Ask A Student Diplomat: What Happens In Your Pre-Professional Years

CasperoQuestion: What is the "pre-professional" phase of pharmacy school and what happens during this time?

Gregory Caspero: The pre-professional years are very important in terms of development for the professional phase of the pharmacy program. In addition to being the start of the college careers of many, these two years also serve as an opportunity to branch out and discover yourself in a new setting. Here are some things to expect in the pre-professional years at Duquesne:

Your classes will be harder than they were in high school: Classes such as General Chemistry, General Biology, and Organic Chemistry will be a step up from high school, but if you are willing to put in the time and effort, you can certainly perform well.

Many classes will not be in the sciences: Other than the classes listed above and Physics, the majority of your credits will be obtained by taking non-science classes. These provide students with a more well-rounded education, as well as interact with students and professors from various schools of study.

You will take 72 credits: This means that unless you have AP credit, you will most likely be taking 18 credits every semester of the pre-professional phase. While this might seem like a daunting task, it will prepare you for the professional phase, where taking more than 18 credits is commonplace.

You will meet lots of new people: Most freshman classes have more than 1,300 students, which means that you will not know the vast majority of these people. In addition, you will have professors that you will get to meet and build academic relationships with to help enhance your education.

You will have the opportunity to explore Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh is consistently towards the top of America's "most livable" cities, and it definitely lives up to the expectations. If you are not from the Pittsburgh area originally, Duquesne is located in downtown, and is close to many attractions, such as sports stadiums, museums, theatres, and local restaurants.

You will take the PCAT examination: PCAT stands for Pharmacy College Admissions Test, and is taken during the summer between a student's freshman and sophomore years. Duquesne has a specific score that they are looking for students to attain in order to gain entry into the professional phase of the program. There are prep books that students can use to study from, and the test covers the majority of concepts taught in the student's freshman year.

You will engage in a lot of community service: A requirement to gain entry into the professional phase of the program is for students to engage in community service. There are many service organizations on campus, as well as health care institutions for students to become involved.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University's academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim. 

It's time for bigger goals
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