5 Tips for Incoming Pharmacy Students

JUNE 09, 2016
Being accepted into pharmacy school is a great honor, and you’re well on your way to a very rewarding profession.
 
Take some time for yourself this summer before entering pharmacy school, as the next 4 years will be filled with new and exciting opportunities. As a former pharmacy professor, I’d like to offer the following advice to help you make the most of your pharmacy school journey.

1. Try not to fall behind
Pharmacy school is different from your undergraduate coursework in that you’ll have more classes to focus on at once. The key to being successful is to try to study every day. 
 
If you review each class for about 15 to 30 minutes each day, then you won’t need to cram for exams. You’ll also remember the material for not only the test, but also your career.
 
It’s also important to attend class, as this will keep you engaged and actively learning. Even if attendance isn’t mandatory, I recommend attending every class. Your professors will get to know you, and you’ll get so much more out of your education.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
It’s important to ask questions, especially during class. Chances are, your classmates will have the same questions as you. 
 
Asking questions may seem intimidating at first, but it will help you build confidence. Most professors also have open-door policies, so stop by their office or send them an e-mail to set up an appointment. 
 
Professors enjoy speaking with student pharmacists, so if you’re struggling with the material, then ask for help immediately. Many pharmacy schools offer tutoring services, which can be extremely helpful. In any case, it’s extremely important for you to stay on track with your grades.

3. Keep your CV updated
It’s important to think about your future pharmacy career, so keep your CV updated. After participating in an activity such as a health fair, make sure to add it to your CV, as well as any leadership positions and presentations.
 
Participate in CV workshops so that pharmacy professors can review yours and provide tips.

4. Wear your white coat with integrity
Many pharmacy schools have white coat ceremonies. During this memorable ceremony, you’ll receive your white coat in the presence of your family and peers.
 
Remember to wear your white coat with integrity. Professionalism is one of the most important aspects of being a student pharmacist. Always treat your peers, professors, and patients with respect. Never cheat on exams or plagiarize assignments. 
 
Disciplinary action such as dismissal from the program can occur for unprofessional behavior, so always uphold high moral and ethical standards.

5. Publish with a faculty mentor
Seek out opportunities to participate in research with a faculty mentor. This is especially important if you're considering postgraduate training, such as a residency. You can also present your research at a national conference such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists’ Midyear meeting.
 
Believe it or not, these 4 years will fly by very quickly, so definitely make the most of it!


Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh
Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh
Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh, received her PharmD degree from Nova Southeastern University (NSU) College of Pharmacy in 2006 and completed a 2-year drug information residency. She served as a pharmacy professor at NSU’s College of Pharmacy for 6 years, managed the drug information center, and conducted medication therapy management reviews. Dr. Gershman has published research on prescription drug abuse, regulatory issues, and drug information in various scholarly journals. Additionally, she received the Sheriff’s Special Recognition Award for her collaboration with the Broward, Florida Sheriff’s Office to prevent prescription drug abuse through a drug disposal program. She has also presented at pharmacist and physician continuing education programs on topics that include medication errors, prescription drug abuse, and legal and regulatory issues. Dr. Gershman can be followed on Twitter @jgershman2
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