Do Your Homework: What to Consider When Choosing a Summer College Program for High School Students Interested in Law

Why Attend a College Program While in High School?

There are two main reasons why I would like to send my high schooler to a college program specializing in law this summer. The most important reason for me that he wants to go! Is there anything as great as a motivated teenager?

The second reason is that programs like these will beef up his college application. Think of all the variables at work when applying for college: grades, school clubs and sports, after school activities, community service and volunteering. And then there's high school AP courses. ACT and SAT grades. Graduation honors (valedictorian, salutatorian). Who knows how he will compare with other seniors when he is applying for the college of his choice? A summer program specializing in law at a college will give him something extra on his application and will also introduce him to college life.

Credit or Non-Credit Hours?

I think that for a freshman (my son is a freshman), rising sophomore, either a course that earns college credit or one that doesn't is fine. Of course, it would be great to get some college courses under your belt, but you can also do that with high school AP classes. My emphasis for my teen is not so much earning the credit, but having the experience and being able to show that he is ambitious and eager to learn about the subject of his choice.

Location and Cost

I have found that the programs vary widely in cost. University of Mississippi has a three week program that is less expensive than an eight day program at Georgetown University. The answer to this issue will be your budget. It's my understanding that summer programs for high school students cannot be paid for with 529 college savings plans; however, it appears to me that any money saved in a Coverdell might be eligible. This is a question for your tax advisor!

If you are comfortable sending your teenager to a university in another part of the country, then you have many choices when selecting a summer law program. If this seems extreme, you might consider your local university first, then colleges and universities near your relatives, in order to give yourself more peace of mind this summer.

Colleges Offering Summer Law Programs to High School Students

This table includes a few of the law courses for high school students that I found to be available at U.S. colleges and universities.

Law Courses Offered
Who Can Attend
Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Law & Litigation, Two Weeks, Non-Credit
Rising Juniors and Seniors
Tuition $2500, With Room/Meals $3500
Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
Law Institute, 8 Days, Non-Credit
Rising Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors
Tuition/Room/Meals $2400
Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
Fundamentals of Law, 5 Weeks, Credit
Rising Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors
Tuition $1700, With Room/Meals $3700
Cornell University
Law Course, 3 Weeks, Credit
Rising Juniors and Seniors
Tuition $6000, With Room/Meals $10,000
University of Mississippi
Introduction to Law, 4 Weeks, Credit
Rising Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors
Tuition/Room/Meals $2100

The Program We Chose for Our High Schooler

We chose the law program offered by Institutes at Georgetown University for our rising sophomore. Washington, D.C. is convenient to us using Amtrak and my son has traveled there several times, which will give him a sense of familiarity. We also like the short duration for his first summer program experience. This program gives him a full day program for the money versus some of the other programs where he would have many free hours a day for several weeks. We are waiting to see if he is accepted!

What would be a larger consideration in determining which summer program is best for your high schooler, cost or proximity to home?

  • Cost
  • Proximity to Home
See results without voting

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