My son is a freshman in college. Do you think he should work during his first year in school or focus all his attention on his classes?
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with either direction during their first year of college. But as a parent, I’d urge you not to fall into the trap of thinking that a kid’s grades will go down if they work while in school. Research shows that kids who work while in college carry higher grade point averages than those who don’t.
To me, the reason for this is pretty simple. If you’re working and going to school at the same time, you have to learn how to manage your life and your time effectively. Lots of kids could pay their way through college, and not have to worry with student loans, if they just used the time they spend on social activities and watching television at a job.
I never required my kids to work during the school year. But they all have good work ethics, and they’re definitely not bums. During the summer, though, there was no such thing as sitting around. They had jobs. My youngest just finished his sophomore year, and he’s already started a job. Being a vegetable for the entire summer is useless, and we don’t do useless in our family.
But the philosophy of not wanting a kid to work so they can spend all their time studying is misguided. For the most part, kids who work while they’re in school will make better grades and develop into more mature and well-rounded individuals. And besides, if they’re working they can’t waste all their time playing beer pong!
Dave Ramsey is America’s most trusted voice on money and business. He’s authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover and EntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 5 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.