How old is “too old” for volunteer and clinical experiences?

[font=Times New Roman:3h93eubr]Hello all!

I have received mixed opinions about the age of my volunteer and clinical experiences, and that much of it “isn’t relevant, anymore”. I am 24 and in my second year of university.


At 16, I began volunteering with my local fire department and ambulance company until about age 22. During that time I became a certified firefighter and EMT-B and volunteered a part-time job’s worth of hours. I am an Eagle scout and continued to volunteer with the Boy Scouts for a few years after my 18th birthday, as well as a few other hobby clubs.

I married at 19 and worked full-time as a CNA/EMT at the local hospital which covers emergency, acute care, nursing home, and hospice. I was fortunate to have the flexibility to work in all of those settings, on both days and nights.


At 22, two-years ago, my spouse and I bought land, quit our jobs, and have been homesteading since. Shortly after the move to a homesteader/off-grid lifestyle, I started classes at the nearest university. I am taking double-time course loads to make best use of my tuition dollars (more credits = less money/credit on our fee schedule). I will also be graduating a semester early (3.5-years vs 4-years) saving a semester’s tuition. My spouse and I have started a home-business off of our land selling produce and other goods, which occupies the rest of my time. MCAT preparation fills in any time gaps.

At the time of medical school application, my most recent volunteer experience will have ended 3-years prior. The bulk of my volunteer and clinical experience hours will be 3-6 years old.


Is this too old to be relevant, anymore? Do I need to make it an imperative to get more volunteer hours, or will the admissions committee likely be understanding and recognize the aged experiences?

I intend on spending much, much more time volunteering in the future. My current priorities are finishing my house (winters are cold in Montana!), developing our food-systems to support our family and sustain our community’s need for local, reliable produce, and maintaining good grades and getting the most out of university. At this time and until after application, I would nearly classify any additional hours a week reallocated to volunteering a “hardship”.

Other info:

Total volunteer hours – about 2,000 (no records on most)

Total clinical hours – about 5,000 (full-time job, CNA/EMT)

GPA – 3.80 overall

Research – one project, soon to have one paper submitted

Expected application – summer 2018

Thank you all for your thoughts, opinions, and guidance!

  • Jeremy[/font:3h93eubr]

While your past experience is valuable, medical schools expect applicants to stay engaged with the medical profession consistently through either volunteer or paid work. It’s something that you should feel pulled to do because of your passion for medicine–at least that’s how admission committees will view it. So you should definitely make time to add this to your current roster of activities.