How much part-time work is too much for students?

A little dab'll do ya

MPR’s Tim Post has a report today about how students are working so much that their studies are suffering.

He’s told by 20-year-old Bianca Jones, a full-time University of St. Thomas journalism student who works more than 30 hours a week:

“There are days where I just dread having to wake up and go to class because I know the day ahead and I know I won’t be getting home until 11 o’clock.”

Post also talks to Leslie Mercer, associate vice chancellor for research and planning at the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system, who tells him it becomes “problematic” when students have to work more than 10 to 12 hours a week during school.

(That’s in line with one report I saw a number of months ago, which puts the danger zone around 15-20 hours a week. Still trying to find that one.)

One writer whose work has appeared on this blog sees it a bit differently.

College student and college-finance writer Zac Bissonnette has practically scoffed at the issue, saying the popular book Academically Adrift shows working a little bit actually improves academic performance.

And for many students, he says, hours lost to work aren’t taken away from studies, the book’s research indicates. They’re just taken away from social activities:

… College students spent 51 percent of each week on socializing and recreation … If you think your kid shouldn’t get a job because he or she didn’t have time to study, you’re an idiot. If you want to argue that your kid shouldn’t work because he or she needs time to play beer pong, that’s much closer to the reality.

  • Anonymous

    I tend to agree with Zac that a moderate amount of work should not hurt academic performance and may even help it.

    But more than fifteen hours per week is a mistake.