Best Pharmacy School Extracurricular Activities - The Ultimate Guide

April 26, 2024
5 min read


Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 4/26/24

Pharmacy school extracurricular activities provide students with opportunities to enhance their education and develop valuable skills. Let’s explore which ones to focus on and how to get involved. 

If you're gearing up for a pharmacy school application, you're likely aware that it's not just about your grades and test scores. Pharmacy schools are looking for candidates who bring more to the table, and that's where extracurricular activities come into play. 

They can make you stand out and show your commitment to the profession. In this guide, we'll walk you through how to discover and choose the best extracurriculars for your pharmacy school application.

So, let's dive into the different types of extracurricular activities that can give your pharmacy school application a significant boost.

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What Extracurricular Activities Are Important in a Pharmacy School Application?

In this section, we’ll take a closer look at some of the key extracurricular activities that can strengthen your pharmacy school application. 

Pharmaceutical Research Opportunities

Pharmacy school offers students the chance to go beyond their regular classes and get involved in hands-on activities like pharmaceutical research. This means they can help advance our knowledge in the field of pharmacy while gaining valuable skills.

Students can get into pharmaceutical research in different ways. They might work in a research lab with their professors, helping with ongoing projects. For example, they could study how well certain drugs work or find better ways to deliver medications to patients.

Some students might even have the freedom to choose their own research topics and carry out their projects. This independence allows them to explore specific areas they're passionate about within the pharmacy field.

In short, getting involved in pharmaceutical research as an extracurricular activity in pharmacy school is a fantastic opportunity. It helps students learn, contribute to their field, and develop important skills outside the classroom.


Shadowing experienced pharmacists is a great way for pharmacy students to learn about what it's really like to be a pharmacist. It's not just about confirming your interest in the field; it's about showing that you're committed to understanding the job deeply. You can do this by watching and learning from pharmacists in different places, like hospitals or community pharmacies.

When you shadow in a hospital, you get to see how pharmacists work closely with the healthcare team to make sure patients get the right medicines. They review medication plans, check for any problems, and talk to patients about their medications.

In a community pharmacy, you'll see how pharmacists help people directly. They fill prescriptions, give advice on over-the-counter medicines, and handle the day-to-day operations of the pharmacy.

By shadowing, you'll get a real-world view of pharmacy and gain valuable insights that will help you in your studies and future career, all while demonstrating your dedication to understanding the profession inside and out.

Volunteering and Community Service

Pharmacy is all about helping others, and when you take part in community service activities, you show your dedication to this important aspect of the profession. This means volunteering at healthcare clinics, organizing health campaigns, or joining medical missions to make a positive impact. 

For example, when you volunteer at a free health clinic and help people understand their medications better, you're not only learning but also directly helping those who might not have easy access to healthcare. It's a way to give back and be a healthcare advocate.

Involvement in Pre-Pharmacy Clubs and Associations

Getting involved in pre-pharmacy clubs and associations can be really beneficial for your future in pharmacy. These groups are like communities where you can meet other people who are interested in pharmacy, just like you. 

For example, joining the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) or your university's pre-pharmacy club can help you connect with fellow students and professionals who share your passion for pharmacy.

But just joining isn't enough. If you actively participate and take on leadership roles, it can make a big difference. This means organizing events related to pharmacy or leading teams within the club. It shows that you're dedicated and a good leader, which can be very attractive to future employers or pharmacy schools.

Plus, being part of these clubs can also give you the chance to meet and learn from experienced professionals in the pharmacy field. So, getting involved can really help you stand out and make valuable connections for your future career.

Clinical Experience

Getting hands-on clinical experience in a healthcare setting can be a game-changer for your application. Working as a pharmacy technician, intern, or assistant provides practical knowledge of pharmaceutical processes, medication management, and patient interaction. 

For instance, if you work as a pharmacy technician in a hospital, you'll be exposed to complex medication regimens and patient care in a clinical environment. These extracurricular activities not only demonstrate your commitment to the pharmacy profession but also help you develop crucial skills such as communication, teamwork, adaptability, and leadership. 

These are the qualities that pharmacy school admissions committees value because they indicate your readiness to excel both academically and practically in pharmacy education. In essence, the right extracurricular activities can elevate your pharmacy school application by showcasing your passion, dedication, and preparedness to become a successful pharmacist. 

So, choose activities that resonate with your interests, engage deeply in them, and use them to paint a comprehensive picture of your qualifications as a future pharmacy student and healthcare professional.

How to Find the Best Pharmacy School Extracurriculars

In this section, we'll guide you on how to navigate the process of finding the best extracurriculars for pharmacy school. We'll explore various options and strategies to help you make informed choices that align with your goals and aspirations in the field of pharmacy. 

Pharmaceutical Research Opportunities

Pharmaceutical research is like the treasure trove of pharmacy school extracurriculars. We'll take a closer look at how you can get involved in research and why it's a fantastic option to consider during your academic journey.

How to Find Pharmaceutical Research Opportunities

  • University Research Programs: Many academic institutions have robust research programs in pharmaceutical sciences. Professors and researchers often require students to assist with their projects. Don't hesitate to reach out to faculty members and express your interest in participating in their research endeavors.
  • Pharmaceutical Companies: Consider exploring internships or research positions offered by pharmaceutical companies. These experiences provide valuable insights into industry-driven research and the potential for developing new medications.
  • Pharmacy Associations: National and local pharmacy associations often collaborate on research projects or have partnerships with research institutions. Joining these associations can open doors to engaging in research activities.
  • Online Databases: Utilize online platforms like ResearchGate and PubMed to identify ongoing research projects that align with your interests. Reach out to the researchers involved and express your enthusiasm for contributing to their work.


Ever wondered what it's really like to be a pharmacist in the real world? We'll explore the importance of shadowing experiences, how to secure them, and how they can give you a sneak peek into the daily life of pharmacy professionals.

How to Find Shadowing Opportunities

  • Pharmacy Contacts: Networking is a powerful tool for finding shadowing opportunities. Connect with local pharmacists or pharmacy managers and express your interest in shadowing. They can provide insights into the profession and may be willing to mentor you.
  • Pharmacy Schools: Some pharmacy schools offer shadowing programs like UCSF's PharmD program for aspiring PharmD students to gain hands-on experience with practicing pharmacists in various clinical settings.
  • Pharmacy Associations: Joining pharmacy associations can provide access to shadowing opportunities, as they often have partnerships with healthcare providers. Attend association events and conferences to network with professionals who may offer shadowing experiences.
  • Hospital Pharmacies: Hospitals are excellent settings for pharmacy shadowing. Contact the pharmacy department of a local hospital and inquire about shadowing opportunities. Pharmacists in hospitals often have diverse roles, providing a comprehensive view of the profession.


Giving back to the community is a big part of being a pharmacist. In this section, we'll chat about the many ways you can lend a helping hand while gaining valuable skills and experiences that go beyond the classroom.

How to Find Volunteering Opportunities

  • Local Organizations: Non-profit organizations, charities, and healthcare facilities are often in need of volunteers. Reach out to these organizations directly and express your willingness to contribute. Volunteering in healthcare settings can be particularly beneficial.
  • Pharmacy-Related Initiatives: Some pharmacies or pharmacy associations organize community outreach programs that combine your passion for pharmacy with community service. Keep an eye out for such initiatives and actively participate.
  • University Programs: Many universities have community service clubs or programs that facilitate volunteer opportunities. Joining these clubs can provide structured volunteering experiences and allow you to collaborate with fellow students.
  • Online Platforms:  Websites like Idealist list a wide range of volunteer opportunities. You can search for roles that align with your interests, whether it's providing healthcare education, assisting underserved communities, or participating in health-related events.

Involvement in Pre-Pharmacy Clubs and Associations

Ready to join the club? We'll talk about why becoming an active member of pre-pharmacy clubs and associations is a smart move, including how taking on leadership roles can make you stand out and build your skills.

How to Find Pre-pharmacy Clubs and Associations

  • University Clubs: Most universities have pre-pharmacy clubs or organizations. Joining your university's pre-pharmacy club is a fantastic way to engage with peers who share your aspirations. These clubs often host events, guest speakers, and workshops related to pharmacy.
  • National Pharmacy Associations: National pharmacy associations, such as the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), frequently have student chapters. These chapters offer resources, networking opportunities, and a platform to stay updated on industry trends and developments.
  • Online Resources: Explore websites and forums dedicated to students like you. Websites like the Student Doctor Network or dedicated subreddits can be particularly useful. They often feature threads where students share their experiences with different clubs and associations, helping you make informed choices.
  • Local Pharmacy Networks: Connect with local pharmacists or pharmacy managers to tap into your local pharmacy community. They can guide you to pre-pharmacy clubs, associations, and extracurricular opportunities while providing valuable advice and support on your journey to pharmacy school.

Clinical Experience

Clinical experience is where you put your knowledge into action. We'll discuss how to get these hands-on opportunities, what you can expect, and how they prepare you for your future career as a pharmacist.

How to Find Clinical Experience Opportunities

  • Hospital Pharmacies: Hospitals often offer pharmacy internships or externships for students interested in pharmacy careers. Contact the pharmacy department of a local hospital to inquire about available opportunities.
  • Retail Pharmacies: Both chain and independent retail pharmacies may have positions for pharmacy technicians or interns. Working in a retail pharmacy setting exposes you to a wide range of patient interactions and medication dispensing processes.
  • Long-term Care Facilities: Nursing homes and long-term care facilities sometimes employ pharmacy technicians or assistants. These roles provide valuable clinical experience in a specific healthcare environment.
  • Pharmacy Schools: Some pharmacy schools offer programs that enable prospective students to gain clinical experience within their academic institutions. Explore whether the schools you're interested in provide such opportunities.

Community Service

Community service is not just about good deeds; it's a vital part of pharmacy. We'll chat about the different ways you can get involved and why it's important for shaping you into a well-rounded pharmacist who makes a positive impact.

How to Find Community Service Opportunities

  • Local Organizations: Non-profit organizations, religious institutions, and community centers often organize community service events. Reach out to these entities directly to inquire about upcoming opportunities to get involved.
  • University Initiatives: Many universities have community service clubs or programs that coordinate volunteering efforts. Joining these clubs can lead to structured community service activities, and you can collaborate with fellow students to make a meaningful impact.
  • Online Platforms: Websites and apps dedicated to volunteering, such as VolunteerMatch and, provide access to a wide range of community service opportunities. You can search for roles that align with your interests and availability.

To sum it up, choosing and participating in the right extracurricular activities for pharmacy school admissions takes a mix of initiative, networking, and a real love for the field.

And don't forget, being involved in extracurricular activities can also make you more appealing to scholarship committees. They want to see that you're not just academically inclined but also a well-rounded individual with a commitment to your field. So, go ahead and dive into those extracurriculars—they can pay off in more ways than one!

Keep in mind that these experiences should do more than just look good on your application; they should mirror your commitment to building a fulfilling career as a pharmacist. 

By fully engaging in these extracurriculars, you not only boost your application but also set yourself on a path toward a successful journey to pharmacy school. Best of luck on your exciting journey ahead!


Keep reading for answers to common questions about pharmacy school extracurricular activities. 

1. What Extracurricular Activities Should a Pharmacist Include in a CV?

Pharmacists should include activities like membership in professional organizations, research involvement, volunteer work, shadowing experiences, leadership roles, community service, teaching or tutoring, and pharmacy internships.

2. What Majors Are Best for Pharmacy School?

While pharmacy schools don't require specific majors, common choices include pharmaceutical sciences, biology, chemistry, biochemistry, and pre-pharmacy programs. The key is to fulfill prerequisite courses and maintain a competitive GPA.

3. What Hobbies Should a Pharmacist Have?

Pharmacists' hobbies can vary widely, but some beneficial ones include reading healthcare literature, staying active, cooking and nutrition knowledge, language learning, travel, artistic pursuits, and community involvement. Choose hobbies that align with your interests and promote a balanced lifestyle.

Wrapping Up

In summary, extracurricular activities play a key role in your pharmacy school journey. They demonstrate your commitment and equip you with essential experiences. Whether you choose research, shadowing, volunteering, club involvement, clinical exposure, or community service, each enriches your path in its own way.

To find the right activities, connect with professionals, join relevant clubs, and explore online resources that align with your passion for pharmacy. Your chosen activities should reflect your dedication to the field.

So, as you navigate your way to pharmacy school, remember that these experiences not only bolster your application but also prepare you for success in your future pharmacy career.

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