TAP offers students unique pre-pharm experience

by Tiffany Pouldar

The Trojan Admission Pre-Pharmacy (TAP) Program was created to keep pre-pharmacy students engaged in their future career throughout their undergraduate years.  Students accepted into the program have precedence in admission into USC School of Pharmacy’s four-year Doctor of Pharmacy program.

Located on the Health Sciences Campus, the pharmacy school is acknowledged as one of the leading pharmacy schools in the country. Ranked in the top 20 best pharmacy schools by US News & World Report, the USC pharmacy school prepares its students to be specialists in the pharmaceutical field. TAP provides USC students with early acceptance to this prestigious school.

TAP advisor Dona Christianson
by Han Dao

“The TAP program was founded as a way to recruit more USC students to our Doctor of Pharmacy program in our School of Pharmacy,” said Dona Christianson, the Trojan Admission Pre-Pharmacy Program Advisor.

To be eligible for the program, applicants need to be enrolled as an undergraduate student pursuing a bachelor degree. Candidates for TAP may apply after finishing one to five semesters.

Transfer students are also qualified after completing two years and obtaining a bachelor’s degree from USC. In all cases, a GPA of at least 3.2 must be maintained while taking all of the pre-pharmacy courses.

“I applied to TAP after my sophomore year I finished only a few of my pre-pharm courses, but I knew I wanted to go to pharmacy school after my undergrad,” said USC junior Eliane Eshaghian.
“The program seemed like the perfect fit,”

The application consists of different parts. Two letters of recommendation are required, one of which describes the applicant’s capability as a pharmacist.  The second letter should reflect on the applicant’s academic skills and achievement.

“I asked two professors in my science classes for recommendations.  I felt like they knew my work ethic the best,” said USC junior Sanam Roufeh.

A resumé with achievements, activities, volunteer, and employment history is also required. The application’s deadline is February 15, 2011.

When accepted, these select few students are provided with advisement and membership to the Pre-pharmacy society.  More importantly, they are given a priority admission to Pharmacy school as long as they maintain their GPA.

Additionally, each student in TAP meets with Christianson once every semester to review grades and ask any questions they may have.

“Being in TAP definitely decreases the amount of pressure and apprehension,” Roufeh said. “It still forces me to work hard to maintain a high GPA, but I know where I’m going after I graduate.”

In 2003, there were a total of 46 TAP students in their undergraduate studies.  Seven years later, there are 135 TAP students in their undergraduate careers.  The number of TAP students entering the pharmacy school has increased from eight in 2004 to 38 in 2010.

“The TAP program is better each year” Christianson said. “The TAP students are just as talented as the students from other schools when they enroll in our Doctor of Pharmacy program.”

There is no limit to the number of students who may be accepted into the TAP program.  For Fall 2010, there were 51 freshman applicants, 21 current USC students in their second and third years, and 12 transfer students admitted into TAP.

“Since I’ve been working with the TAP students, all have been admitted to our pharmacy school except those very few who did not meet the minimum grade requirements,” Christianson said.

As the years progress, TAP is becoming a more established program as it gains recognition for offering students a different pathway in the health field.




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