The Admissions Committee selects admitted students to participate in the Summer Program if they possess a strong likelihood of success in law school but would benefit from an extended orientation due to their LSAT score, undergraduate GPA, or other factors, such as their undergraduate major or the amount of time that has passed since they have been enrolled in an academic program. Because the Summer Program is not a performance-based or trial admissions program, all participants are expected to continue with their studies in the fall semester. Student feedback on the Summer Program has been overwhelmingly positive.
The program is divided into two components: a doctrinal component and a skills component. Members of the law school's full-time faculty teach the doctrinal component of the program. In this component, faculty members introduce the students to discrete legal concepts in two subject areas, such as Contracts, Torts, Property, or Constitutional Law. The students gain an understanding of the law school classroom experience in a small classroom setting that promotes advancement of their analytical skills. Dean Gantt and Professor Whittico lead the skills component of the program. In this component, they introduce students to skills that will enhance their law school learning experience. For instance, students learn basic techniques for briefing cases, outlining courses, and preparing for and taking law school exams. They also learn tips regarding fundamental skills, such as time management. In addition to class meetings and individual assistance from faculty, law school graduate assistants selected as Academic Success Scholars help support program participants.
Students in the Summer Program are in class for 20 hours each week, which is approximately four hours each day from Monday through Friday. Also, on one occasion during the Summer Program (historically on the weekend between the two weeks of classes), the law school sponsors a picnic for participants and their families so that participants can interact with faculty members, administrators, and graduate assistants in an informal setting. Students receive feedback on most assignments and on all trial examinations they complete during the program. The Summer Program is designed as a pass/fail course, and students’ transcripts reflect that they participated in the Summer Program, specifically titled as LAW 501: Introduction to the Study of Law. Dean Gantt requires students to complete written evaluations of the Summer Program, and as noted above, student feedback on the program has been overwhelmingly positive.
During these appointments, Professor Whittico addresses specific questions students have about study skills, time management, and other issues related to academic success. She provides select students with a self-assessment inventory to help them identify their strengths and areas to improve. She may also review the students' sample exam and may review their course outlines and previous exams if they are available. In the spring semester, Academic Success scholars supplement the meetings conducted by Professor Whittico by holding one-on-one meetings with students who faced academic difficulty during the fall semester.