As well as your motivations for studying pharmacy, think about your hobbies and extracurricular activities too. What skills have you learned from these and how will these help you in your pharmacy degree?
Talk about any work experience placements you have completed, e.g. shadowing a doctor or nurse, or someone in a similar medical/clinical profession. What did you take away from this experience? Do you feel you have all the necessary personal traits and qualities that make a good pharmacy student?
In college, I became interested in advocacy when I learned the story of the drug Eflornothine, which worked miracles on the deadly disease African Sleeping Sickness but was discontinued because it did not make the company money. Like many pharmaceutical companies, this one kept the patent, disallowing other companies from making this medication cheaply, thereby condemning millions of people to suffer. When I learned of this, I felt ashamed and wanted to be a part of changing aspects of the industry that could be harmful. I began volunteering for an NGO that advocated for certain patents to be lifted, to allow patients suffering from treatable diseases to receive life-saving medicine. My task was to research the age of a patent, find out if it had been renewed, and if the company had any exceptions. We often found that patents had expired but the medicine prices had remained high; it was therefore easy to lower these prices, allowing patients in lower-income countries to afford medications. Through this experience, I learned that it is important to advocate for those who do not have the power or resources to advocate for themselves. I also learned important research skills that I aim to sharpen in the pharmacy program, such as conducting literature reviews and developing focused quantitative analyses. I will continue advocating for patients, both at home and abroad, and in the years to come, I aspire to change policy surrounding patent laws and life-saving medications.
When my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, I remember feeling numb, confused, and scared. But within our first few trips to the hospital, I was reassured that she was in competent and compassionate hands. While not every family member will have the outcome that I did, when I am working as a pharmacist, they can rest assured that their loved one will receive the best care possible. As a future pharmacist, I promise to: collaborate with my team, continually striving for better methods and better outcomes; advocate for my patients and for those who cannot advocate for themselves; and actively listen and empathize with my patients and their families to ensure they receive patient-centered and compassionate care. While I know the road ahead will be challenging, pharmacy is a field I am honored to pursue, and I look forward to the day that I can inspire the next generation of pharmacists, as I was inspired a decade ago. (918 words)
Though there may not have been a magic pill to rid me of my mounting social anxiety, hard work seemed like an unlikely solution, too. For months, I put on a happy face, trying to convince myself that there was nothing to fear in locker-side conversations and that my worth was not determined by what a group of gangly middle-schoolers thought of me. Eventually, my parents took me to see a psychiatrist, and after many sweaty-palmed conversations, I was diagnosed with social anxiety and handed a prescription for anti-anxiety medication. Of course, the medication I received was no miracle, but with other coping mechanisms, my world began to seem a little more welcoming. Gradually, I interacted with peers more, who became friends. I still had to work hard in therapy, but the capsules I took in the morning each day removed my constant, debilitating worry.
Without the shadow of anxiety darkening my every social interaction, I felt as though I was beginning to become the version of myself I always wanted to be. Years later, I actually was the girl surrounded by laughter in the high school lunchroom. More importantly, though, I took my first chemistry course and discovered my passion. The ways that elements on the periodic table could combine to create entirely new substances fascinated me. I realized that, just like myself, the world around us is in a constant state of flux, with elements combining, reacting to forces, and continuously changing. As I changed from a high school chemistry novice to a university student, one thing remained constant: my passion for chemistry. Delving into how chemistry can be used as a tool inspired me to pursue it as a major, and I worked in various labs on campus investigating how different combinations could be put to use to solve problems, just like my psychiatrist helped me find ways to deal with my social anxiety.
After months of shadowing a pharmacist, I was convinced that I wanted to pursue a career in pharmacy. My experiences with Dr. Johnson and his colleague piqued my interest in what seemed like a never-ending field of discovery. Elements combining, reacting to forces, and continuously changing, but in the human body! Figuring out the puzzles of chemical reactions had always been intriguing, but knowing that I could combine that with helping people recover from sickness, manage chronic disease, or even find the strength to leave the middle school bathroom and have lunch with other students was empowering. The medication I took as a preteen may not have been a magic pill for my social anxiety, but there was certainly some magic in it. I look forward to putting in the hard work to bring that magic to others as a pharmacist. (724 words)
As the captain of my soccer team in high school, I was put in charge of leading the team both in and outside of the game. On the field, I acted as a mediator between the players, coach, and referee. Successfully guiding players on the strategies dictated by the coach required excellent communication skills. In my team, I was not only a player; I was a key decision maker and a motivator. Making tactical decisions while supporting everyone in their position showed me the true meaning of being a team player and taught me how to handle pressure well. When I look back at those times and think about the titles we won for our school, I know that the characteristics I developed while I led my team to victory will be put to use when I have to collaborate with a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals in the future.
In college, while volunteering at a local pharmacy in my hometown, I helped the pharmacist handle prescriptions and dispense a variety of medications. It became clear to me that following a methodical approach and paying great attention to detail were essential in pharmacy. I made it a point to learn from him, and with time, I found myself being thorough, accurate, and organized not only at the pharmacy but at school as well. I also sought to understand both the cause and the effect of a situation, which is an ability that has guided everything I have done since then, including my research work and my academic activities as a Biology major. Seeing the pharmacist interact with patients was truly rewarding. I watched as he explained the treatment, potential side effects, and desired outcomes to them while evaluating the interactions between the drugs they were taking in order to avoid any harm. This showed me that, besides being a problem-solver and having analytical abilities, pharmacists need to be empathetic and care for their patients. Very soon I found myself interacting with people who visited the pharmacy and exercising the same skills the local pharmacist possessed.
I explained to my father that, to me, pharmacy is about conversation. As patrons share with you why they have come in to the pharmacy that day, or what is troubling them, it is important to truly listen. This is the starting point for the conversation needed to understand their concerns, provide appropriate medication, and educated them as to how best proceed. Although my friends joke about my ability to talk to anyone, this is a trait that will go far in serving my community as a pharmacist. (702 words)
Although each program has different requirements, pharmacy personal statements are generally around a page long, or 4500 characters for most applications in the United States, and should be structured similar to a traditional, academic paper. Your personal statement should have a clear introduction, a body composed of about 2-3 paragraphs, and a marked conclusion. It is important that you transition well among each of these elements to enhance the flow and overall readability of your statement. The logical progression of your ideas should also be well-defined so that admissions officers can easily follow your train of thought. Keep in mind that each individual reading your personal statement will be looking at many, many personal statements in any given sitting, which can get exhausting. Make their jobs easier by ensuring that your statement is easy to read and makes your points both concisely and clearly. Given the myriad personal statements each admissions officer must review, your statement must be quite unique and engaging in order to stand out and be memorable.
The personal statement should explain why you want to study pharmacy, so your discussion of this should be true to your experiences. Instead of writing what you think would be appealing to admissions officers, present a genuine account of why you want to be a pharmacist and the experiences that led you to that conclusion. Inauthenticity is actually quite easy to detect, so it is always preferrable to be authentic.
Notice that we suggest expert feedback, not just feedback in general. Everyone can give you an opinion on the strength of your pharmacy school personal statement, but only a select few can give you constructive criticism that will actually serve to improve your statement. Trusted professors, pharmacist mentors, or admissions experts like the ones at BeMo are all great choices to give you informed and insightful advice. 2b1af7f3a8