J Pharm Pract 2014 Feb 8;27(1):84-8. Epub 2013 Oct 8.
College of Pharmacy-Glendale, Midwestern University, Glendale, AZ, USA.
Objective: Assess pharmacy postgraduate year 1 (PGY1) residency application statistics and identify the qualities most desired in the ideal pharmacy residency candidate.
Methods: A list of PGY1 residency program directors across the United States (n = 750) was acquired, and a validated electronic survey was created. The survey contained 25 questions pertaining to program demographics, application statistics, and candidate characteristics.
Results: A total of 252 programs completed the survey. The average number of positions per program was 3.4 ± 2.6. The average ratio of applicants to available positions was 15:1. The highest scored quality was familiarity with an applicant's college of pharmacy (7.7 ± 2.5). Holding a leadership position within the college/university scored 6.5 ± 2, while poster presentations and publications were rated lower (4.1 ± 2.5 and 3.1 ± 2.3, respectively). When asked to rank modifiable characteristics, strong letters of recommendation, letters of intent, and prior experience with the applicant were ranked the highest.
Conclusions: Strong letters of recommendation and intent along with prior experience with an applicant are highly valued. Although leadership positions and scholarship are not ranked as highly, they may distinguish applicants if the preceding criteria are met. Applicants should strive to build relationships with preceptors and obtain work experience or experiential rotations at potential residency locations.