Applying to Residency Programs

Professional student pharmacists who are interested in applying for residency programs should begin planning in the P3 year or early summer of the P4 year. 

See some PGY1, PGY2 and Fellowships our graduates have received.

Your plan should include the following

  • Research available residency programs.
    • Search and review online resources.
      • Begin by looking for locations you would like to go, the type of program you are interested in (e.g., PYG-1 or combined), number of positions available, the type of residency, salary, benefits and other related information.
      • ASHP
  • Prepare your curriculum vitae (CV).
    • Determine what you should include and think about sections that make you stand out.  This might include leadership roles, special projections, unique rotations, or your involvement in organizations or any combination thereof.
    • Plan things you can do during your P3 and P4 year that may help you stand out.
      • Consider more involvement in organizations.
      • Look for leadership opportunities (school, local, state, and national organizations) and projects you want to take part in, etc.
      • Consider unique service roles (e.g., collegewide committees).
      • It is highly recommended to participate in extracurricular community service activities (e.g., Project SHINE).
      • Consider participating in clinical skills, or other similar competitions, at the local, state, and national levels
      • Consider working on research with faculty in either academic or clinical arenas
    • Send your CV to faculty members, preceptors and mentors (who are willing to help) for review and input.

Talk with faculty members, preceptors and mentors about residency programs and your career and practice interests.

  • Identify a faculty mentor with a practice interest that is similar to your own.
  • Meet with this mentor regularly to discuss your plans, the residency or residencies you are interested in, etc.
  • We recommend that you meet at least once a semester; twice if your mentor is available.
    Plan elective rotations in your P4 year that are consistent with your practice interests.  Also consider elective rotations that have a scholarly component (e.g., research).
  • Network with Rangel College of Pharmacy alumni who are in a residency program.
    • A good opportunity to learn more about residency programs.
  • Develop your professional network by attending local, state, and national meetings.  Also plan to attend:

What to do during the late summer or early fall of your P4 year:

This is the time to determine where you will pursue your training and to make preparations to complete an application and to participate in interviews (if invited). 

  • Make a calendar of important deadlines.
  • Contact the contact person for the residency or residencies you are interested in and talk with them about the residency to ensure that the training they offer matches your career and practice goals. 
  • To prepare interviews, keep a list or journal of interesting conversations or situations with patients, preceptors, and other health care providers while on rotations.
    • Include challenges and how you overcome them and what you learned.
    • Use this list to determine your strengths, weaknesses, and to prepare for behavioral interview questions.
    • Finalize your CV and update as needed.
    • Begin writing your letter of intent.  
      • The letter should be specific for each program and include how your interests and skills match with that of the program.
      • Identify preceptors, faculty, and employers that are willing to write a letter of recommendation.
        • Ask them to write about you as a person and your knowledge, skills, and experience.
        • Attend and network at pharmacy meetings.
          • ACCP Annual Meeting (registration opens in June).
          • ASHP Midyear Meeting (registration opens in July).
            • When planning to attend a meeting, remember to make travel arrangements and request time off from preceptors as early as possible.
            • Find opportunities to participate in research projects, write case reports, or make poster presentations.
            • Continue to look for residency programs that are of interest to you.
            • Register for the Pharmacy Online Residency Centralized Application Service (PhORCAS) and the National Matching Service.
              • Official transcripts must be sent to PhORCAS.  
              • While on rotation, look for opportunities to present interesting cases.  This will help when preparing to interview for a residency program because often times you are required to give a case presentation.  You will be a step ahead if you have already given one.

 What to do in October and November of your P4 year:

At this time, you should preparing applications for the programs you are interested in.  You should also:

  • Continue to attend residency showcases.
    • Plan to take your CV and other materials to these events to network.
    • Try to speak with representatives from programs you are interested in and remember to prepare thoughtful questions for them.
    • Register for the match 
    • If possible, plan to attend ACCP meeting.
      • Use it as an opportunity to network and to participate in relevant programs, workshops and discussions.  For example:
        • Clinical Pharmacy Career Path Roundtables
        • Attend ACCP Residency and Fellowship Forum
        • Curriculum Vitae and Portfolio Development Workshop
        • Education and Training PRN Mock-Interviewing Session
        • If you plan to attend the ASHP Midyear meeting, do the following:
          • Read the schedule – most student activities are on Sunday.
          • Become familiar with the Residency Showcase listings (includes locations and times).
          • Dress professionally.
          • Develop questions for representatives for each residency program.
          • You might consider registering for the ASHP Personnel Placement Service (PPS).
          • You might also consider contacting residency program directors via email to introduce yourself and ask if it is possible to meet sometime during the meeting.

 What to do in December of your P4 year:

  • Complete your plans for the ASHP Midyear meeting
  • Finalize appointments.
  • Prepare your schedule.
  • Continue to look for networking opportunities.
  • Make sure to follow up with everyone you met after returning from the meeting.
    • Submit applications to the residencies you are interested in.
    • Be sure to review application requirements for each program.
    • Pay close attention to application deadlines.  It is important that your application is on time.
    • Remember to start working on letters of intent and cover letters early (see “What to do during the late summer or early fall of your P4 year”).
      • Formally request recommendation letters. 

What to do in January and February of your P4 year:

This is the time when interviews are scheduled and you should be prepared.   

  • Plan for interviews by letting your preceptor know that you applied for a residency position and that you may need to schedule time off to participate in an interview.
  • Remember to follow standard policies regarding absences during your P4 year.  
    • Prepare for your interview or interviews.
    • Research each program thoroughly and carefully.  Use that research to develop pertinent and thoughtful questions. 
    • Practice answers to common interview questions.  Prepare with a list of 110 common questions asked during a residency interview.
      • After each interview:
        • Send a thank you note to each person you interviewed with.
        • Reflect on the interview and make a pro/con list about for the program.
        • Send follow up questions to program directors and/or current residents to clarify information.
        • Meet with your mentor to review each program and finalize your decision.  This is particularly important if you were offered multiple slots.
        • Develop rank list for the National Match program (due in March).
*Developed using “Suggested Timeline for Residency Preparations” from Texas Tech University Health Science Center, School of Pharmacy, Office of Residency Programs.