GPAs, PCATs, and Coupons: Wilting Quality in Pharmacy School Admissions and the Impact on Pharmacy Faculty

  • Sara Thompson North Dakota State University School of Pharmacy


Introduction: The number of available seats in US pharmacy schools has reached unprecedented numbers as applications are on the decline.  A combination of forces signals that admissions to pharmacy school are becoming less selective.

Commentary: The conflict of balancing a need to fill the incoming class while maintaining selectivity is a growing problem in pharmacy education. Faculty may notice changes in the student quality and ultimately, program and graduate quality. Pressure from administration hinders faculty governance with negative consequences that impact faculty morale and the profession as a whole.  Maintaining a firm position in the face of reduced applications is challenging but necessary if we are to protect the students we seek to support as faculty and stewards of the pharmacy profession.

Implications: Faculty governance is at risk as pressure exists to admit less-prepared students into programs. Faculty must advocate for responsible leadership by initiating dialogue on admissions and selectivity. Furthermore, faculty mentorship programs need a new level of discussion that includes analysis and understanding of this paradigm in pharmacy academia. 


Article Type: Commentary


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Received 2020-06-15
Accepted 2020-09-24
Published 2020-10-01