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High School Student FAQ


Preparing to Enter Pre-Pharmacy at Drake

What courses should I take in high school to enter pre-pharmacy?

Students should take challenging courses throughout high school in order to prepare themselves well for the rigor of pre-pharmacy.  Drake does not require a specific number of credits in any particular area of study to be considered for admission to pre-pharmacy.  However, we do recommend students take challenging courses in biology, chemistry, and math.  We also strongly recommend that students take any available advanced math courses that would help prepare them for chemistry and calculus in the first year of pre-pharmacy.

Is it possible for a high school student to complete pre-pharmacy in one year instead of two?

The professional pharmacy program cannot be completed in less than four years.  However, it may be possible for a student to complete the two years of pre-pharmacy in one year if he or she has had the opportunity in high school to complete and transfer to Drake a full year of biology, a full year of chemistry, a semester of calculus and/or statistics and enough additional coursework to total 25-30 credit hours upon entering Drake.  In this very specific situation, a student could potentially be able to graduate in five years instead of six years if he or she were admitted to the PharmD program.  A student in this situation would begin the PharmD application process by completing the PharmCAS and Drake supplemental applications the summer before his or her first-year at Drake.  He or she would complete the interview and writing assessment in the fall semester of his or her first year. Students who qualify to complete pre-pharmacy in one year must apply for permission, consult with and have approval to do so from the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Office of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.

I have the opportunity to take some courses at a community college while I am still in high school. What courses should I take if I want to enter pre-pharmacy?

We suggest that students choose from courses in the following areas: an appropriate advanced math course, composition, public speaking, a computer course, statistics, history (2 courses), a fine arts course or an international/multicultural course such as cultural anthropology.

I'm planning to apply for admission in the fall semester of my senior year. Will it really matter what classes I take in my senior year?

Yes!  Continuing to take challenging courses in the senior year prepares students to do well in the pre-pharmacy curriculum.  Students should not underestimate the difficulty of the first year of college because it is both an academic, as well as a social adjustment.  Taking a somewhat easier courseload in the senior year makes the transition to college-level coursework that much harder.

I have enough credits to graduate in the middle of my senior year. Does Drake recommend that I graduate early and take some courses at a local college in the spring before entering Drake in the fall?

Although we strongly discourage this plan, students can apply for transfer admission to pre-pharmacy.  Students who wish to transfer into pre-pharmacy may be considered if space is available.  In order to be considered for transfer admission into pre-pharmacy, students must meet the following criteria: 

  • Students must meet the requirements for entrance into the professional pharmacy program at the time of admission into pre-pharmacy, with the exception of the prerequisites.
  • Students must enter pre-pharmacy no later than the first day of class of the fall semester in which they will be applying to the professional program.
  • Students must complete at least 14 of their math/science prerequisites for the professional program at Drake. 

Meeting these criteria does not guarantee admission into pre-pharmacy.  Students who successfully transfer into pre-pharmacy will be given all of the benefits of the Drake PharmD Connection for Transfer Students.

Transferring into pre-pharmacy at Drake does not guarantee admission into the professional pharmacy program.


The Pre-Pharmacy Application and Admission Process

How do I apply for pre-pharmacy admission?

High school students should apply online at  Students may contact the Office of Admission at 1-800-44-DRAKE (locally at 271-3181) or by e-mail at

What is the pre-pharmacy application deadline?

The priority deadline for pre-pharmacy applications is December 1, 2018.  Applications will only be reviewed after December 1st if space is available in the class.  Official documents needed to complete the application include application for admission, official high school transcript and official test scores.  Although an admission essay and letters of recommendation from guidance counselors or teachers are not required, they are strongly encouraged.

We strongly recommend that students submit all admission materials early in the fall semester rather that waiting until the priority deadline approaches.  Students should also request official high school transcripts and letters of recommendation to be sent to Drake early.  This will ensure that Drake receives all admission materials in a timely manner in order to fully consider a student's application. 

What are the minimum required grades and test scores I need to be admitted to pre-pharmacy?

While there are no official academic requirements for pre-pharmacy, students entering in the fall 2018 semester have high school GPAs ranging from 2.84 to 4.0.  These students also have ACT Composite scores ranging from 22 to 35 and ACT Math scores ranging from 23 to 36.  Competitive applicants will take a rigorous and challenging curriculum throughout high school and demonstrate leadership and involvement both inside and outside the classroom. 

Can I still come to Drake if I am not admitted directly into pre-pharmacy? What are my options?

Students should consider enrolling at Drake because they feel it’s the right college for them and wish to earn a Drake degree, whether it is a pharmacy degree or not.  Students should not enroll at Drake only to try to increase their chances of entering the PharmD program.

For additional information on how Drake considers applicants from other majors at Drake to the PharmD program, please review our PharmD Admissions Information page.