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Getting Started as a Freshman Applicant

For many students the hardest part of planning for admission to college is figuring out just where to start. Getting yourself ready to enter college takes time and careful thought. If you are reading this then doubtlessly you’ve already given your career goals some thought and have included study of pharmacy among the possibilities for yourself. The information provided below is intended to help you know what it takes to become an informed and competitive applicant as a freshman pharmacy major.

LIU’s admission counselors review each application individually to identify students that have demonstrated strong academic abilities. Good academics alone, however, do not complete the entire picture. We seek students with experiences of community service and leadership. Personal characteristics of honesty and integrity, creativity and talent, as well as enthusiasm in the pursuit of expanding of your experiences and mind are particularly desirable and contribute to LIU Pharmacy’s strengths and diversity.

PLANNING YOUR HIGH SCHOOL COURSE WORK

Be sure to take the courses that will prepare you for college work in pharmacy. In consultation with your high school advisor you should certainly select a curriculum that interests and challenges you but importantly, due to the nature of study in pharmacy, your studies should have focuses in the sciences and mathematics. Freshmen applicants should have successfully completed, at the time of application, at least 15 college preparatory Carnegie Units, or the equivalent. High school course work should include:

  • 4 units of English
  • 3 units of mathematics (Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and Geometry) (See the paragraph immediately following this bullet list regarding advanced placement pre-calculus.)
  • 3 units of laboratory sciences (biology and chemistry required)
  • 3 units of social science
  • 2 unites of foreign language

The most competitive academic records for pharmacy will show advanced placement (AP), honors, International Baccalaureate (IB) or other advanced classes. We encourage you to pursue such courses as appropriate to better prepare you (as well as helping to demonstrate to us your readiness) for a rigorous academic program such as pharmacy. In particular, we most strongly encourage you to complete AP pre-calculus, take the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) pre-calculus exam or other method of demonstrating proficiency with pre-calculus. The first mathematics course in our two-year plan of study for the pre-professional program begins with calculus. Entering students who do not demonstrated proficiency in pre-calculus will most likely require additional mathematics courses beyond what is specified in the pre-professional plan of study which could lengthen the time of your studies.

Our applicants are expected to have a high level of performance in their course work and should show an increasingly strong academic record over the course of their high school studies. Our application asks for your high school to provide us with your GPA and class rank. While different schools consider GPA on various scales while even others do not report GPA or class rank at all, we consider both within the context of the academic program of your school.

Be sure to keep track of any awards or other special recognitions you may have received for your academic or scholastic achievement. On our application we ask you to name the awards you received, the dates they were awarded and to provide a description of the award.

SCHEDULING A VISIT

It’s never too early to schedule a visit to the campus. Not only will you get a better feel for the physical campus, you will find that your tour guide will be able to offer you a wealth of information about all that goes on here. So, be sure to ask plenty of questions!

To set up a private visit or a group tour of LIU Brooklyn, please send an email to admissionsevents@brooklyn.liu.edu, and check the campus website for open houses/information sessions and daily campus tours (Note: please specify whether or not you will require a tour of the Residence Hall facilities as well.)

TAKING COLLEGE ENTRANCE EXAMINATIONS

Like most institutions of higher learning LIU makes use of scores on college entrance examinations as part of its process to make admissions decision. One of the reasons for this is to provide a common criterion of academic proficiency that may be used to compare all of our applicants regardless of the high school they attended. We require test scores from either the SAT or ACT.

Students often wonder which of the exams, SAT or ACT, they should take. There is no simple answer to this question but there are differences in the exams that you should consider in making a choice. The SAT is directed more at your general reasoning and problem-solving skills while the ACT is more curriculum-based, or in other words, has a tendency to focus more on the acquisition of particular knowledge. As result there are different approaches to questioning on each exam. On the SAT you will probably need to spend time understanding exactly what you are being asked before you’re able to answer the question while the ACT tends to take a more straightforward approach in that its questions are often easier to comprehend on first reading.

There are also different emphases on the exams. ACT tests for more advanced mathematics as it addresses trigonometry in addition to the arithmetic, algebra I, algebra II and geometry concepts that appear on both exams. ACT also has a science section that SAT does not. While it does not test for specific science knowledge it does test your ability to read a provided set of facts and make reasoned conclusions about them. On the other hand, SAT has a stronger emphasis on vocabulary skills while the ACT focuses its attention on the structure of English such as grammar, punctuation and syntax.

The structures of the exams are also different. The SAT is nearly an hour longer exam than the ACT. On the SAT the various content areas are broken into ten sections while ACT is divided into four subject areas.

Your high school counselor should be able to provide you with guidance on selecting the exam on which you might best be able to demonstrate your abilities. In your high school sophomore year you can take the predictive tests (PSAT for the SAT and PLAN for the ACT) that imitate the style, content and material of the senior year tests. These tests allow you to practice for the SAT and ACT as well as to extrapolate the scores you’re likely to achieve on each. Test preparation companies also offer assessment exams that might help you make a choice between the two.

There are many alternatives toward preparing for the SAT or ACT. These include test preparation books available from most booksellers, in-person or online preparatory courses offered by various commercial companies or even private tutoring. There are differences of opinion among experts as to the value of such preparation and how much your scores on the exams might be increased by such preparation. Again, your high school counselor should be a good source of information to you as to what type of preparation you might want to pursue with respect to your particular situation.

PARTICIPATING IN EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

Grades and exam scores alone do not determine the qualities we desire in applicants. LIU Pharmacy desires students who have given of themselves through service to their schools and/or communities, demonstrated leadership among their peers, have special and unique talents beyond academics and who exhibit a desire to learn beyond the classroom.

Activities such as sports, dramatics, newspaper, music and a variety of special interest clubs highlight your talents and demonstrate what you are capable of reaching beyond your studies. Participation in these activities are important toward helping you to learn time-management skills you will need in college as you must appropriately balance your time between your activities, attending classes, doing homework, spending time with family and friends and getting enough sleep. Extracurricular activities will also help you develop conflict-resolution skills, particularly if you have assumed leadership positions. There will always be disagreements, personality clashes and power struggles wherever you go in life. Participating in extracurricular activities will aid you in listening to others, exhibiting supportive body language and discovering what is best for the group rather than for particular individuals.

For the Pharm.D. program, LIU Pharmacy has a particular interest in students who have demonstrated a compassion and dedication to their fellow humans by participating in service to community and the world at large. Volunteer service to hospitals, nursing homes, community health centers or other activities engaged in providing support to people with health care needs are particularly valuable toward learning about the types of roles and responsibilities that pharmacists and other health care professionals have toward patients. We realize that every student may not have the opportunity for such service. Other activities that demonstrate desires to improve the lot of humanity are also highly desired in applicants to LIU Pharmacy. Examples of the multitude of activities you might engage in could include charitable efforts for those who are disadvantaged in economic, social or other ways; work toward improving the environment; and assisting the elderly and/or children with special needs.

Our application includes space for those extracurricular activities that had the most impact on you during high school. For each activity we ask that you indicate your level of involvement, leadership positions you may have held and any awards which you may have earned through your involvement.

PREPARING A PERSONAL STATEMENT

Freshmen applicants are required to provide a 250-word minimum personal statement with their applications. The personal statement may address a subject that is important or meaningful to you, an issue about which you feel strongly, an experience that has greatly influenced your life or circumstances that you feel are important for the admissions committee to consider. The personal statement should be your own work, written by yourself. It is a good idea, however, to ask other people that know you well (friends, family members, teachers) to review drafts of your personal statement and hear their ideas as to how well the statement reflects yourself and your views on whatever topic you have chosen to write about.

OBTAINING A LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION

One of the most important parts of your application package will be a letter of recommendation. For freshmen applicants one letter of recommendation is required. Since you are not writing the letter it might seem as though this is the easiest part of putting together your application. Don’t be fooled as getting the best recommendation you can requires preparation and work.

The letter should be from a teacher, guidance counselor, adviser or supervisor who knows you well. In particular, those that are able to write the best letter of recommendation are individuals who have direct knowledge of your academic and personal qualifications for college study. At the start of your senior year in high school consider making a list of people you believe would provide a positive recommendation based on what they know about the quality of your schoolwork and personal characteristics. Approach each person on your list individually and ask for his/her thoughts about providing you with a letter. Those that have the highest regard for you will likely indicate that they regard it as an honor to be considered to write a letter of recommendation and will be enthusiastic to do so. For most of you, it will probably be among these individuals that you select your final choice to write the letter. 

Once you have selected your recommender make sure you provide him/her with everything they need to write the letter and submit it in a timely fashion. Carefully review the deadline for the writer of your letter of recommendation to make sure you allow him/her enough time to write a letter that is thoughtful and articulate. Our application includes a form for you to provide to your recommender that is to be included with the letter. You will need to fill out the top part of the form and sign it before you give it to your letter writer. In addition to filling in the required information the form also indicates you should provide your writer with a stamped pre-addressed envelope. Be sure to do this for the convenience of your recommender.

You will also be asked whether or not you wish to waive your rights to access or view the letter of recommendation your writer submits. This is entirely your decision. Many writers are more comfortable in writing a letter with the knowledge that you will not be able to personally read it. Please be aware, however, that if you do waive your right of access to the recommendation that you will never be given an opportunity to review it.

In addition to the form and pre-addressed envelope you should make sure your recommender has everything else he/she needs to write the letter and provide it on time. Be sure the writer is aware of the deadline for submitting the letter. Consider giving the writer two copies of the recommendation form in case he/she makes an error in filling it out. Other items you might consider providing are the personal statement you’ve written for your application, a copy of your resume and/or a listing of your achievements and activities and information about the LIU Pharmacy Pharm.D. program.

Keep in mind that the writer of your letter of recommendation is performing a significant personal favor on your behalf. Be sure to show your appreciation by sending your recommender a note of thanks.

CONSIDERING COSTS AND FINANCIAL AID

A college education is a big investment in your future - one that will pay off through increased knowledge and better career opportunities. Experts will tell you that it’s never too early to start creating a financial plan for college costs. Review our tuition and fees schedule to begin to develop a sense of what your college education will cost you. Start discussing the costs with your family and carefully review our financial aid and scholarships pages for information on the various ways through which you may obtain loans, grants and/or scholarships to assist you in meeting the financial obligations of your college studies.

LIU Brooklyn is committed to making a quality, private education affordable. Eighty-five percent of our students receive financial assistance to help meet college expenses. Each year, more than $175 million in scholarships and financial aid is awarded to our students. Through an integrated mix of personal and online services, we have developed a system that supports our students in managing all aspects of financing their education.