Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about ACP
What makes a strong application to your program?
The application to ACP involves several components: all post-secondary academic transcripts, 3 academic reference letters, a CV, and a personal statement of interest. Competitive candidates demonstrate strength in all of these elements. Academically, a minimum of a B-plus average is required in senior courses in the final year of study, though full transcripts are reviewed, and past students have often had averages in the A-minus to A-plus range. A well-rounded CV demonstrating abilities in teamwork, leadership, communication, and community involvement are definite assets. The personal statement, preferably written as a narrative, must exhibit strong communication skills and should indicate an applicant's reasons for interest in this field of study and their future career goals.
What are the key things your admissions committee is looking for?
- Strong academic achievement, especially in physiology and other life sciences courses
- A well-written personal statement
- Favourable letters of recommendation
- A CV reflecting your participation in activities beyond coursework
What are the most common mistakes students make when completing applications?
Common mistakes include:
- Failing to proofread the personal statement both for content and for basic spelling and grammatical errors;
- Failing to speak with referees well in advance of deadlines and not providing source materials for their letters;
- Eliciting lukewarm letters of recommendation, or ones referring to programs other than ACP;
- Cutting and pasting generic statements from other applications into the personal statement;
- Simply reiterating the contents of the CV in the personal statement without deeper explorations;
- Failing to adequately prepare for basic interview questions.
How can students best prepare right now for grad school applications?
- Be honestly introspective about future career goals and how a specific graduate program can help achieve these goals (and be prepared to discuss);
- Explore the vast range of graduate opportunities available both at UofT and elsewhere to align your goals with programs;
- Determine what you've learned from past experiences, both academic and personal, that can strengthen your performance in graduate school;
- Identify potential referees (e.g., course coordinators, instructors, program directors, research supervisors) who will be able to comment on your abilities;
- Keep your CV continuously updated;
- Maintain a schedule of important dates and deadlines for all of your applications, and prepare applications well in advance.
How has COVID19 impacted students and course work/research in your program?
Flexibility and resilience are valued traits in members of the ACP program. The ACP program transitioned almost seamlessly to an online format that is interactive and continues to allow rich discussion. Given the clinical focus of the program, some research projects and practica have moved from on-site to remote site formats. Fortunately, ACP students have managed to navigate workplace shutdowns to stick to their original program timelines.
What tips do you have for personal statements?
This is your opportunity to tell us about yourself (and to address any concerns you have about your academic transcript). We are particularly interested in understanding how you think the ACP program can help you on your career journey. (Also, see above).
What is one thing that is unique about your program?
The ACP program is highly customizable to the academic and career goals of each individual student. ACP students get to know each other well and benefit from the networking opportunities provided by the ACP program. While the integrated core courses and clinical research projects provide both breadth and depth of knowledge in clinical pharmacology and related areas, students often report finding the real-world practicum experience amongst the greatest features of the ACP program. Many students are hired by their employers following their practicum course.