Pharmacy School Admissions | The Interview, Part 1

It’s been a while since I last posted on this blog! I apologize—pharmacy school is overwhelming, to say the least. But I’m glad I sacrificed my blood and sweat during the admissions cycle last year so I could matriculate at the best school in the nation this fall. I’m very proud to be a UCSF P1! Go…friendly fog? Unfortunately, UCSF doesn’t have a mascot because it doesn’t have sports teams, or undergraduates for that matter.

I haven’t had enough time to fully flesh out my post on my personal interview tips and experiences, but I figured I could at least post the questions that I answered to prepare for my interviews. A good number of you are either anticipating interviews or are scheduling interviews for the rolling schools—or perhaps you already have interviewed! No matter where you are, I congratulate you! It’s tough getting through the huge endeavor that is PharmCAS and supplementals, alongside the financial strain of pharmacy school applications and interviews. But once you’re invited to interview, you have about a 30 – 50% chance of getting accepted. So the interview is a huge stepping stone!

I compiled most of these interview questions from SDN (an excruciatingly painful website to become addicted to during the application cycle), so please help me credit where appropriate! I admit, I’m a bit lazy to go back through the posts and search 0:-) Keep in mind that not all of these questions may apply to you. These questions may not cover all potential questions. Some questions are redundant. Some questions may seem stupid. Some questions seem impossible to answer correctly. In a later post, I’ll mention which questions frequented my interviews.

Interview questions (in no particular order of importance, really, but grouped for convenience):

Personal:

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. Tell me about your family.
  3. Describe yourself in 3 words. What is an instance for each when you demonstrated each trait?
  4. How would you describe your personality?
  5. What would your friends say about you?
  6. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
  7. If you could cure a disease, which one would you cure and why?
  8. What qualities do you admire most about your best friend?
  9. Which three historic figures would you take to dinner?
  10. Who is your hero?
  11. Do you have any regrets?
  12. Tell me about a mistake you have made recently.
  13. What is a recent decision you made that you would go back and change?
  14. What is the kindest thing you have ever done? (I thought this one was the most difficult question of them all. Good thing it never came up!)

School-related:

  1. What extracurricular activities and community service organizations are you involved with?
  2. Is your GPA an accurate reflection of your academic ability?
  3. Why do you have an F/W’s on your transcripts? (this applied to me, unfortunately)
  4. What was your most difficult class?
  5. You went to down in hours this last semester. Is there a reason why?
  6. How do you study? (Group setting, alone, etc)
  7. How do you balance school and extracurriculars?

Professional:

  1. Define professionalism.
  2. How do you routinely communicate with others?
  3. How do you manage your time?
  4. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  5. What are 3 things that you have done that you are most proud of?
  6. If working in a group setting, what role would you play?
  7. What was your greatest accomplishment outside of anything that has to do with school or work?
  8. Would you rather be a leader or a follower?
  9. How have you demonstrated leadership?
  10. Describe some leadership positions you have had and what you learned from them.
  11. Describe a time you had to learn something very quickly and how you handled it.
  12. Are there any characteristics about you that are not included in your application?
  13. Have you ever had a conflict/moral dilemma with your teacher or boss? How did you resolve this conflict?
  14. Describe a time when you successfully resolved a conflict between yourself and someone else.
  15. Do you prefer to confront conflict or tactfully avoid it?
  16. Explain a recent group activity and how you went about dealing with difficult individuals.
  17. Has there ever been a time when you had to deal with a lot of stress? What did you do to deal with the stress?
  18. Tell me about a recurring problem that you were able to resolve.
  19. Tell me two problems that you had in life and how did you solve them?
  20. What is your usual approach to solving problems?
  21. Where do you turn when your usual problem-solving approaches are not successful?
  22. Tell me about a time when you put someone else’s interests before your own.
  23. Tell us of one instance where you went out of your way/stepped out of your box to help someone in both the everyday and the pharmacy environment.

Pharmacy/healthcare:

  1. Why do you want to be a pharmacist?
  2. What is your vision as pharmacist?
  3. What is the role of pharmacist?
  4. How are you going to pay for pharmacy school? (with money, I hope)
  5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 10 years?
  6. What do you know about pharmacy?
  7. What do you have to contribute to the field of pharmacy?
  8. What traits do you believe will contribute to you being a good pharmacist?
  9. Who had the greatest influence on your choice of pharmacy as a career path?
  10. Why aren’t you applying to medical school?
  11. What do you like about pharmacy school?
  12. What is something negative about pharmacy school that you have noticed?
  13. What would you be most concerned with during your first year of pharmacy school?
  14. What is the most positive aspect you feel is in the practice of pharmacy?
  15. What qualities do you see are needed for an exceptional pharmacist?
  16. Where do you plan to work when you graduate?
  17. Talk about the recent news regarding the pharmacy industry and what do you think about it?
  18. What do you see as the biggest personal challenge to becoming a pharmacist?
  19. What challenges do you see for the field of pharmacy?
  20. What is the leading factor of ailments in today’s society?
  21. What important issues in healthcare do you think will shape the future of pharmacy?
  22. How do you see the role of pharmacy changing?
  23. How do you feel about the current state of retail pharmacy? What suggestions can you make about any changes?
  24. What is the most important drug that came out in the past 10 years?
  25. Should or should not alcohol and tobacco products be sold at a retail/community pharmacy?
  26. If you got in, what pharmacy pathway would you choose? (relevant to UCSF)
  27. Why did you choose to apply to this school?

Situational:

  1. What would you do if you caught a student cheating?
  2. What would you do if you knew another student was cheating?
  3. What would you do if you suspected your best friend, who is also a first-year student, was cheating in class?
  4. Many of the assignments in pharmacy school require group work. What would you do if you found out that someone in your group plagiarized their part of the paper?
  5. How would you handle a group member who was not pulling their weight in the group?
  6. If you were in a group and you noticed someone was slacking on purpose, how would you handle the situation?
  7. Explain a difficult situation you may encounter as a pharmacist and how you would go about resolving it.
  8. If you think a doctor is abusing and prescribing himself medication, what would you do?
  9. If you noticed that a fellow pharmacist had alcohol on his/her breath, how would you handle the situation?
  10. What would you do if you came to work and a pharmacist you worked with took a valium every day without a prescription?
  11. Pretend you are a pharmacy technician and the pharmacist wants to dispense a very expensive medication that is expired to a patient. What do you do?
  12. If a 16 year old daughter of a friend comes in to get birth control, what would you do?
  13. If a patient wanted a drug that you were morally against, what would you do?
  14. You are counseling a patient on the proper use of his medication when your technician informs you that Dr. Jones is on the phone and wants to talk to you now. How would you handle this situation?
  15. While explaining to an elderly patient how to take her medication, a hurried shopper demands to have his refill dispensed immediately. What do you do?

Scary/Strange:

  1. Why should we choose you? Why should we choose you over another applicant?
  2. What will do you if you are not admitted? (this question just made me go “wuh…duh?”)
  3. Do you see tutoring children as a clinical activity?
  4. What question did you expect to be asked that we didn’t ask? Then answer that question. (this is just a mean question hahaha)

Please do not contact me for my answers to these questions. Remember, the interview is personal and reflective–there are no right or wrong answers. But I will agree that for some questions, there are better answers. Use your common sense and you can’t go wrong.

And if you haven’t seen the UCSF Pharmacy Style video made by current P4’s, I’m going to go ahead and help you waste a few minutes of your day while simultaneously promoting the awesomeness of pharmacy and UCSF :)

Bon Appétit,

Adele

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5 responses to “Pharmacy School Admissions | The Interview, Part 1

  1. “Use your common sense and you can’t go wrong.”

    The thing I find funny about this advice is how about when your common sense is wrong/in the wrong? haha. But thank you for the questions! Did you think through most of these questions to prepare for your interview?

    • Good observation and great question! It might be better to broadly use the phrase “common sense”–for instance, if you feel that you aren’t confident about a specific answer, I feel like it’s fair game to go to a trusted friend (or a healthcare provider if you know one) and discuss your thoughts with him or her. I definitely went to my pharmacy mentors with some of the situational questions hahaha. I think that warrants common sense :)

      Haha I did! Crazily enough. I typed up answers to most of these questions on a Word document, spent a few weeks going over my answers and adding more/taking away points and examples, and a few days before interviews, I printed my huge document and simply jotted notes. For me, it was great to have these questions and answers as a portable and editable tool.

      • Will keep these tips in mind, I think that’s really good preparation and it paid off really well for you. I want to do something similar to your interview strategy with regards to my personal statement, like maybe start working on the pharmacy/healthcare questions little by little so that I’d have ideas to pull from when I finally apply. But I think I have a very long way to go. :)

      • Sounds like you’ll be prepared when applications come around for you! In later posts, I’m hoping to touch upon strategies I used to brainstorm the content for my essays, especially for supplementals. Your continuous proactive strategy is great though! Please let me know if you have any questions along the way!

  2. Pingback: Pharmacy School Admissions | The Interview, Part 1 | Flipdigest·

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