Alex Barker, PharmD
Alex Barker is the founder of The Happy PharmD, which helps pharmacists create an inspiring career, break free from the mundane "pill-flipping" life. He is a Full-time Pharmacist, Media Company founder, franchise owner, Business Coach, Speaker, and Author. He's also the Founder of Pharmacy School HQ, which helps students get into pharmacy school and become residents.
Pharmacy school interviews don’t only involve interviewers asking you questions. You should be prepared to ask them some good questions, too.
You’ll spend the next 3 to 4 years of your life and a boatload of money to earn your PharmD degree, so you need to understand what you’re signing up for.
Asking the right questions will not only help you ensure that the school is the right fit for you, but may also score you points during your interview. Interviewers tend to look favorably on candidates who ask thoughtful questions that show they have researched the school’s program and understand the profession.
On the other hand, asking the wrong questions may cause your interviewers to dump your application on top of the “no” pile.
You should avoid questions that are superficial or overly personal, as well as questions about information that is already available on the school’s website. Also keep in mind that asking no questions at all might send the message that you aren’t serious about the school or your education.
Your questions should demonstrate your desire to get involved in the school’s community and show that you are committed to your future as a pharmacist. The following are some questions to consider asking during a pharmacy school interview.
1. What leadership opportunities are available for students?
This question tells your interviewers that you understand the importance of leadership and its role in becoming a successful pharmacist. It also demonstrates a willingness to go above and beyond regular coursework by assuming more responsibility.
2. What community outreach programs does the school participate in?
This question shows that you care about giving back and promoting goodwill. By showing an interest in outreach events, you convey to your interviewers that you’re willing to get some real-world experience helping others, thereby bolstering your own learning and the school’s reputation in the community.
Hopefully, the school’s available opportunities match your passions and interests. If not, then perhaps you should look elsewhere.
3. What research opportunities are available to students?
This question demonstrates that you want to be on the cutting edge of pharmacy studies. By showing an interest in helping out with research, you’re showing a willingness to help put your school and your professors on the map for published studies, articles, and discoveries.
4. What mentor/mentee programs are available?
Smart students understand the value of a good mentor, and your interviewers understand the value, too. This question may lead to follow-up questions about mentorship opportunities that allow upperclassmen to help underclassmen and faculty help students.
5. In what ways does the school help its students succeed before and after graduation?
Although this question might seem a bit self-centered, it’s nonetheless a good one. It demonstrates that you’re serious about your education and future pharmacy career.
6. Where are some of your recent graduates employed?
This question goes hand-in-hand with #5. By showing that you’re interested in your future employment prospects (and potentially using alumni resources in the pharmacy industry), you demonstrate that you’re serious about your success. It also shows that you’re curious about the different industry sectors in which recent grads have found employment.
7. What clubs and events are available for students?
Selective pharmacy schools don’t just want warm bodies to attend classes; they’re also looking for active participants in the educational community. This question demonstrates that you’re interested in getting involved and enriching your educational experience.
8. What type of student are you looking for?
Because you’re looking for the right pharmacy school for you, and not just any old place to earn a degree, this question shows your interviewers that you’re committed to finding a good fit. It also shows that you’re willing to step up and be the type of student that the school wants.
Asking the right questions is a win-win for you and your potential pharmacy school. On-point inquiries will make you look polished, professional, and serious about your career. Plus, you will get some much-needed insight into the school’s pharmacy program.
Taking a few minutes to prepare your questions will help you knock your interview out of the park and set you apart from other candidates.