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To summer school or not to summer school?

Woman juggling

Is it nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous readings or forgo that sea of troubles for a few carefree months in the sunshine?

How do you decide whether summer school is for you? Although it’s great for us to ‘shuffle off the mortal coil’ of law school (at least for a few months) and enjoy some much-needed personal TLC, summer school also offers some fantastic benefits and flexibility for your enrolment.

Focused study opportunities

It is important to remember that studying over the summer doesn’t necessarily mean enrolling full time. In fact, many students are encouraged to just do one or two, and for good reason. By utilizing the additional study period, you have the opportunity to undertake some of the more challenging law units by themselves. Even though tackling Administrative Law during a summer heat wave was less than delightful at times, by doing the unit in isolation I could focus entirely on understanding each concept in depth. Our cohort for the summer trimester was also a lot smaller, meaning that we had a lot more one-on-one time with the lecturer and the opportunity to ask detailed questions. Overall, without the pressure of additional assignments and readings, I could channel 100% of my energies into the subject and ultimately secure a higher mark in the examination than I would have if I had been studying full time.


The flexibility option of summer school means that you can make your degree fit with your lifestyle. Doing some subjects on over the summer can help you to reduce your study load at other points in your degree. This is immeasurably useful if you find you need extra time to accommodate an internship, overseas study or personal travel. This year I shifted my enrolment to the summer trimester in order to undertake an intensive elective in the United Kingdom – a decision I certainly don’t regret. It was fantastic knowing that I could take the time to study abroad without falling behind back home.

Different modes of study

Most universities will give you the option to either study on-campus or online over the summer. So if the idea of sitting in a lecture theatre instead of soaking up the sun at the beach makes you a bit gloomy, there’s no reason why you can’t listen to podcasts while working on your tan. Opting in to summer study does not mean opting out of summer fun – you can in fact do both!

At the end of the day, however, you have to consider your mental wellbeing as your number one priority. Many students benefit from the lengthy downtime offered by the university break – it’s a chance to catch up with friends and family, indulge in our hobbies and invigorate our minds in preparation for the next full-on year. These extended holiday opportunities also tend to disappear when we enter the workforce full time; so remember to take these factors into account as well as the advantages offered by summer study.

Whatever your decision, always do what is best for you - happy studying!

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