Personal statement advice: pharmacy
If you aim to study pharmacy, then your personal statement will be a crucial factor in your application to make you stand out in this competitive field. Check out our top tips...
Research pharmacy as a subjectStanding out from the crowd when it comes to pharmacy means doing your research and really demonstrating your suitability, commitment and enthusiasm in a convincing way.
It’s a professional course you’re applying for here and it’s essential that you’ve gained an insight into the profession itself, ideally through a combination of background reading and, if possible, some personal experience too - even if it was just talking to a pharmacist or learning about it through visits to university open days or relevant events.
Use your statement to reflect on:
- your perceptions of what the profession is about and where you can see yourself within it
- the skills and qualities that will be required, both to study pharmacy and to practice it as a profession
- evidence of situations or activities where you’ve displayed some of these skills and qualities yourself.
What unis are looking for in pharmacy studentsInterpersonal skills: 'Being a good pharmacist involves more than academic excellence. You need to be good at interacting and communicating well with people from diverse backgrounds. Anything that demonstrates this ability looks good in your personal statement.', according to Dr Karen Ball, principal lecturer and admissions tutor at the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences at University of Portsmouth.
Understanding of the profession: tutors at University of Bath expect you to demonstrate:
- your enthusiasm and interest in pharmacy
- evidence of your understanding of the role of a pharmacist.
Awareness of the skills you'll need: on its website, Aston University offers some examples of how the emphasis of a pharmacist's role has changed and mentions some of the key skills for which you might want to show evidence in your statement. That's the kind of information you'll be expected to know.
Your wider reading: University of Reading reinforces that the best way to stand out from the crowd is through the way you explain what interests you about pharmacy and your comments on the relevant reading and research you’ve done and/or the experience you’ve had.
Commitment to the profession: Cardiff University’s selectors are looking for evidence of this and will assess your suitability by the way you demonstrate and evidence your 'knowledge of the science and practice of pharmacy' through your 'background reading or work experience'.
Clear language: this is a field where clarity and accuracy are essential, so reflect this in the way you approach your personal statement. It needs to be logical and easy to understand. Don’t try to stand out by being too flash or overcomplicated.
Relevant work experience: admissions tutors at Keele University are keen to hear about any relevant experience, what you feel you’ve gained from it and how it has helped you to understand more about what your future career in pharmacy might involve. See our guide to making your work experience count for tips on how to do this.
Relevant skills: reflect on any relevant skills you’ve gained in academic, social or work settings, whether it’s teamwork, communication, leadership, caring for others or how you balance work with relaxation. But don’t exaggerate this. Be mindful that tutors will also read your reference to see if it fits with what you’ve said about yourself in the statement.
Medicine / dentistry applicants: is it ok to put pharmacy down as a fifth choice?Not without great care! Several universities make it very clear on their websites that they will not consider you if pharmacy is a second option.
They expect you, and your statement, to be 100% committed to pharmacy. But if this is a strategy you are considering, do your research with individual universities. There may be certain circumstances where this is possible.
For more personal statement advice, see our article on 10 things to include and how to make your work experience count.
- Personal statement dos and don'ts: first-hand from uni tutors