Pharmacy School Application Timeline

January 30, 2024


Reviewed by:

Akhil Katakam

Third-Year Medical Student, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

Reviewed: 10/16/23

If you’ve decided to pursue a career in pharmacy, read on to learn more about the pharmacy school application timeline. 

As you begin your journey towards becoming a pharmacist, you’ll have several questions and concerns. One important concern might be about the pharmacy school application timeline.

Considering how difficult it is to get into pharmacy school, and how important it is to make a good impression on the admissions committee, you’ll want to ensure you submit your application at the right time to maximize your chances of acceptance.

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about your pharmacy school application, including when to apply to pharmacy school, the important deadlines to keep in mind, and more!

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When Should You Apply to Pharmacy School?

The short answer to the question, “when should I apply to pharmacy school?” is as early as possible.

As you research the top pharmacy schools, you’ll notice there’s several months between when applications open and close. However, you shouldn't let this fool you into thinking you should wait till the last minute to submit your application. You should apply closer to when applications open than close.

The reason you want to apply as early as possible is because most pharmacy schools accept applicants on a rolling basis. A couple months into the application cycle, they begin reviewing and accepting candidates, and do so until the program is full. This means there will be far fewer seats available by the end of the application cycle. 

And since there’s no telling how strong the early applicants are, it’s difficult to predict how quickly seats will fill up. To give yourself the best chances of acceptance, you should apply to your desired law schools within the first few months of the application cycle.

Pharmacy School Application Timeline

Considering you should apply to pharmacy school as soon as possible, it’s essential you begin your application early.

A lot of preparation goes into a pharmacy school application. While it may seem premature, you should begin preparing your application early into your undergrad. Doing so will not only ensure you can meet all of your admission requirements, but can help you create a strong, impressive, and differentiated application! 

Here’s the timeline we suggest you follow when preparing your application:

Freshman Year

During your first year of university, you don’t have to worry too much about your pharmacy school application. Take this time to familiarize yourself with your school, meet new people, and enjoy the university experience!

However, there are a few minor steps you can take to begin preparing your application:

Join a Pre-Pharmacy Club 

Most undergrad universities have clubs or societies for aspiring pharmacists. By joining this club, you’ll not only meet like-minded individuals that can turn into lifelong friends, but you’ll also learn about different opportunities you can pursue to boost your application, the best PCAT study tools, and more about the application process.

Join Other Extracurriculars

Your first year of university is typically the best time to experiment with extracurriculars. You can join several and see which ones you like best to continue throughout your undergrad!

Sophomore Year

In your second year, you should focus on taking the necessary prerequisites to apply to your desired pharmacy schools, building your resume, and writing the PCAT. Here’s the steps you should take:

Gain Valuable Experience

After experimenting in your first year, you should pick one to three extracurriculars that you know you’ll stick with throughout your undergrad. You should also seek volunteer and work experiences that can boost your resume. 

While gaining pharmaceutical or research experience would be ideal, any experience that helps you hone skills necessary to be an effective pharmacist, like leadership, interpersonal skills, organization, and critical thinking, should be pursued.

Begin Preparing for the PCAT

Most students write the PCAT during the summer after their sophomore or junior year. Consider your other commitments and choose a time period that works best for you. Ensure you research the best resources to use, give yourself at least three months to study, and set a realistic study schedule to follow. 

Junior Year

In your junior year, you should continue pursuing extracurriculars and building your resume. You should also gather your other application materials:

Write the PCAT or Retake It

If you haven’t written the PCAT yet, you should do so during your junior year in case you need to retake it. You can wait to write the exam during the summer of your junior year, but keep in mind that applications open in July.

Ask for Letters of Recommendation

You should maintain strong connections with your professors throughout your undergrad, but especially in your junior year, so you can ask for letters of recommendation. 

Begin Writing Your Personal Statement

Write at least a rough draft of your personal statement at the end of your junior year and continue revisiting and revising it throughout the summer. By this point in your undergrad, you should have a strong understanding of your motivations, values, and goals. 

Create a Resume

The final application material to work on at the end of your junior year, or during the summer after it, is your resume. Include all relevant experience, awards, and publications you’ve acquired during your undergrad, and leave room for more! You may pursue more opportunities during your senior year.

The Beginning of Your Senior Year

You should submit your application early into your senior year, preferably in October or November, for regular applications. 

At this point, you should only be adding the finishing touches to your application:

Edit Everything Thoroughly

You may want to add or remove a few sentences from your personal statement, depending on if your perspectives have changed, or you’ve gained new insight within the last few months. 

Complete your resume by including any additional experiences and accomplishments you’ve received, and edit all components of your application several times before submitting them.

Complete the Supplementary Application

Once you complete the primary application, you’ll receive an email to complete the supplementary application. Again, complete this early so the admissions committee can begin assessing your candidacy as soon as possible.

Pharmacy School Application Deadlines

We’ve gone over the pharmacy school application timeline we believe you should follow. To ensure you submit your application on time, here are the deadlines for the top 10 pharmacy schools in the nation:

School Priority Deadline Final Deadline
The University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill October 2, 2023 February 1, 2024
University of California - San Francisco October 2, 2023 December 1, 2023
University of Michigan October 2, 2023 March 1. 2024
University of Minnesota November 1, 2023 March 1, 2024
University of Florida October 2, 2023 February 1, 2024
University of Kentucky October 2, 2023 May 1, 2024
Ohio State University November 1, 2023 April 1, 2024
Purdue University None December 1, 2023
University of Illinois - Chicago January 4, 2024 March 1, 2024
University of Texas - Austin October 2, 2023 February 1, 2024

Source: US News, PharmCAS Directory

Priority deadlines are the dates law pharmacy schools suggest you apply by in order to ensure you have the best chances of acceptance. 

If your school doesn’t have a priority deadline, it may not accept students on a rolling basis. To err on the side of caution, though, you should still submit your application early into your senior year.

FAQs: Pharmacy School Application Timeline

For any remaining questions on the pharmacy school application deadlines, read on to find your answers.

1. How Long Does It Take to Hear Back for Pharmacy Schools?

While the timeline varies depending on the school you’re applying to, it typically takes a few weeks to hear back from admissions committees. The general rule of thumb is the earlier you apply, the earlier you receive your decision. 

There is often an influx of last minute applications right before the deadline that can take much longer to review, which is yet another reason to apply early into the application cycle!

2. When Is It Too Late to Apply for Pharmacy School?

Each school will have its own final deadline to apply to pharmacy school, which can range from December to June. Any applications past this deadline will be too late for consideration. 

3. When Can I Start Applying for PharmCAS?

PharmCAS applications open in mid-July.

4. When Is the Best Time to Submit My Application for Pharmacy School?

You should aim to submit your application by the priority deadline or in October or November of the application cycle.

5. Do Pharmacy Schools Care When You Apply?

As long as you apply to your desired schools before the final deadlines, your application will be fairly assessed by the admissions committee. However, there will be fewer spots available at the end of an application cycle, meaning there will be more competition and the judges will have to assess your application harsher.

6. What Do I Have to Submit for My Pharmacy School Application?

Most pharmacy schools require you to submit:

  • Your undergrad transcripts
  • A PCAT score
  • A resume
  • A personal statement
  • Letters of recommendation

Many pharmacy schools also have science prerequisites you must take to be eligible for enrollment.

Final Thoughts

Your pharmacy school application doesn’t have to be daunting. If you begin early, take the time to create a strong application, and ensure you meet all the necessary deadlines, you’ll have a high chance of getting into your dream pharmacy school with as little hassle as possible!

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