Personal Statement Mastery

A step-by-step guide to help you get into your pharmacy school of choice

What to Expect When Applying on PharmCAS

You created a gem of a resume that highlights all your skills, accomplishments and strengths in one beautifully designed document.

You collected all your references and recommendations and they now sit in a nice bulleted list and printed letters.

Your personal essay is so eloquently written and outlines your strongest skills using strong professional language.

Creating such a compelling letter was no easy task.

In fact, you think it may have even been more difficult than the resume itself.

You imagine anyone reading it over will immediately be convinced of your capabilities and fit as a candidate. How could they not?

You hit save on your documents, stretch, take a sip of coffee and pause.

You’re feeling confident. You’re just about to complete your undergrad years. It’s time for the next step. Now it’s time to start applying.


The Reality You Face

You’d like to think that’s how it works. But it’s not.

Here’s the truth that no one will tell you…

Your personal essay is only going to get 30 seconds of any admissions coordinator’s time.

That thing that you spent hours slaving over and revising and changing and rereading.

You had peers, professors and others read it over and give you feedback.

This letter that describes all of your dreams and hopes and aspirations. The one when it was finally finished, you breathed a sigh of relief and finally declared it perfect.

It gets 30 seconds of the readers time.

So, really take a look at your personal essay. Can you wholeheartedly say that you believe it stands out from the rest?

The goal of the personal essay is to get you invited to an interview. Will your personal essay get you results?

Like it or not, your personal essay is one of the most important parts of your application. It’s the only measure a program has about your personality and your goals.

No matter how fantastic you are, if your personal essay isn’t amazing, you can kiss that interview goodbye.


Who am I?

Heyo, this is Alex Barker, PharmD. I'm the creator of PharmacySchoolHQ.org and TheHappyPharmD.com.

I know the game that’s being played on the other end of the application table.

I went through the process myself and helped hundreds of students become pharmacy students.

And the lessons I’ve learned can help you write a personal essay that gets you interview requests.

Trust me, you want to be honing your personal essay skills before you’re writing cover letters and applying for residency programs.

I’ve written Pharmacy Times articles on personal essays, interviewed multiple residency directors, and helped hundreds of pharmacy students write better personal essays.

Don’t just take my word for it. See what other people, like a pharmacist, have said after I’ve helped them rewrite their personal essay:

"Before working with Alex, my cover letter was extremely generic, boring and impersonal. I wasn't receiving any interview requests because of my lack-luster cover letter. Alex helped me create a cover letter that I can not only be proud of, but immediately started getting results. I have had numerous interviews since and I believe it is a direct result of a cover letter that sets me apart from the rest and is a reflection of who I am. His valuable insight was just what I needed to create the perfect cover letter!"

- Justine Marryott, PharmD


The bottom line is this. I’ve had tremendous personal success writing remarkable personal essays. I’ve helped many others have the same success. And I can help you write a personal essay that will get you accepted to the pharmacy program you want or get you invited to interviews.

It’s frustrating, because the personal essay is one of the most important parts of your application when applying for pharmacy schools. It’s the only part of the application packet that lets the program know who you are.

And with every personal essay you write, you’re making the same preventable mistakes.


3 Biggest Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

Personal essays are the biggest source of stress with most applicants.

With so much riding on them, I totally get it. A well-written personal essay will make the admissions counselor stop what she’s doing and immediately put your application in the “yes” pile.

But a poorly-written letter will leave you with a pile of letters that look like this:

I would like to express my genuine gratitude for your interest in our program. While we were impressed with your background and experience, selecting candidates is was a complex task due to our large number of skilled applicants. To this end, we regret that we are unable to consider your application for our program at this time.

We sincerely wish you the best in your search and appreciate your interest in our organization.

1. You’re Using “Million Dollar Words”

Which of the following sounds more compelling to you?

Although I did a plethora of activities in undergraduate years, my assiduous efforts enabled me to succeed.

Or

Although I juggled many activities in college, I succeeded through persistent work.

I’m not sure where we picked this up, but somewhere along the line pharmacists and pharmacy students learned that “professional writing” meant “using big words.”

It’s just not true.

Which of the above phrases sounds more like you?

Which one do you have an easier time reading and remembering?

Imagine an entire letter filled with phrases like the above...which one would you rather read?

2. You’re Telling Instead of Showing

Buzzword essays about your “commitment to excellence” and your “deep passion for improving patient outcomes” are meaningless (and they make you sound like every other applicant).

I can almost guarantee your personal essay is guilty of this. Instead, give concrete examples (with numbers and data if possible) that highlight the skill or character trait you are emphasizing.

Showing is always better than telling.

3. You Don’t have a Theme or a Narrative

Most applicants try to cram every accomplishment or experience they’ve ever had on their personal essay. But there’s nothing to tie it all together.

A narrative hooks the reader right from the very beginning and pulls them along your entire personal essay.

You have to get this right.

Remember, your personal essay only gets 30 seconds. If it doesn’t immediately draw the reader in, you’re just another application in the pile.


Making a Personal Essay that Gets Interviews

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…

Your personal essay is the only piece of your application packet that let’s the reader know who you are.

On paper, you’re competing against people with the same qualifications (if not better ones).

Your resume is nearly identical to the other applicants. All have good grades. All volunteered for the same college events. Most took a leadership role in a student association. Many have research experience.

Why should you match over someone else?

Your personal essay is the X-Factor that can tip the scales in your favor. It’s the only part of your application that can grab the reader’s attention and draw her into your story.

That’s how you stand out in a sea of applicants and get invited to interviews.

So, how do you actually write a personal essay that grabs attention, showcases your personality, and gets results?

Introducing… Personal Essay Mastery

I’ve been in your shoes, and I’ve been on both sides of the interview table multiple times. I know what gets results. Personal Essay Mastery is a distillation of everything I have learned about writing personal essays that work.

It’s a self-paced course, meaning you can work your way through the program as quickly (or as slowly) as you want.

"Writing a letter of intent was an incredibly difficult task for me. I think the biggest obstacle students face is getting "our foot in the door," so to speak. We all have the skills to pursue a post grad residency but this course really gave me a better perspective on how I can use these skills and experiences to my advantage and make the programs WANT to meet me. The course helped me make a better attack plan and write my letter in a systematic fashion rather than spilling all my rambling thoughts into a word document, hating it, then rewriting it, rinse and repeat."

- Zahava Picado, PharmD Candidate 2018

You’re busy, and your time is valuable, so I made Personal Essay Mastery short, sweet, and to the point.

There isn’t any fluff with this course.

You’ll get 6 video lessons teaching you everything you need to know about how to write a compelling personal essay, along with bonus content (like case studies) that take you from “just another applicant” to sitting across from your future profess at the interview table.

Here’s some of what’s included:

  • A Recorded Video of a Student's 2 Personal essays -- Before and After our Professional Personal Essay Review
  • The 7 Words and Phrases Never to Use on Your Personal Essay
  • The 15 Mistakes You’re Making On Your Personal Essay
  • The 3 Questions You Need to Answer on Your Personal Essay
  • The Anatomy of the Perfect Personal Essay
  • How to Draw the Reader in with an Irresistible Hook
  • How to Backup Your Personal Essay with Evidence that Shows You’re the Perfect Candidate
  • Breakdowns of Actual Personal Essays, the Good, the Bad, and The Ugly
  • How to Fix Your Already Broken Personal Essay
  • Q & A of the Most Common Personal Essay Questions
  • What to Do if You’re Still Not Confident In Your Personal Essay
  • A Special Interview with an Director about personal Essays and a dissection of 4 Real Personal Essays, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly!
  • And Much More…


Your Instructor


Alex Barker
Alex Barker

Ready for a change yet?

Heyo, I’m Alex and I’ve developed the Career Jumpstart Masterclass because I’m obsessed with helping pharmacists find fulfilling careers. I don’t want any pharmacist to feel stuck, burned out or completely devoid of energy after work.

I know this class works because I’ve been there! This class was developed by me and dozens of other pharmacists who started EXACTLY where you are today. Best of all, you don’t have to make all the mistakes I made (trust me, there were plenty) because I’ve worked them out for you.

What I want for you is to find an inspiring career and have the energy to do the things you love again. You’ll be on the same path as other pharmacists I’ve helped.


Frequently Asked Questions


When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

Get started now!