Hi everyone! Here are some questions that I had about pharmacy/pharmacy school, so hopefully this list helps.
For which subject should I use my AP credit?
General Biology seems to be the popular pick. Because it's memory-intensive and coupled with a lab course, General Biology is very time-consuming. The Biology course at Rutgers is much more detailed and more difficult than a high school AP Biology class. I also don't think it's necessary to memorize photosynthesis and plants again because it's irrelevant to the pharmacy major (from my perspective). If you cannot or choose not to use AP credit for Biology, you will be taking one of the hardest course sets in your first semester: Biology, its recitation, and its 3 hour lab; Chemistry, its recitation and its 3 hour Lab; Calculus and its recitation, and Expository Writing. Replacing Biology will free up a lot of time for extracurriculars, sleeping, working at a job, and socializing.
It is not recommended using AP credit for Chemistry because you must still take Chemistry Lab, and taking lab with the course will be much better for your lab grade. Also, you need General Chemistry to prepare for Organic Chemistry in the second year.
But it depends on your strengths/weaknesses, and you are most comfortable with doing.
What are the required textbooks for first-year students?
Calculus: Calculus Volume 1, Second Custom Edition for Math 135 by Strauss, Bradley, and Smith. ISBN: 0-536-80120-7. There's a solutions manual as well: ISBN is 0-13-067245-9.
The Calculus textbook and solutions book are not entirely necessary. You probably won't do the homework problems in the textbook because 1) it's optional; 2) you're assigned problem sets online called WebWork; 3) you won't know the answers because many of the assigned problems are not in the solutions book. However, the textbook is a good reference.
Chemistry: General Chemistry: Custom Edition by Hill, Petrucci, McCreary, and Perry
The Chemistry textbook and solutions book are very important! You also need to buy the Mastering Chemistry code, which is $40. If you buy it in a set at the bookstore, it should cost about $150 for everything. Buying the books used is a good option, but you need to buy the online code separately.
Chemistry Lab: Introduction to Experimentation by Donald Siegel
The Chemistry lab manual is part of your tuition's lab fees, and it will be distributed along with your goggles on the first day of lab.
General Psychology: Textbooks vary from professor to professor. Check the syllabus first.
Expository Writing: The New Humanities Reader by Richard E. Miller and Kurt Spellmeyer. ISBN is 0-618-98856-4.
(Sorry, I did not take General Biology so I do not know the required texts.)
I recommend purchasing used books from students and online sources instead of the University bookstore because you'll save a lot of money.
Where do most pharmacy students dorm?
Busch and Livingston. Busch is usually the first choice, though. However, in the first two years of the program, the courses are spread out on the campuses. So just pick the campus you like most and not just for ease of commute because it will be generally balanced.
Can you study abroad?
You cannot study abroad during the school year. The 6-year program is very inflexible in the aspect that you must complete all your prerequisites of your pre-professional years as according to the curriculum timeframe. However, you can study abroad during the summer after freshmen year.
Is housing guaranteed for Pharmacy?
Housing is guaranteed for freshmen. After freshmen year, it is based on a lottery system. The University also changed the policy this year to ensure that 20% of Busch will be reserved for engineering and pharmacy students. However, pharmacy majors are still susceptible to the RU Housing Screw (aka, you got a lottery number so high you have no chance at housing).
Can you manage a part-time job with the curriculum?
If you're able to get a job through the school's work-study program, working at a part-time job is not too big a problem because the hours are really flexible. If you're lucky to get a work-study position at a library, you will literally be paid to study. So, it's not that bad. However, if you have a job outside of the University, you just need to exercise careful time managment and good communication with your boss. I actually do not recommend getting a part-time job your first semester if you are taking the whole set of Bio, Chem, Calc, Expos all in one semester. The expectation of how much you need to study is alarmingly higher than that of high school. It's better to start off college with balance than trying to juggle everything immediately. Again, it's personal preference.
Should I get a job at a pharmacy?
It's recommended to be exposed to retail pharmacy (or even hospital pharmacy) during your pre-professional years. Call retail pharmacies and supermarket pharmacies around the neighborhood and ask if they are hiring any technicians. Also remember that this is not a summer job type of deal; you need to be available throughout the school year. Good luck!
What are the Pharmacy organizations on campus?
There is a Pharmacy Involvement Fair in the beginning of the school year that showcases all the Pharmacy organizations. They publicize it very well, so you can't miss it, especially if you got to the Big/Little picnic in the beginning of the year. Pharmacy Governing Council has selected officers and representatives for each class if you're interested in getting involved during the preprofessional years. I am currently a member of the professional pharmacy fraternity, Phi Delta Chi.
How much do you study?
A lot, especially during midterms and finals. There's a lot of material to learn. I no longer cram because it's impossible. The material goes into such depth that you cannot possibly "learn" all of it the night before an exam. Difficulty of the material is relative to each person. Once you fall behind, it's very difficult (not impossible, but challenging) to catch up again. I wish I took more AP classes in high school so I could be more comfortable with the material.
Are most of your friends pharmacy majors?
It's a balanced mix. I have a couple of pharmacy friends, but most of my friends are those who live in the same dorm and those I met at orientation. It depends on each person. Your classes are also mixed with everyone else, so you're not limited in any way.
How many people are dropped from the program?
I don't know and I try not to think about it.
Where do you get help for classes?
Professor and TA's Office Hours; Learning Centers on every campus; smart friends
How difficult is the placement exam?
I did not take the reading portion, but the math section was not too difficult. The first two sections are not too bad because they are mainly basic algebra problems. You cannot use a calculator so just be careful on arithmetic. The last part was harder because it was entirely precalculus. Remember logarithms, trig/unit circle. Do your best because placing into Calculus I is important to keeping with the preprofessional set curriculum time frame. Also, pharmacy has designated placement exam date, so it's a good opportunity to talk to some of your future classmates that day.
A Pharm.D. opens up many opportunities for interesting and rewarding careers. I'm currently the most interested in clinical pharmacy. However, I'm still not 100% sure about my major because I'm interested in a lot of subjects, not just pharmacy. It's not set in stone. But I am happy with my major right now. You can ask me again next year when I'm taking orgo whether I feel the same way or not.