Pharmacy Residency: Creating a Schedule for a Strong Application
Pharmacy Residency Preparation Specialists
Applying for residency in Pharmacy is a lengthy process that requires careful, sensible organisation. Here we will work through the core steps that must be taken, including preparing your CV.
The Pharmacy CV
Your CV must be designed to make you stand out – you should therefore consider what roles and achievements you already have, and equally which parts of your CV are relatively weaker and need work. This means that you must plan, in just your second or third year of Pharmacy, what more you might need to take on. This could include becoming more involved in different organisations, becoming involved in research projects, specific extracurricular activities (which can be demonstrated through achievement, naming of teams, etc), clinical skills exercises, and becoming involved in research.
As it gets closer to the point that you will need to properly draft and then submit your CV, you should send it out to faculty members for review and to receive their input.
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Recognise the Correct Residency Programs
Understanding which residency programs are right for you requires considerable thought. You should try to identify a faculty mentor with an interest, or range of interests, similar to your own, then meet with them as regularly as you can to discuss your plans. You should work with them to plan your elective rotations in your fourth year so that they are consistent with your future interests and the residency or residencies that you are eager to apply to. You should also try to network as much as you can with others throughout the university and state, and seek their guidance on the type of programs to apply to.
Chronological Order for Applying
During the late summer of your fourth year, you should take the time to research where you will apply. You should contact the relevant people at each residency that you are interested in and speak to them to understand the program and how you might be a fit for it. You should also create a calendar of the most important deadlines for the rest of the process.
Then, ensure that you have some form of journal which allows you to keep up with your experiences and any learnings that you have that are relevant for interviews or the application process.
Your CV should be finalised at this point, ready to update if needed.
You should also begin to write your letter of intent, which should be specific to each program.
You should identify faculty or employers that you believe would be suitable for writing letters of recommendation.
You might also choose to attend pharmacy conferences and meetings around this time – in tandem with this, you might look for opportunities to take part in research, write case reports, or make a poster presentation.
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You must register for PhORCAS at this point, and NMS, and your official transcript should be sent to PhORCAS.
In October and November, you should prepare applications for the programs that you are interested in. Ensure that you continue to attend residency showcases, that you speak to representatives from programs that you are interested in, and that you of course register for the Match. You may also attend the ASHP midyear training, or other relevant workshops and programs around this time.
In December of the fourth year, you should finalise your appointments and submit applications to the residencies that you are interested in. Make sure that you have reviewed requirements for each program, and that you are aware of the deadlines for the process. You should already have begun to prepare LOIs and cover letters well in advance (as early as summer). You should formally request your recommendation letters at this point.
In January and February, you should be preparing for interviews, and have spoken to faculty staff to alert them of interviews that you have scheduled. You should research each program that you are interested in, and have begun to work through practice questions. After any interview, ensure that you reflect on it and create a list of strengths and weaknesses, and that you contact program directors with any relevant follow-up questions or words of thanks as appropriate.