Become a Strong Applicant
Some (not all!) applicants start planning for pharmacy school in high school. If you’re a high school student and you’re interested in being a pharmacist, here is our advice for you:
Take your time and give the field of pharmacy a thorough review! There are lots of ways to practice pharmacy and the more you know about it, the more clear you’ll be about your unique interests by the time you apply.
- Consider taking AP, IB, or College in the Schools courses that will meet our prerequisite requirements. (The prerequisite requirements represent a few years of undergraduate college coursework.)
- Explore the field of pharmacy and look for healthcare-related work or volunteer experiences.
- Plan to join pharmacy and healthcare-related clubs and student groups during your time in undergraduate college/university.
- Develop a broad understanding of the field of pharmacy - there are many ways to practice pharmacy! A good place to start is to explore the Pharmacy is Right for Me site.
- Take the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Career Pathway Evaluation which will provide suggested areas of pharmacy based on your unique interests and preferences; do in-depth research on those career paths
- Ask a pharmacist in your community for an informational interview and learn what their days are like practicing pharmacy (and then ask if they have a colleague practicing in another area of pharmacy with whom they can connect you!)
- Find job shadowing opportunities with pharmacists in different fields. If you connect for a job shadowing opportunity with one pharmacist, when you’re done, ask them if they have a colleague in a different area of pharmacy with whom they’d be willing to connect you.
- If job shadowing opportunities aren’t available, ask a pharmacist for an informational interview. When you’re done, ask if they have a colleague in a different area of pharmacy with whom they’d be willing to connect you.
- Apply for a job in a pharmacy! Depending on the laws and rules governing pharmacies in your state or country, you may be able to get a job as a pharmacy technician. Although it's not a requirement, our average incoming student has about 2 years of full- or part-time experience working in a pharmacy. It's a great way to gain patient-care experience and learn about the field.
- Join the pre-pharmacy or pre-health careers club your first year! If there isn’t one, explore how you can start one!
- Find job shadowing opportunities with pharmacists in different fields. If you connect for a job shadowing opportunity with one pharmacist, when you're done, ask them if they have a colleague in a different area of pharmacy with whom they'd be willing to connect you.
- If job shadowing opportunities aren't available, ask a pharmacist for an informational interview. When you're done, ask if they have a colleague in a different area of pharmacy with whom they'd be willing to connect you.
- Find a volunteer activity you love - then stick with it! Demonstrating commitment is always great.
- Some hospitals offer volunteer opportunities, which gives you a glimpse into healthcare fields.
- Volunteer activities need not be healthcare related. If you love working with animals, go for an opportunity in an animal shelter (we offer an elective in Veterinary Pharmacotheraphy). If you love working with kids, find tutoring or mentoring opportunities (we offer an elective in Pediatric Drug Therapy)!
- Bonus: find leadership opportunities within your volunteer activities!
- Look for leadership opportunities in volunteerism, work, the classroom, or in student groups.
- Long-term volunteerism may provide opportunities, such as training new volunteers, or performing more advanced volunteer work.
- Many students groups at colleges and universities have leadership positions, such as president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, etc.
- If you work full- or part-time, discuss leadership opportunities, whether in projects or initiatives or among colleagues, with your supervisor.
- Take on a leadership role within the classroom or lab; connect with your instructor on ways to lead discussions, projects, etc.
|Apply for Fall 2021||Apply for Fall 2022|
|Experiences||Consider volunteer and leadership experiences, and work opportunities in health care related fields as early as your first year in college. Keep it up as you apply to demonstrate your commitment!||Consider volunteer and leadership experiences, and work opportunities in health care related fields as early as your first year in college. Keep it up as you apply to demonstrate your commitment!|
Start taking them by 2019
Complete by August 2021
Start taking them by 2020
Complete by August 2022
Register to take the exam between April 2020 and February 2021; the PCAT is optional for most Fall 2021 applicants: click to learn more.
Register between April 2021 and February 2022
Start your application as early as July 2020
Submit your application no later than February 1, 2021
Start your application as early as July 2021
Submit your application by the tentative deadline of February 1, 2022
|Minnesota Program Materials
Start working on our program essays as early as July 2020 and finish no later than January 2021
|Start working on our program essays as early as July 2021 and finish no later than January 2022|
As early as 2017, make strong connections with instructors, supervisors, or volunteer leads.
July 2020, ask key people to be your evaluators and provide letters of recommendation.
As early as 2018, make strong connections with instructors, supervisors, or volunteer leads.
July 2021, ask key people to be your evaluators and provide letters of recommendation.
High School Students
Explore health careers
HealthForce MN Scrubs Camps for middle school and high school students
CodeU: an online workshop for high school students preparing for college and health careers
Experience Minnesota: An Open House Event for Multicultural Students
Experience Minnesota is a special event for high school students interested in the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities held in the fall. You and your family will have the opportunity to attend informational sessions, explore student cultural centers, tour the campus, and meet current U of MN students. Meet representatives from the College of Pharmacy during the College and Majors Fair at Experience Minnesota! Registration is required.
Join a Pre-Pharmacy Club
Listen to pharmacist guests speakers, network to find pharmacy technician jobs, discover volunteer opportunities, and attend social events. If your school does not have a Pre-Pharmacy Club, consider starting one- it would be a great leadership opportunity. Join now in Duluth or the Twin Cities!
Take Undergraduate Pharmacy Courses at the University of Minnesota
These courses are offered online and are a great way to learn about interesting areas of pharmacy and get credit for it. These courses are cost effective for current full-time University of Minnesota students because there is no additional fees to take these courses.