The Cooper Union


















Medical School Timeline

Timeline | Volunteer Sites

The following is the typical four-year timeline to medical school application from the time that a student begins their academic career at The Cooper Union as a freshman. Approximately half of college students take one or more years between college graduation and medical school enrollment to gain experience or enroll in postbaccaluarate programs. Many medical admission committees look highly upon this decision, which can enhance the students' application. The same timeline would apply to those students who are taking time between their Cooper Union graduation and their entrance to medical school.

Be sure to use all of the resources that are available to you at The Cooper Union, which can only enhance your preparation and application for medical school. Institutional resources include the Career Center, the Center for Writing and Language Arts, and your advisor.


Begin to identify possible sites for volunteering in the health field - hospitals, physician's offices, nursing homes, HIV clinics, etc.

Get involved in the campus communities. Join relevant clubs and societies of interest. Consider assuming leadership roles within those organizations.

Alert your advisor EARLY ON of your plans to attend medical school. Medical Schools have prerequisite course requirements and your admission will be based on whether you have or have not taken those courses. Prepare tentative schedule for completing required premedical courses by the end of your junior year. This will ensure that you have completed the requirements for medical school, and that you are prepared to take the MCAT before July of the summer before application.

While medical, dental, and most health professional schools do not require a specific major, many do stipulate the certain undergraduate courses must be completed. Listed below are the recommended minimum prerequisite courses that medical schools require. Some schools have specific requirements/recommendations in addition to those listed below. For example, many schools now like to see a biochemistry course, which can also assist in preparation for the MCAT.
Course Credit Hours
General or Introductory Biology (with laboratory) 8 semester credit hours
Advanced Biology one course recommended
Introductory Chemistry (with laboratory) 8 semester credit hours
Organic Chemistry (with laboratory) 8 semester credit hours
General or Introductory Physics (with laboratory) 8 semester credit hours
English Composition 6 semester credit hours
Mathematics (required by some schools, recommended by most)

Register with the Cooper Career Connection (C3) to assure that you do not miss out on career-related events, job and internship opportunities, and the Career Center's announcements.

Continue to self-reflect and assess your motivation for a career in medicine. Do some research on The Student Doctor Network.

Get acquainted with your professors, particularly with one or more in the sciences, if possible. This will help them write strong letters of recommendation for you in the future since they will have known you for some time. Complete and hand the Letter of Recommendation Request Form (DOC) to faculty who are completing your recommendations to remind them of your background and career goals.


Continue to broaden your healthcare experience.

Participate actively in service organizations and campus activities.

Plan for summer opportunities. Explore Careers in Medicine by the AAMC to learn more about various options in the healthcare field.

Learn about health care reform, managed care systems, medical ethics and other important and current issues relevant to medicine.

Attend medical school visits.

Broaden your relationship with faculty members and others who can speak to your medical school qualifications, particularly in areas related to premedical requirements. You are likely to want recommendation letters from them. These contacts can include employment or volunteer supervisors, coaches, and research advisors. Complete and hand the Letter of Recommendation Request Form (DOC) to faculty who are completing your recommendations to remind them of your background and career goals.


Begin Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) preparation and take other standardized tests, including the GRE, if necessary according to program choice. Consider enrolling into preparatory classes with Kaplan or Princeton Review to assist with your studies, although they can be quite costly. Review the MCAT Student Manual to see science topics in the exam, to assure that your coursework has covered all of the testing areas.

Register for the MCAT on-line BEFORE the July exam.

Generate a list of medical schools to which you will apply. Research and visit medical schools of interest. Nationally, students apply to an average of 9 schools. The following US News Top Medical School Ranking may be of help.

Download an AMCAS Worksheet and other documentation to begin preparing for your application, which should be submitted BY July, in the summer before your senior year. AMCAS is the central application used by most of the 126 medical schools in the country. Osteopathic medical schools use AACOMAS.

Begin draft of personal statement for AMCAS application.

Consider whom you want to include as a recommendation. Confirm all letters of recommendation have been sent to the respective schools. Complete and hand the Letter of Recommendation Request Form (DOC) to faculty who are completing your recommendations to remind them of your background and career goals.

Continue to pursue extracurricular activities that will provide medically-related and/or community service experience

Summer after Junior Year

Complete and mail AMCAS application and non-AMCAS School applications in June or July. The earlier the better, as medical school admissions are on a rolling basis. Keep copies of all of your application materials.

July after Junior Year through Fall of Senior Year

Receive, complete, and mail secondary applications.

Fall term of Senior Year

Contact medical schools to confirm application is complete.

Prepare for medical school interviews. Use The Student Doctor Network Interviewing Guide to assist in your efforts.

Fall term through Spring term of Senior Year

Travel to interviews.

Send thank you notes after interviews.

Wait for acceptances, rejections and waitlist notifications.

Most schools interview applications from September through February. Acceptances can be offered as early as October or as late as the following August, from the waitlist.

Spring term of Senior Year

Apply for financial aid.

Late Spring term through Summer of Senior Year

If planning to defer, make formal request to medical school.

If you have been accepted, submit your final transcript to the medical school.

If on waiting list, stay in touch with medical school admissions offices on regular basis.

Continue to utilize the Career Center as a resource. We are here to help you along the entire process.

Volunteer Sites

Strengthen your medical school applications by getting some health-related internship/volunteer experience.

Consider applying for the Health Research Training Program (HRTP). Applications are available online at

Or, consider volunteering in any of the following New York City area hospitals:

Bellevue Hospital
1st Avenue and 27th Street

Public Hospital

Volunteer Opportunities:
Patient Advocate Volunteers in the Emergency Department as
well as clinical research program volunteers are utilized.

Volunteer Commitment:
Volunteers must commit a minimum of 4 hours a week for at least 6 months.

Priscilla Daniels
(212) 562-4858

Bellevue Project Healthcare
Project Healthcare is an innovative volunteer program for enthusiastic and inspired college and post-baccalaureate students. Created by the Bellevue Hospital Center Emergency Department, PHC allows students an opportunity to experience and observe many different aspects of healthcare. The program is comprised of several weekly rotations which are based in the Emergency Department. It offers the committed student a unique healthcare experience, which is intended to furnish a wealth of knowledge about the numerous options for a career in healthcare. Additional rotations in other areas of the hospital as well as participation in research and health fair projects allow students the exposure they need to make educated career choices. Furthermore, lectures and weekly meetings provide students with a chance to discuss medical issues, including the practical problems that hospitals, patients, and medical staff encounter in the healthcare system.

To apply, please download and print the application form (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader). Mail or fax the completed form, along with a current résumé or C.V., to:

Priscilla Daniels
(212) 562-4858

Bellevue Hospital
Patient Advocacy Volunteer in Emergency Research Services (PAVERS)

PAVERS is a research methodology volunteer program in which participants learn about clinical research and medicine through emergency department observation, assistance with research, and a series of lectures. Participants act as volunteers within the emergency department, assisting patients, physicians, and nurses. PAVERS also participate in the research projects being conducted in the Department of Emergency Medicine by collecting data from patients. PAVERS enroll patients into research studies in which the patients answer a series of simple questions. The studies are undertaken within the emergency department in order to promote socially responsible medicine and to study basic human issues in medical care. Highly motivated volunteers may have additional future research opportunities.

In order to be considered for the PAVERS program, candidates must submit written applications. After applications are received, some applicants will be granted interviews. Please read all the information and policies before you apply, as PAVERS has become an increasingly competitive program and requires a substantial commitment from volunteers.

Application Process:

PAVERS runs during the academic year. Applications are accepted for start in either the Fall or Spring semester. To apply, please download and print the application form (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader). Mail the completed form, along with a current résumé or C.V., to:

Elissa Moore
Coordinator of Emergency Medicine Research
Emergency Care Institute, Suite 345A
Bellevue Hospital Center
462 First Avenue
New York, NY 10016
phone: (212) 263 - 2858
fax: (212) 562-3001

Beth Israel Medical Center
Several locations:

Petrie Division
1st Avenue at 16th St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 420-2733

Phillips Ambulatory Care Ctr.
10 Union Sq. East
New York, NY 10003
(212) 844-8630

Kings Highway Division
3201 Kings Highway
Brooklyn, NY 11234
(718) 377-4036

Singer Division
170 East End Ave
New York, NY 10028

Volunteer Opportunities: Volunteers work in a variety of settings which may vary according to the location. Some of the opportunities include the following:
  • Cancer Center Rape Crisis Program
  • Physical/Occupational Therapy Emergency Department
  • Pastoral Pediatric Playroom
  • Surgical Advocate
Volunteer Commitment:
Volunteers must be able to commit to one 2-4 hour shift each week for a minimum of 6 months.

Coney Island Hospital
2601 Ocean Parkway
Brooklyn, NY 11235
Public hospital

Volunteer Opportunities:
Volunteers are used on weekdays and weekends and are placed in a variety of departments, including:

  • Physical Therapy ER
  • Occupational Therapy Oncology
  • Speech Therapy Interpreter Services

Volunteer Commitment: Volunteers are expected to commit 150 hours of volunteer service.

Gail Ehrlich
(718) 616-3161

Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC)
119 West 24th Street
New York, NY 10011

Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) is a not-for-profit, volunteer-supported and community-based organization committed to national leadership in the fight against AIDS. GMHC runs a number of different programs including a hotline, HIV/STI testing and counseling program, case management and legal services public policy and preventative education.

Volunteer Opportunities:
Volunteers are utilized in a number of different roles including

  • Hotline Counselor: provide callers with information, referrals and emotional support regarding HIV and AIDS-related issues.
  • Hotline Email Counselor: represent GMHC by providing information, counseling and referrals regarding HIV/AIDS and related issues. Volunteers will provide written response to people who e-mail the hotline.
  • HIV Testing Center Counselor: provide pre & post HIV/Syphilis counseling in a confidential setting. Volunteers assist clients in assessing readiness for testing as well as their ability to receive results.
  • Community Educator: represent GMHC to a broad range of audiences within the five boroughs of NYC as a speaker and/or tabling/outreach worker. Volunteers facilitate workshops and/or provide information about HIV and GMHC services (e.g., in classes and clinics, at tables at health and street fairs) in a non-judgmental, supportive manner.
  • Buddies: assist people with HIV/AIDS who are registered clients to cope with living with the disease. Buddies provide emotional and practical support, helping with errands, household chores, information gathering and referrals to GMHC and other services. Each Buddy also becomes a member of a team, receiving ongoing supervision and training by staff and team leaders. Some buddies work only by phone or e-mail, providing emotional support through regular telephone or e-mail contact. Although we need buddies in all boroughs, our greatest need is in Brooklyn and the Bronx. Spanish as a second language is a plus.

Harlem Hospital Center
506 Lenox Avenue
New York, NY 10037

There are a multitude of different volunteer opportunities available at the different facilities within the the NYC Health and Hospital Corporation. These include:

  • Patient visiting
  • Occupational and Physical therapy assistants
  • Art therapy
  • Assisting chaplains
  • Tutoring pediatric patients
  • Interpreting
  • Patient counseling and advocacy
  • Clerical and other administrative work

Volunteer Commitment:
Volunteers are asked to commit to a st number of hours weekly (3-6 hrs) and a minimum length of service (3-6 months).

Ms. Linda Takourian
(212) 939-3520

Hospice of New York
45-18 Court Square, Suite 500
Long Island City, NY 11101

Hospice of NY is committed to the total care of the patient and family who is facing a life limiting illness. Through an interdisciplinary team of health care providers, the physical, emotional and spiritual needs are addressed in a holistic approach. Emphasis is on pain control and symptom management and is delivered in the home or in a long term care facility.

Volunteer Opportunities:
Patient care volunteers provide companionship to the patient and respite care to the caregiver. They help by making friendly visits, reading to patients, writing letters, running errands, sharing a quiet moment or just being there to listen.

Volunteer Training:
Volunteers are required to go through training which generally takes place on 2 consecutive Saturdays from 9:30 4:00 pm.

Volunteer Commitment:
Assignments vary based on need. Volunteers are kept as close to their home as they wish to be. Commitment is flexible and each visit may be 1-4 hours per week.

Angela Purpura
(718) 472-1999

Hospital for Joint Diseases
Bernard Aronson Plaza
301 East 17th Street
New York, NY 10003

A voluntary, not-for-profit, 220 bed hospital located at 17th Street and Second Avenue in the Gramercy Park neighborhood of Manhattan. HJD has evolved from an orthopedic/ rheumatologic hospital into a specialty medical institute with expertise in orthopedic surgery, rheumatology and molecular medicine, rehabilitation medicine, neurology and specialized neurosurgery.

Volunteer Opportunities:
Volunteers are used in both clinical and administrative areas. Those who are interested in rehabilitative medicine, occupational and physical therapy are especially encouraged to apply.

Volunteer Coordinator:
(212) 598-6023

Hospital for Special Surgery
535 East 70th Street
New York, NY 10021

The Manage Your Care-VOICES Program is a volunteer based program that provides education, information and advocacy services to the out patient population in our Rheumatology, Orthopedic, and Pediatric clinics at Hospital for Special Surgery. Volunteers will assist patients in navigating the health care system by providing education and answering questions they have about medical insurance, referrals, and support services in the community that can improve and enhance their quality of life. Participants will work closely with the health care team and will provide one on one assessments with patients to determine their short term and long term needs, and formulate long term goals to meet those needs. They will get the opportunity to see how a hospital works, learn how chronic illness affects patients and their families, and observe directly how the changes in health care policy, such as managed care, affect people who are coping with chronic illness. We are looking for motivated, responsible, and reliable volunteers, who like to work with people, and are interested in healthcare to join our team.

Volunteer Opportunities:
Volunteers will be placed in one of two specialty program and will work in the Rheumatology, and/or Orthopedic and Pediatric Departments, and in the Department of Patient Care and Quality Management.

Volunteer Commitment:
Volunteers must work a minimum of 4 hours a week for a six to nine month period of time. They must also attend a mandatory 16 hour training provided by the Department of Patient Care and Quality Management before they can start working with patients. The hours that volunteers are needed are Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10am- 2pm.

Institute of Urban Family Health
The Institute, is a non-profit corporation in New York City serving communities of high medical need through the development of primary health care services and health professional education. The Institute's mission is to improve the quality and availability of family practice services in response to the needs of medically underserved populations.

Volunteer Opportunities:
The Institute for Urban Family Health and the New York Metro Regional AHEC (Area Health Education Center) Program sponsor a Summer Internship Program for medical students as well as college and high school students. Public health projects available to students have included: Tuberculosis Screening and Education; Patient Education Project at Homeless Sites; Health Fairs for Homeless Women and Children; Health Needs Assessments in Lower East Side Communities; Complementary Medicine; Pregnancy Testing; Counseling and Community Outreach; Asthma Education; Maternal and Child Health Project; Patient Understanding Study; and HIV Quality of Care studies.
Other volunteer opportunities may also be available during the academic year. Please contact the Institute for more information


Jacobi Medical Center
1400 Pelham Parkway South Rm. 156
Bronx, NY 10461

Public hospital

Volunteer Opportunities:
Volunteers are assigned to work in various throughout the hospital including:

  • Women's Health
  • Admitting
  • Pediatrics
  • Food Service
  • Patient Relations
  • Health Information Management

Volunteer Commitment:
Volunteers are required to commit a minimum of 8 hours per week for at least 6 months.

Luisa Hernandez
(718) 918-4881

Lenox Hill Hospital
100 East 77th Street
New York, NY 10021-1883

Public hospital

Volunteer Opportunities:
Volunteers may be placed in a number of different departments including:

  • Emergency Department
  • Cardiac Care
  • Intensive Care
  • Physical Therapy
  • Psychiatric Unit
Volunteer Commitment:
Usually a minimum of 3 hours a week is required for at least 6 months.

Volunteer Office
(212) 434-2600

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
1275 York Avenue
New York, NY 10021

Comprehensive Cancer Center

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Patient Escort: Respond to requests for escorts and provide comfort to patients as needed.
  • Admission Center Volunteer: Provide information and assistance to patients and their families and to the Center staff. Provide companionship to patients and assist in preparing paperwork for admitting patients.
  • Disease Management Team Volunteer: Provide assistance to staff and inpatients on one or more inpatient units. Perform clerical or non-clinical tasks on the unit as directed by staff. Assist with the patent discharge process by escorting patients to building exits or garage.

Volunteer Commitment:
Volunteers must give an average of at least 6 hours of service each month. For students, the minimum is one semester or one summer.

The Metropolitan Hospice of Greater New York
6323 Seventh Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11220

The mission of hospice is to provide support and care for individuals in the final stages of advanced illness, so that an individual will be able to live pain free and as fully and comfortably as possible.

Volunteer Opportunities:
Volunteers may work in clerical/administrative support, in- patient unit, or directly with patients in their homes.

Volunteer Commitment:
90 hours of volunteer service over a 3-4 month period is expected. This will include 20 hours of required training.

Katherine Azbell
(718) 921-7900

Metropolitan Hospital Center
1901 First Avenue, Room 4M13
New York, NY 10029

General care public hospital

Volunteer Opportunities:
Volunteers serve throughout the hospital, working directly with patients in clinics and on hospital floors or behind the scenes in offices and service areas.

Volunteer Commitment:
A commitment of 150 hours, serving a minimum of 3 consecutive hours per day, evenings and weekends.

(212) 423-6262

Mount Sinai Hospital
One Gustave L. Levy Place, Box 1274
New York, NY 10029-6574

private hospital
research opportunities

Volunteer Opportunities:
Basic science and clinical research volunteer placements exist for premedical students throughout the academic year. Placements exist in over 30 areas, including:

  • cardiology
  • community medicine
  • geriatrics
  • human genetics
  • infectious diseases
  • neurology
  • psychiatry
A full-time summer program is also available.

Volunteer Commitment:
In the fall and spring semesters students are required to commit to 15 hours per week for at least 4 months. Volunteer hours must be completed during a 9-5 timeframe.

Kaye Derman

New York Eye and Ear Infirmary
310 E. 14th Street
New York, NY 10003

The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary is a hospital that specializes in the treatment and research of eye, ear, nose, throat and related problems.

Volunteer Opportunities:
Volunteers are assigned to work in various areas including:

  • Administration
  • Admitting
  • Ambulatory Care Centers
  • Intraocular Lens Office
  • Operating Room
  • Ophthalmology
  • Otolaryngology
  • Pharmacy
  • Pre-Surgical Testing
  • Radiology
  • Recovery Room
  • Retinal Diagnostic Center
  • Social Services

Volunteer Commitment:
Usually a minimum of 3 hours a week is required.

New York Presbyterian Hospital
Domestic and Other Violence Emergencies Program (DOVE)
622 West 168th Street
New York, NY

This program is designed to train volunteers to assist survivors in crisis in the Columbia Presbyterian Emergency Room. Volunteers on call will respond as an advocate to any domestic violence emergency that comes into the Emergency Department.

Volunteers are required to complete 40 hours of training. They must also be 18 years or older and live within 40 minutes of the hospital.

Volunteer Commitment:
In addition to completing the training, volunteers must be on-call 1-2 shifts per month for a period of one year.

(212) 305-4726

NYU Downtown Hospital
69 Gold Street, #15 F
New York, NY 10038

Teaching hospital

Volunteer Opportunities:
Volunteers are placed in various assignments throughout the hospital including:

  • direct patient care
  • administrative and clerical
  • security and public information
  • community outreach
  • laboratory
  • surgical family liaison

Volunteer Commitment:
Volunteers are asked to commit to a minimum of 100 hours of service. On average, it is expected that volunteers contribute 4 hours per week for at least 6 months.

Volunteer Services
(212) 312-5108

North Central Bronx Hospital
3424 Kossuth Avenue
Bronx, NY 10467

Public hospital

Volunteer Opportunities:
Volunteers are assigned to work in various areas including:

  • Women's Health
  • Admitting
  • Pediatrics
  • Food Service
  • Patient Relations
  • Health Information Management

Volunteer Commitment:
Volunteers are required to commit a minimum of 8 hours per week for at least 6 months.

Luisa Hernandez
(718) 519-4840

St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center
114th Street and Amsterdam

Premedical Volunteer Program
The Premedical Volunteer Program places premedical volunteers in the Emergency Department or one of St. Luke s many other clinics. Volunteers will have the opportunity to observe a variety of medical situations and performing other volunteer duties ranging from sitting with patients, transporting patients, running labs or charts, performing general clerical work etc. Premedical students may also join the interpreter program which would allow them to translate for patients in their native language.

Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire Surveyor
The Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire is a well-validated survey tool developed by the American Board of Internal Medicine as part of their Project Professionalism. It includes ten questions which will allow the Dept. of Medicine to measure the major clinical skills of the house staff. As a surveyor you will interview ambulatory patients after their clinic visits. In time, the Dept will try to expand this to the recently discharged inpatients. You will administer the survey plus some further quesitons related to the serivces rendered in the clinic. You will then have the opportunity to enter a secure website and record the data you have collected. This volunteer role will allow you to experience first hand the needs of patients. For further information please contact Dr. Ethan Fried.

Volunteer Commitment:
Premed Program: All volunteers are required to commit to volunteering for 5 hours per week 150 hours over two semesters

Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire Surveyor: This program requires that you be available to work during the regular 9 - 5 workday. Specific time commitment should be worked out individually with Dr. Fried.

Volunteer Orientation:
All volunteers must attend the St. Luke's-Roosevelt volunteer orientation held once each semester. This orientation is absolutely MANDATORY and will appear on the Events Calendar sometime at the beginning of each semester.

St. Vincent's Pre-Health Rotation Program
130 W. 12th Street
New York, NY 10011

Public hospital

Volunteer Opportunities:
This dynamic program offers premedical volunteers 15 consecutive rotations in diverse areas of the hospital, enabling them to observe, participate, and provide service. Each rotation offers unique opportunities in a particular medical environment and is supervised by professionals. There is ongoing interaction between service and learning. The program takes an entire year and one-half to complete.

Volunteer Commitment:
This program requires students to dedicate 4 consecutive hours weekly between 9 am 5 pm weekdays. Program also requires excellent attendance only allows 4 absences per year.

Sister Patricia Cusack
Volunteer Department
(212) 604-7265