Concerned about writing your personal statement for your PharmCAS application? UCSOP wants to help! It’s actually simple – start by thinking of your personal statement as a story about you—specifically, your academic and personal journey. Be sure to include commentary and reflection on how your academic and personal experiences have led up to you wanting to become a pharmacist. Your story should focus on:
- YOU! Talk about yourself. This one of the rare occasions in life you have to actually write about YOU! Take advantage of this opportunity. Explain why you want to be a pharmacist. Talk about the academic, personal and/or work experiences that have led you this point in your academic career.
- Setting yourself apart. Explain how you are different! Committees are looking for something personal as well as analytical. This might require you to disclose information you would not normally share and/or examine your life (successes and failures) more critically.
- Pharmacy. The writing prompt for PharmCAS is specific in that it asks applicants to discuss why they want to pursue a career in pharmacy. In order to capture the attention of committees, it is important to include discussion on why being a pharmacist is important to you. Has it been a life-long dream? Was there an experience or event that led you down this path? Share those things with details to demonstrate your commitment to pharmacy practice.
Still have writer’s block? Brainstorm! Get out a paper (any paper) and a writing implement (pen, crayon, marker—whatever is nearby) and start answering some of these basic questions:
- What is special, unique, distinctive, or impressive about your life story? Do you have notable accomplishments? Have you traveled the world? Do you volunteer to work with patients at a local hospital? Do you currently work in a pharmacy? You get where I’m going here . . . BRAINSTORM!
- Why are you interested in pharmacy? What area of practice might you like to pursue? Community pharmacy? Academic pharmacy? Managed care? Hospital? (Find out more about career options in pharmacy by visiting: http://www.aacp.org/RESOURCES/STUDENT/PHARMACYFORYOU/PHARMACYCAREERINFO/Pages/default.aspx.)
- What work experiences do you have in relationship to pharmacy practice? If you haven’t worked in a pharmacy, what other types of work experiences will help you when working with patients or just with the rigor of the academic program (interpersonal skills, caregiving skills, attention-to-detail, etc.)?
- What obstacles or hardships (personal, professional, academic) have you encountered along your journey?
- What skills/characteristics do you possess—leadership, perseverance, enthusiasm, integrity, etc. that will allow you to be successful?
- Why should the admissions committee be interested in you in particular? Again, brainstorm some ideas. Past academic excellence? Job-related experience? Personal experience?
WRITE! After brainstorming, it’s time to write! You may find it helpful to make an outline using your brainstorming ideas. Organize your thoughts with a strong introductory paragraph. Tell the committee who you are but also consider how your story relates to the desire to join the pharmacy profession. And don’t forget to PROOFREAD. Share with others too! Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes will catch mistakes you do not. Be sure not to hit submit until you are certain there aren’t any grammatical or content errors. And, above all, always be sure that your personal statement is just that, YOURS. Never copy or borrow another person’s work. This can delay your application or even stop the application process altogether!
Additional things to consider:
- Be mindful of the required word limit
- Proofread (more than once)
- Be sure to connect your discussion to pharmacy
- Be honest, open and truthful (but don’t overshare—you don’t want to include things that might cause a committee to question your judgment)
- Don’t write for a specific school*
Good luck with your application and your essay!
*The PharmCAS personal statement is intended for all schools to which you are applying.
Dr. Susan M. Gardner, Assistant Dean for Professional and Student Affairs
University of Charleston School of Pharmacy
- Do NOT personalize your essay for a particular pharmacy degree program. You CANNOT make any edits to your personal statement after you have e-submitted your completed application to PharmCAS.
- Your personal statement should be no more than 4500 characters including spaces. If your statement is longer than that, you will not be able to save this section.
- Prompt For Personal Essay: Your Personal Essay should address why you selected pharmacy as a career and how the Doctor of Pharmacy degree relates to your immediate and long-term professional goals. Describe how your personal, educational, and professional background will help you achieve your goals.
The personal essay is an important part of your application for admission and provides you with an opportunity for you to clearly and effectively express your ideas.
Enter a personal essay for each type of program you are applying to. Complete only the Pharm.D. essay if you are only applying to Pharm.D. programs, complete only the Graduate Program essay if you are only applying to graduate programs, and complete both if you are applying to both types of programs. (Please note that the personal essay section of the application will be checked as complete once you enter any one essay.)
You are encouraged to compose your essay in a text-only word processor (e.g., Notepad), review your essay for errors, then cut and paste the final version into the text box above. Click the Save button and then return to the Personal Essay to review the formatting of your text. You are limited to approximately 1 page (4500 characters, including spaces). Some formatting characters used in programs like Word (angled quotes, accents, special characters) will not display properly. Take care to review your final text and to make the necessary corrections to the format.
Each pharmacy degree program reserves the right to require additional essay responses as part of the supplemental application process.
You CANNOT make any edits to your Personal Essay after you have e-submitted your completed application to PharmCAS.
Please be aware that your admission essay may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to Turnitin for Admissions for the detection of plagiarism duplication and other potential violations of the applicant code of conduct. All submitted essays and other materials will be included as source documents in the Turnitin for Admissions reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such documents.
Expand All FAQ Questions
Q: What is plagiarism?
A: The Merriam-Webster online dictionary and plagiarism.org define plagiarism as:
- to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’ s own
- to use (another’s productions) without crediting the source
- to commit literary theft
- to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source
Plagiarism.org is a great source to learn about what plagiarism is and how to prevent it.
Q: What is Turnitin?
A: Turnitin is the online plagiarism checker used by PharmCAS to detect plagiarism in PharmCAS applicants’ personal statements. Turnitin scours the web to match content submitted by applicants to that found on web pages, archived student papers, and published articles. Matches are then documented into a Similarity Report. The Similarity Report shows what percentage of your personal statement matches content found on the web. When you apply through PharmCAS, your Similarity Report is provided to every degree program you apply to.
Turnitin.com will provide more information on how the service works and what you can expect.
Q: I applied through PharmCAS last application cycle. Can I use the same Personal Essay?
A: PharmCAS does NOT suggest using the same personal essay that you submitted to PharmCAS previously. Please create a new Personal Essay each time you apply through PharmCAS.