Students should plan to devote a minimum of 150 hours volunteering in a busy hospital emergency room and participating in scientific research in a laboratory setting (ideally in a major medical center or research institute) prior to the application year in order to have the foundation of a competitive medical school application. Please confer with Ms. Bennett if you are applying to podiatric, osteopathic, physical therapy or other health professional schools so we can discuss variations to these guidelines that will apply to your application.
These opportunities fall into three major categories:
1) Basic scientific research
a) Undergraduate students who are seeking some initial research experience often do so by approaching members of the faculty at their own colleges. It is also possible to obtain volunteer (unpaid) jobs during both the academic year and the summer months by directly contacting laboratory directors using email. You should use a web search to find the names of contacts at convenient locations who are doing research in areas of your personal interest. If you send out 20 preliminary inquiries, you should receive at least a few positive replies. Your initial email should provide basic biographical information, educational background (relevant college coursework completed), career goals, and a listing of any technical skills which you have already mastered. Meet with a staff member of the Center for Career Development who will help you with resume and cover letter development. Do not add attachments to these emails. Put everything in the body of the text.
b) Many medical schools have programs of research for undergraduates in the summer months. Most carry generous stipends and also provide group meetings, seminars, and social activities. They run for 7-10 weeks and there are many more applicants than available positions. Successful applicants have usually completed some advanced-level science courses and have also been previously involved in research at their own colleges or in outside institutions or companies.
2) Clinical research
These positions usually involve a statistical analysis of treatments and outcomes. They generally require far less scientific knowledge, although courses in statistics and a working knowledge of appropriate computer programs will be essential. They may be paid or volunteer and often require a shorter commitment of working hours and fewer weeks.
3) Clinical (non-research) experience
This is essential for all applicants to any health professional school and must be completed prior to your application year. Many pre-medical students volunteer at hospital emergency rooms (YC students most often use the nearby Columbia Presbyterian Hospital), and there are formal programs at many other medical centers. While experience gained as an EMT or by â€œshadowingâ€ a physician are both valuable, they do not meet the requirement for work that puts you in direct contact with both patients and health care professionals in a hospital environment.
Pre-dental students must gain at least 100 hours of experience volunteering in the offices of a local dentist, and should look outside of the opportunities that may be available from parents or relatives who are already members of the profession. Another option is volunteering in the dental school clinic at NYU, which is an experience that many YU students have taken advantage of. Contact the NYU College of Dentistry directly about volunteer opportunities in the *third year student clinic.*
Those interested in optometry, osteopathic medicine, podiatry, pharmacy, physical therapy, etc. should seek out opportunities to work directly with members of those professions.
Note: Research and clinical placements offer the opportunity to demonstrate to your supervisors your ability to work well with others and should yield a letter of reference at the end of your internship. By making a strong and memorable impression during these placements, your supervisors will have concrete material to work with when writing you a letter of recommendation.
Also note that the Center for Career Development can *coach* first time job applicants through mock interviews and can help you trouble shoot with any on the job jitters you may have as a first time employee.
The following websites will provide listings and links to some of the programs that you may wish to consider for applications:
Gateway to Dentistry Program (UMDNJ)
Summer Medical and Dental Experience Program (UMDNJ and Columbia)
6 weeks for 1st and 2nd year college students
Forsythe Institute, Boston, MA
University of Maryland
Also check for opportunities at dental laboratories and various community outreach programs.
Yeshiva College and Sy Syms Academic Advising
500 West 185th Street
New York, NY 10033
500 West 185th Street
New York, NY 10033
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