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The Summer Start Advantage

Summer Start Program

Start law school early and enjoy the benefits. All summer starters begin law school in late May and enjoy several advantages.

The Benefits

Small class sizes

Summer start classes are significantly smaller than typical first-year law classes.

Start law school with a lighter load

You’ll work hard in summer school, but you’ll only be taking two classes at a time.

Flexible start

Worried about the first-year crush? Want the freedom to take a lighter load in your final semester? Summer starters get an 8-credit head start on completing the 90 credits required to graduate. That's like starting a 100-yard dash at the 10-yard mark, meaning you can take a slightly easier path to the finish line. You'll still work hard, but you'll also have the opportunity to take fewer credits per semester and still graduate on time. Following is a sample schedule for the path you might take:

  Summer Fall Winter Spring
First year 8 credits 12 - 14
Second year 2 14 2 14
Third Year - 12 - 12
Total credits: 90

Electives in the first year

Because summer starters have already completed two substantive courses, they have the chance to take up to two electives in their first year.

Accelerated Program

Want to finish law school almost a year ahead of schedule? Summer starters who choose the Accelerated Program can complete their J.D. in a little over two years by attending school during summer and winter. Here's how it's done:

  Summer Fall Winter Spring
First year 8 credits 16 - 16
Second year 8 16 2 16
Third Year 8 - - -
Total credits: 90

Financial Considerations

For students worried about the cost of law school, the Accelerated Program is one fundamental way to keep your debt under control. Because tuition is on a per-credit payment system, you'll still end up paying about the same in tuition. So if the cost is the same, how do summer starters in the Accelerated Program save money?

  1. One less year in living expenses.
  2. Start your career one year early, providing a bonus year of employment.
  3. No student fees for the third year.

But what about your scholarship?

Scholarships are awarded on a semester basis, so you will not be able to use the third year. For example, if you have been awarded a $2,500 per year scholarship, you will receive $5,000 total over two years.

How to Apply

The requirements and process for enrollment in the Summer Start program are the same as for the J.D. program, with the following exceptions:

  • The deadline to apply for the Summer Start program is April 15.
  • You will apply using the J.D. application on the LSAC website. Question 1 of the application asks whether you are applying for the "Fall Session" or "Summer Session." Please mark "Summer Session."
  • Your choice of session is not binding until March 15. If you want to change your selection, you must inform the Admissions Office by that date.


KU Law charges students on a per-credit basis, so tuition will be higher in your first year but lower in your second and third years. Comparing fall starters to summer starters demonstrates the difference:

  Fall Starters Summer Starters
1st Year 29 credits 37 credits
2nd & 3rd Year 61 credits 53 credits


Scholarships are awarded per year, not per credit, and are disbursed in the fall and spring semesters. For example, if you have been awarded a $5,000 scholarship in the first year, you will receive a $2,500 award in the fall semester followed by a $2,500 award in the spring semester.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available for summer starters. For more information, please contact the KU Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships.

Info for 2021 Summer Starters

Orientation & Lawyering Class

Summer Start students must arrive on Thursday, May 20 for the Entering Student Program, which lasts from May 20-May 24. This three-day lawyering "boot camp" (Course #: LAW 820) will provide you with the essential knowledge and skills necessary for success in law school.

View the detailed Entering Student Program schedule here.

View the first and second summer session schedules here.

First day assignments are posted below:
  • Go to http://www.uscourts.gov/about-federal-courts and read the information contained in the sections below. Please also watch the short video on state and federal courts at https://www.fjc.gov/node/1616326.
    1. Federal Courts and the Public
    2. Court Role and Structure
    3. Comparing Federal and State Courts
    4. About the U.S. Courts of Appeal
  • Read Chapters 1-3 in your Lawyering Skills textbook--A Lawyer Writes: A Practical Guide to Legal Analysis by Christine Coughlin, Joan Malmud & Sandy Patrick (Carolina Academic Press 2018) (ISBN 9781531008765).*

*The KU bookstore will likely not have this book available by orientation. If you are unable to purchase the book through other means before orientation, we can provide you with copies of the assigned chapters during orientation.

Regular Schedule

Beginning May 25, summer start students will attend classes per the schedule below. Classes will meet every weekday. You do not need to enroll yourselves in summer classes because the law school registrar will enroll you in mid-May.

First Session (May 25-June 18, No classes on May 31st for Memorial Day) Exams: June 21st & 23rd

LAW 831




Room 203

LAW 814

Criminal Law



Room 203

Second Session (June 24-July 19) Exams: July 21st & 23rd

LAW 831




Room 203

LAW 814

Criminal Law



Room 203

First-year courses will be taught in traditional 80-minute time periods over 18 class days.




Contact KU Law Admissions

Steven Freedman, Assistant Dean
Bryanna Hanschu, Director of Recruiting

103 Green Hall

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