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Candidacy Assessment

Preparation for application to pharmacy programs should always begin with assessment of your individual candidacy. Use the Pre-Health Pillars Candidacy Assessment as a guide to self-assess and plan to speak with a Pre-Health Advisors about your progress. 


Pre-Health Pillars Candidacy Assessment 


PharmCAS: Pharmacy College Application Service

This application opens each year in early to mid July. Although there are 5 regular degree program application deadlines from November to March, you should apply as early as possible due to the application verification process and rolling admission cycle. 

Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)

Offered in July, September, October, November, and January of each year. The exam consists of the following content sections:

  1. Verbal Ability
  2. Reading Comprehension
  3. Writing
  4. Biology
  5. Chemistry
  6. Quantitative Reasoning

Test Preparation Resources

There are many types of test preparation resources that vary in cost and approach. Pre-Health Advisors do not endorse any of the providers below, but are happy to speak with you about how you might identify the style of preparation that best fits your needs.

Source Cost Level


Free - Low
Mometrix Test Prep Free - Low
Coursesaver Low
PCAT Destroyer Low
Crack the PCAT Low - Mid
The PCAT Prep Class - Dr. Collins Mid
NextStep Test Prep Free - High

Kaplan Test Prep

Free - High

Selecting Schools

It is essential to select schools that are not only a good fit for you academically, but also a good fit for your values, skills, interest, and that will help you become the professional you want to be. Take time to research programs prior to the application process. Here are some factors you should consider:

  • Admission requirements: coursework and clinical experiences
  • Institution's mission, goals, curriculum, grading system
  • Size of cohort/class
  • Location. Where do you want to live? Where will you have a support network in place? What is the cost of tuition and cost of living?
  • Where will you complete your clinical rotations? What type of patient population will you serve (i.e. urban, rural)? Will this provide the experiences you hope to gain?
  • Does the school's mission and training focus align with your professional interests (i.e. research, personalized medicine)

Recommended Length of School List: 5-7  


Guidelines for Making a School List
PharmCAS School Directory

Letters of Reference (LORs)

You may submit a maximum of 4 individual letters to PharmCAS. Some schools accept additional letters individually, but they should be sent directly to the pharmacy program. Letters should be submitted electronically through the PharmCAS eLOR portal.  

You should determine any specific LOE requirements from programs of choice. However, it is typically required or recommended that letters come from the following people:

  • Science Faculty
  • Non-Science Faculty
  • Healthcare Professional
  • Employer
  • Academic or Research Advisor


Guidelines for Letters of Recommendation 

Personal Statement

Your personal statement is a distinctive aspect of your application. It begins with reflection. Consider the following questions to begin:

  • Why do you want to become a pharmacist? Why is this the profession you have chosen instead of another?
  • Think back to your experiences volunteering, shadowing, researching, studying abroad. Can you provide a specific story that deeply impacted you and your decision to become a pharmacist?
  • What do you want the committee to know about you as a person or future colleague? What makes you a good fit for the profession?
  • What are your immediate and long-term professional goals? How does a PharmD degree relate to those goals? 
  • How does your personal, educational, and professional background help you achieve your goals?

The PharmCAS personal statement section includes a 4,500 character limit (including spaces). See PharmCAS for a formal prompt topic.



Request official transcripts from all institutions attended. Make sure to carefully follow PharmCAS instruction manual guidelines for specific details on transcript submission to the application service. 


UVA Registrar's Office

Interview Preparation

Pre-health mock interviewing is available to students and alumni preparing for or currently in the health professions application cycle. Interviews are one hour and include a feedback session aimed at increasing your readiness and confidence before an actual admissions interview. To schedule a mock interview complete the following steps.

  1. Schedule Your Mock Interview With an Advisor: Contact the UVA Career Center at 434-924-8900 and indicate you are requesting a Pre-Health Mock Interview or schedule online through your Handshake account.

  2. Come to the Career Center to be Interviewed: Please dress as if this were a real interview. By doing so, you can become comfortable with an interview situation dressed in professional attire. The Pre-Health Advisor will provide feedback as to appropriate interview attire. If you do not have interview attire at this time, please dress in the most appropriate outfit you have available.


Interviewing for Health Professions Admissions 

Pharmacy School UVA Applicant Statistics

  Number of Applicants Number Accepted Percent Accepted
2017 22 18 82%
2016 20 17 85%
2015 33 26 78%
2014 41 33 80%
2013 45 37 82%