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PharmD candidates received ‘conditional’ responses

“I got in!” sophomore Karly Grettenberg called to a friend in Olmsted Center last Thursday night.

Grettenberg was one of more than 90 students to be granted conditional acceptance into Drake University’s pharmacy school last week.

“It’s a huge relief just to know,” Grettenberg said. “It’s great not having to wait for that decision any longer and ever greater that it was the outcome I wanted.”

For Grettenberg and the other applicants, acceptance is conditional as Drake has a number of requirements students must meet before gaining formal acceptance into the professional program in June.

Students were required to complete a prodigious checklist before they were even considered. Applicants needed to attain 63 credit hours, including 11 science-, two math- and four pharmacy-related courses.

Then there’s the application due in early September of the interviewee’s sophomore year. Each candidate is required to apply to the national database for pharmacy schools called PharmCas, in which students were required to write personal statements and pay a fee.

Finally, each student is granted an interview before a panel of pharmacy professionals ranging from recent graduates and alumni to faculty and practicing pharmacists in the community.

“The next four years of our education, and hopefully our future careers, could rely heavily on the few minutes we spend with the panel in the interview,” Grettenberg said. “The whole process really helps you deduce what your actual goals are, what you want for your future and what you’re hoping to get out of your education.”

However lengthy the admission process was, Grettenberg said that the applicants were never in the dark about what was expected of them.

“Every visit to campus, every letter in the mail and every conference with any Drake representative clearly defined the pre-pharmacy admission guidelines,” Grettenberg said. “They told us the rules day one and being admitted is in our hands. It depends on our performance and our character defined by our professionalism, dedication and achievements.”

Had Grettenberg not been admitted, she wouldn’t have continued at Drake next year.

“Pharmacy school was not a guarantee, so I had a few back-up plans,” Grettenberg said. “Had I not received conditional acceptance, I’d be applying to transfer schools to study biotechnology and genetics or biomedical engineering with the hopes of being accepted to medical or dental school in the future.”

Just because some students weren’t admitted right away doesn’t mean they won’t be getting in this year.

“Conditionally denied students have an additional review at the end of the spring semester since final admission decisions are provided in June,” said Renae Chesnut, associate dean for the college of pharmacy and health sciences. “They’ll have several options and are encouraged to develop a back-up plan and register accordingly.”

Margaret Benhart was notified that she was “conditionally denied” last Thursday, but she is only a first-year student.  Benhart explained that the credits she brought in from high school were so well aligned with the pharmacy school requirements that she was able to condense the first two years into one, allowing her to apply early.

“I still need to finish all of my classes this semester as well as register for additional classes over the summer to meet Drake’s requirements,” Benhart said. “If I do those things, it will be up to the admittance board whether I get in early or not.”

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