Should I Take Law School Summer Classes? - JD Advising
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Should I Take Law School Summer Classes?

Most law schools offer some classes during the summer (for schools that are on a traditional two-semester-per-year school calendar).  You may be wondering whether you should sign up for classes during the summer break.  In this post, we break down the pros and cons of signing up for law school summer classes.

Should I Take Law School Summer Classes?

Part-Time students

If you are going to law school part-time, taking summer classes may be more of a requirement than an option.  If you are going to school part-time because you are already working or have other non-law school commitments, then, by all means, keep up the steady pace year-round!  Be sure to plan ahead and look at what is being offered in the summer as early as possible.  Often, summer course selections are limited, so if you are counting on knocking off some requirements over the summer, you may be out of luck if those classes aren’t offered.

Catch up on credits if you reduced your course load

Maybe you didn’t take a full course load or unexpectedly dropped a class during the fall or winter semesters.  The summer is a great opportunity to catch up on those credit hours to make sure you still graduate on time!  Just be sure to research in advance which classes your law school offers over the summer. Thayt way, you aren’t counting on taking a required course only to find out it is not available!

Be sure to get some practical experience.

Summer is a great time to gain some practical experience during law school.  If you aren’t taking any classes, you may be able to work full-time during the summer.  The extra money will surely be nice, and the experience that you get at a real workplace is immeasurable.  As you are looking for a job after law school, practical experience will likely be looked upon much more favorably by a potential employer than will the fact that you took a summer class.

Even if you do end up taking a class during the summer, try to take a class that also allows you to work at a job or internship as much as possible.  For instance, if you can work full-time and take one evening class, you are getting the best of both worlds: you are getting practical experience AND continuing to work on your credit hour requirements.

Do your research on the financial aspect of summer classes.

Perhaps you want to spread out the cost of law school tuition.  In that case, you might want to take summer classes.  On the other hand, if you are receiving financial aid, make sure you know whether your financial aid will cover your summer classes.  If your financial aid is only paid out once or twice per year, you may not have financial aid to cover summer classes.  Or you may need to plan ahead to allocate some money to summer tuition in advance.

Also, keep in mind that some schools charge a flat rate for “full-time” tuition.  In that case, if you are already taking the minimum number of credits that constitute “full time” during the fall or winter semester, you will essentially get a “free” class if you add an extra class to your schedule rather than putting that class off until the summer.  If you put that extra class off until the summer, you will end up paying more than you have to!  Law school is already expensive – you don’t want to incur extra unnecessary costs!

Don’t blow it off!

If you do take a summer class, be sure to take it seriously!  If you aren’t going to do the reading or show up for the lectures because you want to spend some time outdoors while the weather is nice, there is no point in taking the class!  Your GPA in your summer class counts toward your overall GPA just as much as every other class, so you should definitely take it seriously!  The professor is not going to go easy just because the weather is nice outside.  Keep this in mind as you are deciding whether to take a summer class!

One Comment


    Hello – do you have a list of schools that allow visiting students to take a winter course? I am a 2L and my law school does not have winter sessions. It is very hard to find law schools that offer these.

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