How to Write a Compelling Pharmacy School Personal Statement
Written by Kelly Jeroski
July 12, 2022
If you’re applying to any higher education program, you’re most likely going to run into something called a “personal statement”. Pharmacy school is no exception, and learning how to write a compelling and unique personal statement is a key part in getting accepted to school. Read on to find out how to write one that stands out!
What is a Personal Statement?
A personal statement serves as a way to highlight your skills, interests and experiences. Personal statements tend to be somewhat autobiographical, but it is not just a lengthy personal essay of your entire life story.
Personal statements are also not a regurgitation of all the information you’ve already included in your application and cover letter. Think of your personal statement as more of a narrative, but still keep it informative.
In writing a personal statement, you’re aiming to give the school or program you’re applying for a snapshot of who you are and why you want to be considered for whatever position. They are as much about how you write as what you write. Schools will receive hundreds of personal statements– make sure yours stands out!
What is the Difference Between a Personal Statement and a Cover Letter?
A cover letter generally serves as a means to sell yourself to a company or school. It introduces your resume and all your relevant school and employment history. A personal statement, however, is meant to be more creative and introduce the school to you as a person in an engaging format.
While an application can come off as just a list of what you’ve done, a personal statement frames all your accomplishments in a way that connects your real-life influences with the dates and degrees on your application.
What is the Best Format for a Personal Statement for Pharmacy School?
Think of your personal statement as a narrative essay outlining how you got to where you are today, as well as where you want to go next. Within this story, relate back to pharmaceuticals and medicine and healthcare fields in an organic way. You’ve chosen this path for a reason, what are the steps that got you here?
What Questions Should I Answer in my Personal Statement?
Some helpful questions to aim to answer throughout your personal statement are:
✅ Why do I want to be a Pharmacist?: Think through the times where you have admired pharmaceuticals or where they have most impacted you. Or, think about when you fell in love with medicine and helped people through pharmaceuticals.
✅ What different pharmaceutical paths would I be interested in pursuing?: Are you interested in nuclear pharmacy? What about private pharmaceutical production? If you have a specific niche in mind for a career path, use this space to talk about your interest.
✅ What makes me an excellent and unique candidate for this program?: Have you taken any specialized courses that make you uniquely qualified for this program? Have you had any outstanding internships or positions within the healthcare world?
✅ What are my strengths?: Where do you excel? What specific strengths could you bring to the program and the team you work with? Use this space to highlight your gifts.
✅ Are there any gaps or inadequacies in my application? How can I explain them here?: If you have anything on your application that may confuse someone not familiar with your life circumstances, try to concisely explain it here. Admissions counselors want to be able to give you the best shot possible at being accepted, and sometimes this requires you being up-front about gaps or missing pieces to your work history.
What Should I Avoid in My Personal Statement?
❌ Don’t just repeat what you’ve said in your application. There’s a place for a more sterile, list-based amalgamation of your achievements, but your personal statement is not this place. Admissions staff will learn a lot more about you if you’re creative with your personal statement.
❌ Don’t steal someone else’s work. Plagiarism will disqualify you from admission to pharmacy programs, and it’s also just bad practice for life in general.
❌ Avoid cliches throughout your writing. It may have been a dark and stormy night when you were born, but that is neither relevant nor original. Find fresh ways to tell your story and engage your readers.
❌ Avoid grammar and spelling mistakes. These can be avoided through several rounds of revision
What Are Admissions Counselors Looking for in a Personal Statement?
What makes a good candidate may vary from program to program, but there are some general things that admissions counselors look for when reviewing personal statements from applicants:
- How have you grown over the years?
- Is your personal statement well-written? Does it show care, consideration and edits?
- Are you up for the challenge of Pharmacy school?
- Do you fit our program?
What Are the Steps to Form a Compelling Personal Statement?
The creative process for a piece like this may vary form applicant to applicant, but the general steps are as follows
This step can be messy, and is generally the most customizable of the process. To start your brainstorming process, think about all the reasons you’re considering pharmacy school and why this program should consider you. This is also a good place to start thinking about what makes you stand out from other candidates, as well as beginning to organize your education and work history.
Since personal statements are more narrative than list-based, start to think about how pharmacists have influenced your life and family. Compelling stories from your own experiences will help admissions counselors see you have a full-bodied connection to the program and career field.
As part of your brainstorming, look at successful personal statements. Websites like Studential and ApplyToUni can give you a good idea of what spelled success for past applicants. Or, if you know anyone who went to pharmacy school already, you can ask them for their best tips.
2. Outline and Draft
How do you make sense of all the information you just brainstormed out? One of the best ways to sort through your thoughts is by looking for natural connections between events in your life. Be sure to highlight the aspects of your career and schooling that will make you stand out the most.
Make sure you’re outlining your statement in a way that makes the most sense for both your story and your reader. Linear outlines with clear progressions through your life story usually work best, but that’s not to say you can’t jump around in the story a bit, especially if pharmacology has played a lot of different roles throughout your life and you’re looking to highlight its effect on you over time.
There are different types of personal statements, generally prompted or unprompted, but they all tend to be between 400-1,000 words long.
Check your personal statement for basic grammatical and spelling mistakes, as well as making sure your tone is both professional and friendly. Make sure your organization makes sense. A good way to ensure this is to have someone else read it and suggest edits. The more sets of eyes you can have on your personal statement, the better chance you’ll have of submitting a flawless piece.
4. Final Revisions and Submission
Do some final checks of your personal statement. Try to read it as if you’re reading it for the first time, with no context as to your own story. An early start in the writing and drafting process is key for this step, so you can take a few days away from your statement before this final revision if necessary.
If your personal statement was one with a prompt, use this check to be sure you have answered all the questions as fully and uniquely as possible. This is another great place to ask for a second set of eyes to review your statement.
Finally, submit your personal statement with your application to pharmacy school. Be sure that you’ve submitted it before the deadline!
How Do I Close a Personal Statement?
In closing your personal statement, include one last push for yourself and why you’re a good fit for the program. Try to naturally conclude and wrap up all that you’ve said about yourself and your story. Be sure to highlight your interest in the program specifically and give a quick “thank you” for their consideration of your application.
Now that you know how to write a great personal statement for pharmacy school, you should narrow down the schools you want to apply to. If you haven’t already, consider NEOMED’s College of Pharmacy! Our program will prepare you to make an impact on those around you for the better, whether locally or globally. Graduates from our programs boast high NAPLEX test scores, excellent network connections and a deeper understanding of the communities they serve. Apply to NEOMED!
Want to learn more about pharmacy school at NEOMED? Our pharmacy program guide will help you determine if pharmacy school is the right path for you, and how NEOMED can help you begin your future.
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About the author
Assistant Director of Admission