My Top Five Reasons for Moving to Kansas City!

By: Dasjah Mason, Class of 2022

My name is Dasjah Mason, and I was lucky enough to serve as student ambassador for the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy. I was born and raised in St. Louis and I absolutely love my hometown. Upon graduation, I was weighing the decision to stay in St. Louis or move to Kansas City for pharmacy school. There was a lot to take into account, but I wanted to share my top 5 reasons for moving to Kansas City and I have no regrets!

  1. CHANGE IN SCENERY: Something important to me when starting college was to have new experiences and find new things to discover. Moving to Kansas City gave me a complete clean slate to explore a new city and have a fresh start as I started to grow and know myself.
  2. DISTANCE: St. Louis is not too far away! With only a 3.5-hour drive, my family and I have made several weekend and day trips to see one another. Moreover, if you don’t have a car like I did my first two years, you can always catch a train to ride down for the holidays and breaks.
  3. ATHLETICS: I have been playing sports my whole life and a major reason for my move to Kansas City was receiving a track and field scholarship. If I would have stayed in St. Louis, I was not sure if I would continue playing sports, so it was an awesome opportunity to continue doing that at a D-1 collegiate level.
  4. FORMER STUDENTS: When I would meet current pharmacists and ask them questions about school, majority would have great things to say about UMKC. In addition, they mentioned that when they graduated, they felt prepared to move on into their careers.
  5. MY COLLEGE VISIT: I had so much fun during my college tour of the main campus and hospital hill. Everyone that I came across was incredibly nice and provided all the information that I needed to make a well-informed decision on choosing a school. I felt that UMKC would be a great fit for me and had all the tools and resources I needed to accomplish my goals. Even when I made it to campus, it still had the same energy that I saw when I visited, and it has not changed!

Where is Early Decision?

by Steve McDonald

“I have heard great things about Early Decision! How do I apply for it?” -Suzie Q. Applicant

Early Decision (ED) has been great for our program. Applicants who knew UMKC was their first choice program could lock themselves into a program before Halloween (which makes for some fun, relaxing trick-or-treating when you know what your future looks like)!

However, on the national level, Early Decision has been under review. ED was a binding agreement to apply to only one school. The UMKC School of Pharmacy faculty wanted a friendlier approach for our applicants.

Enter in: Early Action (EA). Early Action provides ^eligible applicants all the benefits of ED, without a binding agreement that admitted applicants must attend UMKC.

Early Action Benefits include:

  • First Interview Dates – September 25th or October 9th.
  • Fall 2020 Applicant Interview Dates will be virtual.
  • Early notification – applicants will learn the following Monday after interview regarding their admission status.
  • Relax a bit while completing remaining courses – Once admitted, your admission GPA is locked in. Which means you can complete the remainder of the prerequisite courses with a grade of C- or higher* to keep your admission.
    *Although, success in the Pharm.D. program will come from a mastery of the prereqs, so we strongly suggest loftier goals for prereqs completion.

Early Action is automatic for all ^eligible applicants who complete PharmCAS and the UMKC Supplemental Applications by September 15th.
^Interview invitations are not promised and are determined after college grades and other factors are reviewed.

If you’re worried about the PCAT, please don’t be. You may interview this year without PCAT scores. If admitted, we’ll ask you to take the exam by March.

Introducing NGRX Actions 3.0. In NGRX Actions 3.0, we have some… | by  Austin | Medium
Links to the applications can be found here.

How holistic review benefits you!

How holistic review benefits you! An overview of our application review process
By: Viktoria Phillips

One of the questions we most frequently get is, “Am I a competitive applicant?” To this question, there is rarely a straightforward answer, as we know that successful pharmacy students are more than grades and standardized test scores. To determine pharmacy school admission, we look at your application holistically, so emphasis is not just on one or two categories or numerical values. When we review an application, we look at a few different sections of your application. We review your GPA, transcripts, PCAT score(s), work/volunteer experience, evaluation(s), and personal statement. Read below to see what holistic review looks like at the UMKC School of Pharmacy.

The Sections of Holistic Review

GPA: When it comes to evaluating GPA, we must first ensure you’re meeting our minimums. If you don’t have a collegiate 2.75 cumulative GPA and a 2.5 math/science GPA, then you’ll be denied for not meeting GPA requirements. This is one requirement where we do not have any flexibility. If we admit someone who does not meet our published minimum requirements, we could lose our accreditation.

We can only consider grades through the fall semester of the year before you are planning to enter pharmacy school (so all college grades through Fall 2019 will be considered if you are planning to start in Fall 2020). Our average GPA for admitted students is around 3.5.

Transcripts: We like to think that every transcript tells a story. Your transcript may tell us you hit a rough patch one semester, that you pursued a major before pre-pharmacy, or that you’ve put in years of hard work and determination to achieve your dream goal. When your transcript shows strong grades and full-time enrollment, there usually isn’t much to worry about, but when you struggle for one or more semesters, your transcript has more to prove. When you hit a rough patch with your grades, we’re looking to see how the next semester(s) went – to determine how you overcame the challenge and recovered. We’re most likely going to ask about the courses where you’ve struggled, so don’t be afraid to acknowledge your challenges in your personal statement and/or in the special circumstances section (if applicable) of the PharmCAS application. We also consider your course load each semester. It is important to show that you can take a full-time course load and do well. We do understand that a full course load isn’t always doable, so be sure to discuss in your application how you are ready to handle a full and heavy load. We’ll also ask about this in the interview!

The PCAT: For many of the students we advise, the PCAT is the most anxiety-inducing aspect of the application. But we require the PCAT for very good reasons – It tells us so much about you! If you have a lower GPA/grades, the PCAT can show us that you’ve actually learned that material and have a strong innate ability (it can counteract those lower grades). If you have strong grades but a lower PCAT score, it may lead us to inquire about your test anxiety so we can assist you in overcoming this before taking tests in pharmacy school and beyond (think pharmacy licensing boards!). And if both your grades and PCAT are on the lower side, it allows us to ask questions to truly ascertain if pharmacy school is the best fit for you right now. The last thing we want is for you is to start pharmacy school and not make it past the first or second semester. So when you get anxious about the PCAT, just remember that it is one more piece of your application that tells us about who you are.

PCAT scoring notes: Students ask us all the time if their PCAT score is “good enough.” Here is a quick guide to PCAT scores:

  • Composite Score: Aim for a composite in the 40th Percentile. Our average composite score for admission ranges between 50 – 60th percentile, but 40% is still a strong score if standardized tests aren’t your thing.
  • Sub-scores (Biology, Chemistry, Reading, and Quantitative): These sub-score percentiles are averaged together to create your composite score. A higher score in one section will help balance out a lower score in another section, so be sure to focus on the subjects where you are strong in addition to your weaker areas. If any sub-score is below 16%, your application will go to a sub-committee for review.

Note: We are always happy to give feedback on PCAT scores, so send scores to if you ever want to know if your score is “good enough.”

Volunteer/Work Experience: We always make it clear to students that we do not require pharmacy experience to be eligible for admission to our program, but it is very helpful to have some type of healthcare/pharmacy experience even if it is shadowing or informational interviewing. When you’re in your interview, we’re really looking for three things: 1) Can you show us that you know what a pharmacist does? 2) Can you strongly articulate why you want to be a pharmacist? 3) Can you demonstrate an ability to communicate with diverse people and populations? If you don’t have healthcare or pharmacy experience, I strongly suggest exploring the web to look up current events in pharmacy and healthcare so you have strong talking points when it comes time for the interview. You can get started with the American Pharmacists Association Website. If you’re working or volunteering outside of the healthcare field, think about opportunities where you work with populations that are different than you (children, the elderly, etc.), positions that utilize strong communication skills, and positions that require compassion, clear decision-making, and patience in stressful situations.

Evaluation: This is kind of the easy one if you know who is going to write your letter of recommendation. An evaluator should be able to speak to your character, your ability to communicate, your reliability, your ethics, and your ability to persist when facing adversity. They should be able to show us why you’re a great candidate for pharmacy school. Choose an evaluator that knows you well and has seen you over the long haul. In our minds, one great letter is better than two mediocre ones, so plan who is going to complete your evaluation sooner rather than later!

Personal Statement: Your GPA, grades/transcript, evaluation, PCAT scores, and work/volunteer experiences all help us form a mental image of who you are. But, ultimately, the personal statement is what brings it all together and humanizes the application. The personal statement gives context to the numerical pieces of your application like GPA and PCAT score. A personal statement needs to have passion, clarity, and share a piece of yourself. A great personal statement should make us excited to meet you, tell us about your path to pharmacy school, and share your dreams for how you’ll utilize the degree after graduation. Use the personal statement to show us why you’re excited to be a pharmacist and to discuss your career trajectory up until this point in your life (even if that path is a little uneven or shaky). It’s always nice to be able to read the personal statement and feel like we know the applicant.

In Summary

At the end of the day, we use all aspects of the application to determine if pharmacy school is right for you. If you meet our qualifications, we’ll invite you in for an interview. We use the interview as an opportunity to get to know you better, ask questions to clarify any points on your application, and ultimately determine if you can handle the rigors of pharmacy school and the pharmacy profession. Should you get an interview, be sure to check out our Five Tips for UMKC’s Pharm.D. Program Interview. We look forward to seeing your application!

What does it mean to be “Pre-Pharmacy”?

By: Steve McDonald

Congratulations, you’re Pre-Pharmacy! But what does that even mean? You’re not necessarily pursuing a Bachelor’s degree, but you know you’re ultimately working towards the Pharm.D. degree. So what does that mean for your college experience? Below we’ll outline what Pre-Pharmacy means, from the label on your student record, to the coursework you’re taking, to how it impacts how you approach the professional school application timeline. We’ll cover it all so you can take full advantage of everything Pre-Pharmacy has to offer!

The Label

Your college or university will most likely list you as “Pre-Pharmacy” in the university records system. This is so they know where to send you for advice and academic advising. It is very handy when someone is trying to direct you to the office which can help you the best! Having one office to which you’re always directed also means you’re always working with the same people so they’ll really get to know you and you can build a strong rapport. An important note: Pre-Pharmacy is not a major, so if you want to earn a bachelor’s degree, be sure to add a major to your program of study!


General Chemistry & General Biology are prerequisites to get into a Pharm.D. program but students sometimes have a tendency to write these courses off as ones that don’t have much meaning. Don’t discount these courses! You need General Chemistry to be successful in Organic Chemistry, which is needed for Biochemistry, which is needed for Pharmacology. Similarly, you need General Biology to be successful in Cell Biology, which is needed for Biochemistry & Physiology, which are needed for Pharmacology.

And what does Pharmacology prepare you for? Pharmacology is needed for Pharmacotherapy, which is needed for Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience rotations (APPEs). APPEs then lead to the Pharm.D. degree. So all of this is saying that those “Pre-Pharmacy” courses are actually really important! You’re constantly building a foundation of knowledge to be successful in pharmacy school (where the stakes and tuition are much higher!). Plus the Pharm.D. coursework ultimately leads to attaining the Pharm.D. degree, passing your boards, and being a pharmacist. For an idea of what the 4-years of pharmacy curriculum looks like, click here.

Preparing to Apply to a Pharm.D. Program

Question: When does the Pharm.D. application process start for Pre-Pharmacy students?
Answer: It already has begun.

Okay, so that was a trick question, but the fact is that applying to pharmacy school can happen relatively quickly after starting college. How well you perform in any and all of the prerequisite courses has a direct impact on your admission. Grades are important. Can you recover from a poor performance in a class? Of course! In fact overcoming such obstacles may help you in the long run and show that you can persevere and adapt when struggling. As noted above, the courses you take directly impact your success as a pharmacist. It is important to hit the ground running when you start college courses. Sacrifice & study habits are important to learn (and unfortunately may mean less time hanging out with friends in other majors). You might have to stay home when your roommates go out or you might not make it home over the weekend for a family member’s birthday.

In addition to grades, your reputation is key. Pharmacy is a small world. Work at a pharmacy? Great! Ask your pharmacist for a letter or recommendation but know that what your pharmacist thinks of you will come through in that letter. The same goes for your college professors or anyone else you may interact with on your road to pharmacy school acceptance. How you interact with the faculty & staff you work with in a pharmacy school can go directly to the Pharm.D. admissions committee. A good rule to follow is: Always act as a professional.


So now you know a little more about what it means to be Pre-pharmacy. We always suggest working with your academic advisor at your current school to ensure you’re in the right classes. If you are wanting to apply to a pharmacy school that is different from your undergraduate institution, we suggest visiting with an advisor from that specific school. Each school may prioritize the components of your application differently for admission, so always reach out to that school to get an idea of what they’re looking for! Welcome to the world of pre-pharmacy…we’re glad you’re here!

How do I get from high school to pharmacy school?

How do I get from high school to pharmacy school? One Way – UMKC’s Early Assurance Program

By: Amanda Hoelting

I’m guessing you’re reading this because you’re in high school and you have an interest in pursuing a career in pharmacy, right? Well good! Here are some helpful hints for high school seniors.

The shortest path from high school to pharmacy school…

What is one big advantage to the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) program over other doctorate programs? No degree is required for admission!

For many students, the prerequisite courses can be completed in two years, so that by their third year of college they’re actually starting pharmacy school. These two years of prerequisite courses, plus four years of pharmacy school, means students can earn their Pharm.D. in as little as six years!

This is the shortest path to pharmacy school, not the only path to pharmacy school. If you think your path is going to look different (e.g. three years of prerequisite coursework, earning a bachelor’s degree prior to starting pharmacy school, attending a different institution for financial/scholarship reasons,etc.) check out this blog post which outlines the many paths to pharmacy school.

“Just follow the path that is right for you!” –Viktoria Phillips, Academic Advisor

“How you go about completing your prerequisite coursework is a personal choice made by you.  We’ll be here when you’re ready.” –Dr. PaulGubbins, Associate Dean, UMKC School of Pharmacy at MSU

UMKC’s Early Assurance Program…

For students finishing high school and thinking that the two years of prerequisites sounds like the perfect option for them, the UMKC School of Pharmacy offers the Early Assurance (EA) program. This selective program allows incoming college freshman priority status for the Pharm.D. program at UMKC and at Mizzou. Eligible high school seniors must apply and be admitted to the EA program.

The program is designed to help high-achieving high school students complete their prerequisite courses in two years and gives them specialized guidance in applying to the Pharm.D. program. They also get:

  • priority academic advising appointments (in Kansas City)
  • select access to the School of Pharmacy faculty,students and alumni
  • special workshops and social gatherings
  • are in a supportive cohort of students with the same interests and goals

EA students take a special pharmacy course their first semester of college where they begin to network with faculty, explore pharmacy careers, and learn more about the future developments in pharmacy. Outside of the classroom, EA students are supported by their pre-pharmacy advisor who organizes social, academic, and volunteer opportunities for the students.

Throughout their time in the EA program, staff host specialized workshops which cover topics like:

  • writing a personal statement
  • filling out the online pharmacy school application (PharmCAS)
  • how to have a successful interview
  • how to be successful in pharmacy school

If interested in applying for the EA program, please visit the following link to learn more about the requirements and application deadlines:

One Size Does Not Fit All – The Multiple Paths to Pharmacy School

One Size Does Not Fit All – The Multiple Paths to Pharmacy School

By: Viktoria Phillips

As the academic advisor in the School of Pharmacy, my job entails meeting with all pre-pharmacy students at UMKC and prospective pharmacy school applicants who are either in college or post-college. During these meetings, the questions and comments I most often hear center around the path each individual is taking to gain acceptance into pharmacy school.

Students seem to fear they are doing it wrong because their path doesn’t look like their friend’s or “that person they know who is already in pharmacy school.”

You might think, “Six years already sounds like too much school. Seven years scares me.” Please ask yourself, what do you want to be doing in ten years?  Would you like to be a pharmacist? Or working as something else. If the answer is “A Pharmacist,” the effort will be well rewarded. And trust us, college is fun (so fun, we decided to work at one!).  Pharmacy school is fun as well! Very challenging, but very fun.

So today, I am here to expel the rumors, calm the fears, and ease the worries. And if you take nothing else away from this article today, take this – there is no one correct path to pharmacy school.

So, you may be skeptical. You may worry. Let’s look at some of the potential paths to pharmacy school to show you how diverse the paths can be. I’ll cover the five main scenarios I’ve observed since working in this role.

“The Minimum” – Two Years of Undergrad: As the name implies, this is the minimum route to pharmacy school. We love to tell students that they are eligible to enter pharmacy school after their sophomore year of college as long as they complete our required prerequisite coursework (prerequisite coursework can be taken at any regionally accredited U.S.institution). And we share this information for good reason – it saves students and parents time and money! It also allows you to earn a professional degree in six years. It is the most efficient path to pharmacy school and a great option for students who are certain they want to go to pharmacy school and can excel in their prerequisite coursework.

Three Years of Undergrad: There are a few reasons why a student may choose to take three years to complete their undergraduate coursework. One reason may be that they are unsure pharmacy is the right career for them, so they want to take an extra semester or two to explore other career options through electives and major coursework.

Another reason why students may take three years of undergraduate classes is to strengthen their GPA. We’ve all had that difficult semester of college (Or was that just me?) and sometimes our GPA needs a little TLC. When students are struggling to meet our GPA minimums on the two-year track, I often coach them to slow their progress down a bit and spread out their classes. College can be a huge life transition, and sometimes a way to cope with this transition is intentionally scheduling your classes so that you can be the most successful while also balancing other responsibilities like work, family, and extracurricular involvement.  

Three years also offers applicants another year to study for the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT), and you’ll take the test with a little more coursework under your belt!

The Degree Before the Degree: For some students, earning a bachelor’s degree prior to starting pharmacy school is the best option. Some students want to have their bachelor’s degree because for them it is a special area of academic interest, or they decided,while getting their degree, that they really love pharmacy yet are so far along in their studies that they might as well finish their initial degree.

For others, a bachelor’s degree may be a good choice because pharmacy school is just not a viable option given their current academic or personal situation. I have met with multiple students who have a passion for pharmacy, love being a pharmacy technician, but they cannot make the grades needed in the prerequisite classes. That is not always an easy revelation to have – that pharmacy school isn’t the right thing for you right now – but sometimes you just need a little mental space to explore your passions and interests without the pressure of “I must get an “A” in this class so I get accepted into pharmacy school.”

Take it from someone who was pre-med for two years in college – sometimes there is pressure to continue on a path because you’ve told everyone “I’m going to be a (insert profession)!” It doesn’t mean that profession is right for you or will make you happy. Sometimes you just need some time to evaluate your true direction in life. Take the classes that sound exciting to you, and find what suits your strengths! If pharmacy is right for you, you can always come back to it later. Another reason I caution students to not “force” their way through prerequisite classes when they’re not succeeding is that in the School of Pharmacy we do not honor grade forgiveness. All college coursework is factored into your GPA, and if you’re continuously failing classes, this can be detrimental to pharmacy school admission.

A Career Change: It is not uncommon for someone to meet with me after being out of school for 5, 10, or 15+ years. For some people, they’ve been working in a different sector and want to make a career change, and for others, their life responsibilities have shifted and they can now prioritize their passion of becoming a pharmacist. Whatever the reason, it is always exciting to talk with people who have found their way to pharmacy after a time away from formal education. If this is you, it will be important for you to consider your grades in previous college coursework, if any previous coursework will count towards our required prerequisites, and to develop a plan for completing any missing prerequisites.

Complete the Prerequisites in One Year (Rare Option): Maybe you have completed close to 30 hours of college credit while in high school from a combination of AP, IB &/or dual credit. And you would really like to complete the prerequisites in one year while enrolled full-time at college. This is very, very rare. However if you would like to discuss this please come talk to us in person to discuss a possible plan.

Now that you’ve been able to read about the multiple tracks someone could take into pharmacy school, I hope you feel assured that no two paths need to look the same in order to become a successful pharmacist. We’d rather you take the path that is best for you,where you’re successful, than try to emulate anyone else! I promise you’ll be much happier for it!

Five Tips for UMKC’s Pharm.D. Program Interview

Five Tips for UMKC’s Pharm.D. Program Interview
By: Viktoria Phillips

So it’s finally happened…you’ve opened your email to find an invitation to interview at UMKC’s School of Pharmacy! Elation washes over you, the sun shines a little brighter, you cannot wait to tell your family and friends. But then you realize, you have no idea how to prepare…

Relax, we’ve got your interview prep covered with these five tips below:

Tip #1: Reread your entire application

You can never fully predict every question you may be asked during an interview, but you can come highly prepared. Several days before the interview, reread your entire PharmCAS application. You should know everything you wrote and that anything you wrote could be asked about. Next, look for any “holes” in your application. A “hole” is any gap in your application that may cause an eyebrow to raise…did you have a difficult semester where your grades are lower than other semesters? Did you perform poorly on one section of the PCAT compared to others? Make sure you can explain any gaps in your application in a positive way that shows a growth mindset. We don’t need you to be perfect, but we do want to ensure you can persevere and remain positive in light of challenging and stressful situations. Be accountable about what you could have done differently, or what you learned from the situation.

Tip #2: Select your interview attire

An interview is a time when you want to dress to impress. A suit for males is preferable, but a nice pair of dress pants with a button-up shirt and tie is also appropriate. A suit is also a good option for females, as well as a dress, or skirt (knee-length or longer) and blouse. Don’t have a suit? Don’t fear! Many colleges offer professional wardrobe programs through the Career Center on campus or you can head to your local second-hand store and buy dress clothes for a fraction of the cost. And remember, always iron your clothes and wear dress shoes (and dress socks if appropriate). You don’t need to spend a lot to look like a million bucks – a professional outfit, clean hair, clean nails, and a smile will do the trick!

Tip #3: Ditch the phone (and the smart watch)

In today’s world, we cannot go anywhere without our phones…except to the pharmacy school interview. We highly suggest leaving your phone in your car or turned off in your bag. You won’t need it during our half-day interview as we’ll have student ambassadors guiding you from each activity. And as far as a watch goes, wearing one is great! But we suggest forgoing a smart watch. You don’t need your arm buzzing when you get asked about why you want to be a pharmacist or how you’re faring in Orgo!

Tip #4: Practice eye contact & a firm hand shake + wait to be seated

This one is pretty straightforward, but not doing it could make an interviewer take a second look at an applicant. When you’re interviewing, it is very important to look the interviewer in the eye when greeting and speaking to them. It is not only respectful, but it also exhibits self-confidence. In addition, it is important to give a firm handshake when greeting an interviewer – ensure you firmly grip their hand (but don’t go breaking fingers now!) and shake 2 – 3 times. And lastly, always wait to be invited to sit down prior to an interview. You’ll want the interviewer to invite you to take a seat before you settle in for your conversation. These small details can make a large impact on the impression you give your interviewer!

Tip #5: Know the program and ask questions

Finally, be sure to fully research the program prior to interviewing. For example, at UMKC it will be important to know that we use telecommunication technology to engage in class across our three campus locations at the same time. It also is impressive to be familiar with faculty and staff names and to greet people with those names when you can. And make sure you come prepared with questions! There is no way you know everything about the school, or program, or class schedule, or campus culture, or faculty interests, or the best restaurant in town (you get my drift) prior to the interview. Bringing questions shows interest, enthusiasm, and a desire to be there.

Bonus Tip: Relax

We have invited you for an interview because we want to get to know you better! We’re excited that you’ve chosen us as your potential pharmacy school. The interview is our time to get to know each other and ensure you’ll be successful in our program. We want you to feel at ease and show us why you’ll make a great pharmacist. So when you arrive, smile, take a deep breath in, and exhale – we’re excited you’re here!


Interview with a Pharmacy Admissions Coordinator

Interview with a UMKC Pharmacy Admissions Coordinator
Admissions advice based on 10 years of reviewing UMKC Pharm.D. applications
By: Viktoria Phillips

At UMKC’s School of Pharmacy, we’re all about being as transparent as possible in our admissions processes. To help answer some admissions questions that you may have on your mind but are potentially too afraid to ask, we sat down with our Recruitment & Admissions Coordinator, Steve McDonald, to help address what applicants need to know about applying to pharmacy school. Steve has been reviewing Pharm.D. applications for over 10 years, so he knows a thing or two about what makes a strong application and a strong applicant. He works on our Columbia campus and has been with our school for almost 20 years. Below we address the questions we’re most often asked (or not asked but can tell you’re thinking) in regards to getting accepted into pharmacy school.

 Q & A with Steve McDonald: 

  1. Question: In your mind, what makes a strong pharmacy school applicant?

Steve’s Response: Passion. I always like to say that good science & math grades (3.0 Math/Science GPA or higher) and a decent PCAT will get your foot into the door for the admission interview. Once inside, a passion for the profession and a passion for learning really shines through to the faculty, alumni & students.

  1. Question: If a student is unsure if their PCAT score is good enough to get in, what should they do?

Steve’s Response: Applicants who are wondering about their scores should totally check in with somebody at the pharmacy school! In Kansas City, they can meet with Viktoria Phillips or Amanda Hoelting. In Columbia, they can meet with me! In Springfield, they can meet with Dr. Paul Gubbins who has served on the admissions committee. Or call me at 573-884-9683, or email at We all love talking about this stuff.

  1. Question: When should someone apply to UMKC’s pharmacy school? Is it too late to apply in the spring?

Steve’s Response: The earlier the better.  Our rolling admissions process is pretty cool, as we admit throughout the school year. The majority of the early applicants will know by Halloween if they will be in the Pharm.D. program or not. Especially if a certain campus location (Kansas City, Columbia, or Springfield) is important, we recommend applying early. There are also several reasons why students may choose to apply in the spring…it may be due to a lack of time to complete the application due to extracurricular activities, or a student having an epiphany over the winter break that pharmacy would be a great profession, or they’re just awaiting a January PCAT score – applying after winter break is definitely an option! We offer four interviews in the spring (one each month, January – April), and once you interview, you’ll have an admissions decision within two weeks.

  1. Question: What are your top three interview tips for a student who has received an interview?

Steve’s Response:

  • Tip 1: Be passionate. I have heard admissions interviewers comment, “the applicant couldn’t really articulate why they wanted to be a pharmacist.” Then again, I have also heard, “This student is ALL ABOUT pharmacy!”  You can guess which applicants the admissions committee responds to the best.
  • Tip 2: Work with someone ahead of time on your interview techniques. Find out about your nervous habits.  Avoid repeated usage of words such as “like,” “um,” & “you-know.” And practice hand-shakes & eye contact.
  • Tip 3: Arrive prepared for discussion. Your interviewers are going to want to know more about you. Be ready to talk about your academics, your pharmacy experience or research, and who you are as a person (family/friend support you have, how active are you outside the classroom, what do you do for fun and to cope with stress, etc.). As Associate Dean, Dr. Paul Gubbins likes to say, “The interview is not the time to be shy about yourself.”
  1. Question: If a student’s application is put on hold for fall grades and/or a new PCAT score, do they have a realistic chance of getting in?

Steve’s Response: Absolutely, this happens quite a bit.  Sometimes the applicant simply requires just a little something else to look really good. The best thing you can do if this happens to you is to stay optimistic.

  1. Question: What is your #1 piece of advice for someone applying to pharmacy school?

Steve’s Response: Honestly, to come meet with us. Grades, PCAT, and pharmacy experience are important…but that is pretty well known.  Meeting with us in person in Kansas City, Columbia, or Springfield will help answer those questions you’re wondering about and provide you additional advice you had not considered. It also allows us to get to know you as an individual and to provide personalized suggestions. Multiple times, I have heard applicants who come by to see me say, “I was really nervous about this whole process but a couple students I work with who are in the program, told me to come see you because I’ll feel better about everything.” And you know what, they did feel better after meeting with me!

We hope you feel more relaxed (or at least knowledgeable) about applying to pharmacy school after reading through our interview with Steve. If you want to apply to UMKC’s Pharm.D. program to start in Fall 2019, there is still plenty of time! Our deadline is March 1, 2019, and our application instructions can be found here. And if you’re not quite ready or have questions about applying for future admission cycles, just schedule a meeting with us. As Steve mentioned, we’re happy to meet with you at one of our three locations across the state! We look forward to reviewing your application!