be found on the school’s website. Make your questions thoughtful and insightful, as the responses will help you decide if that pharmacy school is the right match for you.
When preparing for your pharmacy school interview, you will want to practice giving firm handshakes, looking the interviewer in the eye, taking your time answering questions, and learning how to ask your questions. Also, consider practicing how to end the interview by thanking the interviewer for their time and expressing that one last thought that showcases your interest in pharmacy school.
Good luck with your interview! I hope to see you around Pharmacy Hall this fall.