Return to Blog Homepage

Are 3+3 (Accelerated Law School) Programs Right for You?


What if you could knock off a whole year from your law degree? That’s the magic of 3+3 programs (also known as accelerated law school programs). They let you finish a BA or BS and a JD in just six years total instead of the typical seven. 

 Sounds pretty tempting, right? However, if you’re wondering whether an accelerated law school program is right for you, the answer firmly falls in the “It depends” category.

What are Accelerated Law School Programs?

A 3+3 program is an option offered by your undergraduate university that lets you start and finish law school sooner than your peers. Instead of completing four years of undergrad, you will only need to complete three before starting law school. 

Each 3+3 program is unique and has its own admissions requirements, but in most cases, you’ll apply to a 3+3 program your junior year of undergrad. Others allow you to apply as a high school senior.

Advantages of Accelerated Law School Programs

Start Law School Sooner

Time efficiency stands out as the most significant advantage offered by 3+3 programs. While your peers are gearing up for a fourth year of undergrad, you’ll be starting as a 1L, one step closer to becoming a lawyer. 

Early Entry into the Job Market

Completing law school a year sooner than expected allows you to enter the workforce earlier. This can be extremely beneficial for those who are eager to start their careers and begin gaining experience in the legal field.

Financial Savings

One less year of undergrad means one less year of paying undergrad tuition! Some law schools also have special scholarships for students accepted into their 3+3 law programs. 

Learn More

7 Law School Scholarships You Need to Apply For

The Types of Law School Loans

Focused Learning Experience

Do you ever find yourself packing your schedule with random classes to fulfill a credit requirement? 3+3 programs provide a streamlined path to the Juris Doctor (JD) degree without the distraction of unrelated undergraduate courses. This intense focus can be beneficial for those with a clear commitment to a legal career.

Sign up to get expert tips and exclusive invites to free LSAT classes and law school admissions workshops!

Disadvantages of Accelerated Law School Programs

Missing Out On the Undergraduate Experience

On the flip side, students in these programs may miss out on the full undergraduate experience, including the opportunity to explore other interests. You might think you want to go to law school, but if you haven’t let yourself try anything else, how will you really know?

Choosing the rigorous 3+3 program path may close other doors that you never knew existed and career paths you never considered.  Alternatively, a dual degree program lets you get a JD and an additional degree in a different field. 

Limited Law School Choices

Law schools with accelerated programs will either offer a path within the same university system or through a separate, unaffiliated university. In other words, if your undergrad university has a law school, then its 3+3 program will be in partnership with them. 

This takes the stress out of deciding what and how many law schools to apply to and bypassing the broader law school admissions process. However, you won’t have the option to apply to other law schools, compare financial aid packages, or consider other important factors such as location, reputation, and areas of legal study.

You May Not Be Ready for Law School

There’s a reason why some people take a gap year before law school. It’s a big enough commitment as it is. Starting it sooner than you should might affect your 1L performance. 

Additionally, the added stress of maintaining a strong academic standing to even be competitive as a 3+3 applicant can add undue stress to your undergrad experience, potentially leading to burnout when you get into law school 

Should I Apply to a 3+3 Law School Program?

It’s important to carefully weigh your options when considering a 3+3 program. While it may seem like a convenient path to law school, it also comes with its limitations. 

Moreover, keep in mind that not all ABA-accredited law schools or top law schools offer 3+3 programs. So if you have your heart set on attending a particular law school, you might have to start planning your strategy when you’re initially choosing an undergrad school.

Before making any decisions, ask yourself these questions: 

  • If you didn’t get to skip a year, where would the law school in question rank among your choices? 
  • Where else could you likely get in?

If your undergrad has a 3+3 program, you’re sure you want to go to law school, and the law school in the 3+3 program would rank high among your choices anyway, then go for it. 

If, on the other hand, the only thing that draws you to a 3+3 program is getting to skip a year of undergrad, think about it some more. It’s not worth it if you would otherwise get to choose a law school that would put you in a much better position to get the kind of job you want or that lets you live where you want. 

We’ve all fantasized at least once about skipping school and getting one step closer to our dreams. However, shaving off one year isn’t a big deal compared to career outcomes that will affect the rest of your life.

If you think your LSAT score is holding you back from exploring other law schools, let’s change that! Blueprint LSAT students increase their scores by 15 points on average through live classes, a Self-Paced Course, and private tutoring. Our Law School Admissions Consultants can also help you craft a competitive application. 

Get started for free by creating a Blueprint LSAT account to get access to tons of free LSAT resources, including a Study Planner Tool, practice test, score report, and more!