Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Motivated high schoolers who have demonstrated their ability to learn, and know that they want to study pharmacy at the University of Iowa, can now apply to seal the deal sooner.

The college is holding some of the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) spots in the 2021-22 school year for this year’s high school seniors. Requirements to apply for the so-called “Assured Admissions” program include being admitted to the University of Iowa as a pre-pharmacy major, and having at least a 3.8 grade point average and a 25 on the ACT.

“This is us reaching out and recruiting to high schoolers, trying to start that pipeline and funnel to pharmacy school even earlier,” said Director of Admissions Lauren Garcia-Pastorek. “When I meet with prospective students, on the road or when they come to campus, this is something that I’m really excited to be able to offer them. It’s essentially a guaranteed admission to the College of Pharmacy.”

Each student accepted into the new program will be required to complete two years of pre-pharmacy and other coursework as undergraduates at the UI, while keeping a 3.0 or higher GPA. Students who meet these requirements will then be provided academic support and resources to directly transition into the College of Pharmacy for their PharmD studies.

“The Assured Admission program is a great opportunity for incoming students to focus their studies to pharmacy while being connected with other student pharmacists and faculty as mentors, which will increase their career trajectories” said Clinical Associate Professor and Dean of Student Affairs Susan Vos. “We expect it to also decrease the time to graduation, and costs.”

On a recent day, Garcia spoke to a small group of prospective students who were participating in one of many Hawkeye Visit Days held throughout the year. During these visit days, university staff and student volunteers guide several hundred visitors to campus through activities that are a warm welcome and introduction to student life at Iowa.

The students who visited the pharmacy building that day had chosen to explore the pharmacy major, out of more than 75.

Garcia touted the college, the university, and the area, followed by a panel of current PharmD students who offered their direct experience. The college admissions director talked about the “helicopters [that] shake my window”—referring to the uniqueness of attending pharmacy school so well integrated into other health sciences on campus—the college’s high rankings, its new building on the cusp of opening, and many other reasons to consider the UI College of Pharmacy.

She spoke of the many paths into the College of Pharmacy. When the topic turned to the Assured Admissions Program, she made eye contact with a high school senior in the audience.


Lauren Garcia-Pastorek

This is giving students a sense of comfort and relief in knowing if they have a spot in the program.

“Essentially, you can have a clear path directly from high school to the College of Pharmacy so long as you maintain a 3.0 GPA once you’re here at the University of Iowa,” she said. “It’s a pretty nice weight off your shoulders that way.”

Garcia added that spots for a certain upcoming class of students—no matter which path each person takes to being admitted—are rolling. As such, the spots get more competitive as time passes.

“This is giving students a sense of comfort and relief in knowing if they have a spot in the program,” Garcia told staff members at the college this fall. “It’s also guaranteeing us that we’re bringing in a strong caliber of student directly out of high school.”

The students need to complete two or three years of prerequisite courses as an undergraduate before beginning pharmacy school, which generally lasts four years.

The deadline to apply for consideration for the Assured Admission program is January 31. Deadlines for other paths to the college vary.

The initial group of Assured Admission students will be selected on or around March 1.

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