My facilitator for Therapeutics Seminar in the fall was at PGY-1 resident at Harvard Vanguard and a 2011 graduate of URI College of Pharmacy. In preparing for a Resident Discussion, he gave us some tips about applying for a residency. I'm going to relay this information on to you, we all need as much info as we can get!
As 5th years, it is difficult to add more extracurricular activities and leadership roles to your CV. Things you could add to boost it are:
- Present a poster at a national meeting such as APhA or ASHP. There are many ways to present a poster without having done original research. Speak with a faculty member for some ideas.
- Be a delegate for your school at a national meeting
- Submit a case report or submit a review article for publication. It is unlikely that it will be accepted by the time you're interviewing for residencies, but it is a great conversation piece. Case reports are the simplest way to publish. They often involve a unique side effect to a drug not previously described in literature. Keep an open mind to unique experiences on rotations, as they may lead to publishing opportunities.
Seek rotations in areas you are interested in, not just those that are easy. If you are seeking an inpatient residency, having some more experience in critical/acute care may help.
Document key experiences while on rotations. These may be interventions or presentations. Interviewers are going to ask about these and having them fresh in your mind will be great during the interview.
Start researching programs early and keeping a folder with information.
Attend the ASHP Mid-Year meeting.
Polish up your CV.
Large residency programs affiliated with Schools of Pharmacy and in big cities are the most popular programs and are likely the most difficult to get into.
Lastly, the best piece of advice is to be prepared for the interview, look professional, and to act enthusiastic about the opportunities available. All students who get an onsite interview are fully qualified. Make a great impression! Little things like a smile and some positive small talk go a long way. They help loosen the mood. Interviews are full day events and you often have to present a 15 minute presentation of something you have done. Remember you are always being interviewed with every person you meet. Above all, residency programs are looking for students that fit into their programs, not necessarily the ones with the most polished CVs.
Hope this helps! And don't forget to join us on Tuesday the 24th to meet 3 more residents all with very different experiences as to how they got there.