How Long Does Summer School Last?

How Long Does Summer School Last?

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If someone from your or your child’s school has recently contacted you about summer school, you may have lots of questions. One of the most commonly asked ones concerns how long summer school lasts.

The length of summer school will depend on a few factors but is typically anywhere from one to six weeks. Most summer school programs are around the three-week mark. The summer school will depend on the type of summer school you plan on attending, the state you live in, and your grade standing.

Every school district has a different curriculum for its summer school programming, and a lot depends on the purpose of the summer school you’ll be attending. Most importantly, the length of summer school depends on your current grade level, as summer school options for elementary school students and college-aged students will be vastly different. I’ll discuss the possibilities more in-depth below. 

How Long Is Summer School?

Summer school typically lasts three to four weeks but can be as long as eight weeks or as short as a week. Summer school length depends on the state you live in and the purpose of the summer school you’re attending. It also depends on whether you’re in elementary, middle, or high school. 

Some schools require students to attend summer school if they have a certain number of absences or if their grades dropped below a specific threshold. Other schools offer a plethora of summer programs for interests such as STEM or theater. 

The variation between summer options is even more significant if you’re thinking of attending post-secondary summer school. 

In college, there are always summer options for students who need to graduate earlier or who need to recover credits from the previous semester. These kinds of courses are typically on a free-will basis, and you should be able to pick how many hours you can take. 

If it’s a different type of summer program, like the kind you apply for and compete with other students against, the length will vary greatly. 

How Many Hours a Day Is Summer School?

It may be important to know how many hours a day you’ll need to set aside for summer school, especially if you’re working a summer job.

Summer school is typically only half a day. Most summer schools are about four hours long, but this also depends on the summer school. Some summer schools run for as little as one hour, and some may go up to eight hours if it’s only a week-long program.

Again, this will depend on the type of summer school you’re attending. For shorter programs, the hours run a little longer. If you can only participate in essentially one to two hours a day, you can count on having a more extended program period. 

If you’re attending summer courses, this can take up as much time or as little time as you would like. Because these courses have a shorter period than a regular semester, you can count on the classes being a little longer to get all of your credit hours in. 

Is Summer School Every Day?

Maybe you’re planning for your vacation and curious about how many weekend trips you can get away with while still in summer school. 

Summer school usually isn’t every day. Most summer school programs are typically only four days a week total. Sometimes, summer school is only one day a week, and sometimes it’s five. The summer school will rarely ever be on a Saturday or Sunday. 

This will depend on what summer school you’re going to and what the program looks like. You might attend a five-day program that only lasts two weeks out of the summer. Or, you may be in a program that only meets once a week but convenes over the entirety of a summer semester. 

In college, you can select as many summer courses as you’d like so that you may have a class every day of the week. Again, it’s rare these courses would take place on a Saturday or Sunday, though. 

Is Summer School the Whole Summer?

If you wonder whether or not the commitment is worth the benefits of summer school, you may wonder how much of your summer will be consumed with school. Will it last the entire summer? 

Summer school doesn’t last a whole summer. It is typically between one to four weeks. Most of the time, it’s only four weeks total. Schools usually have an eight-week vacation for the summer.

Everyone needs a break, and no matter what you hope to attend summer school for, you undoubtedly need a little bit of time to reset before the fall semester. Most programs don’t run the entire summer and don’t meet as often as the regular school requires. 

If you’re looking for complete summer programs, it’s more likely to find hobby or talent camps that run for an entire nine weeks than to find a mandatory program that runs a whole summer. 

Credit recovery programs are sometimes the length of an entire semester, but this again depends on your school district and their requirements for credit recovery. 

Sometimes, if you’re attending college and looking at summer programs, the course may go the entirety of the summer. However, it would rarely require you to attend five days a week for eight hours a day in this case, and they’d still allow holidays off. 

What Do You Do at Summer School?

In the states, there are tons of different summer school options. These options vary by age, as well. From kindergarten up to your college years, most grades will offer some type of summer schooling option. 

What you do at summer school will depend on what kind of program you’re attending. Some students go for credit recovery; these programs are usually mandatory for failing students. Some schools offer summer schools with STEM education credits or have theater programs. 

Again, this will depend significantly on why you want to attend summer school. Below, I’ll discuss the different standard summer programs.

Credit recovery can help put you back on track for graduation and ensure you graduate with your friends or in time to start a professional job if you are in college. Taking extra courses during the summer may also advance your graduation date or prepare you to transition to a different school. If you want to attend something to help cultivate your hobbies, there are many options everywhere. 

Summer School for Credit Recovery

Do you need to get back on track for graduation? At some schools, you can recover credits at summer school. 

If you had difficulty passing classes during the regular school year, you could get a second chance during summer school. These programs are pretty rigid, as “second-chance” programs rarely allow excessive absences and require that you put in the work to recover credits. Though you’ll need to attend, some of these summer programs can be taken online, making them a little more flexible.

Credit recovery is usually an effort to support students who are at risk of dropping out or not graduating. It offers the chance to get more personalized instruction and try to boost your GPA. 

This is an option most common in high school and college. For college credit recovery, you’ll still have to pay for the credits you failed. However, it can often replace the bad grade on your transcript. If offered through your district in high school, credit recovery is free and only requires your time. This can depend on the district, though. If you are experiencing financial hardships, you can talk to your school about reduced prices or payment plans. 

You can check your student handbook or ask your front office to learn more about credit recovery options. If you’re in college, it should be as simple as enrolling for summer courses. If you are going to do a course for credit recovery, be sure that your school district will replace your grade even if you take the course outside of your school. 

Summer Classes at Summer School

Sometimes, schools will offer summer classes to help students transition more effectively from one grade to the next or to help them get ahead for the following year. 

In middle school, it’s common for school districts to provide a transition program for middle schoolers to transition to high school. If a student has fallen behind and needs to take a remedial course like English or algebra, this can also be a summer school option rather than a class that might take them off their course during the school year.

There are also options for taking classes to get ahead in high school, but these are rarer to come by. It’s most typical that if a high school student does want to take extra courses to get ahead during school, they’ll need to get approval from their school and possibly pay for the courses through an outside source. There are online programs that’ll provide extra coursework. 

Universities and colleges have tons of summer class options, and they can help students get ahead on their graduation plan and possibly graduate early. Summertime is usually more flexible with the school you attend, too, meaning you can take community college courses during the summer to save money. 

Graduating early allows students to enter the work field early, do internships, or save money on housing by allowing the student to move back home sooner.

They also allow taking remedial courses in your freshman or sophomore year so that you can stay on your college course even if you are behind. Some colleges have you take a test at the beginning of the year to take remedial math or regular math courses. 

These courses are typically required for all degrees, so the school wants to set you up for success by ensuring that you’re ready to take the math course before paying for it. 

Summer Programming

Summer programs look terrific on a resume but can be competitive to get into.

There are summer programs for elementary-aged, middle school, high school, and college students. 

Elementary-aged and middle school summer programs are most often fun programs that help students cultivate their talents and learn more about their hobbies. These can be acting camps, STEM camps, art camps, or more. These are often short-lived unless a student wants to go to a more intensive summer program setting, like an overnight camp.

In high school, summer programs can get a little more intense. Universities all over the country offer summer programs to students that help prepare them for school or learn more about their prospective majors. There are:

Prestigious colleges, such as Harvard, offer summer programs to high schoolers and other prospective students. These summer programs are super competitive but will look amazing on a college resume.

Colleges also have summer program options, and these can be tons of fun if you’re looking for something else to add to your resume. You can join a summer internship program as well, which will help you network for your future jobs. In college, internships are often required as a part of your course plan. Some professional careers will only consider you can applicant if you have participated in an internship or apprenticeship program. 

If you’re interested in a summer program, there are tons of options available. You can look for specific interests, start with the college you are interested in, or look for the top-rated programs in the country. 


The length of your summer school semester is going to depend significantly on a variety of different things:

  • It may depend on the state in which you’re living and the requirements of the school district. 
  • The type of summer school you’re looking for may affect the length of your summer program.
  • Typically, programs won’t run for a whole summer, the entire day, or the entire week. You’ll get a break-even if you do go to summer school.  

If you’re interested in summer school, it may be a good idea to look into your options.