Does having a job while in college increase or decrease student graduation rates? - Merit Educational Consultants

Does having a job while in college increase or decrease student graduation rates?

College students who work part time (15 or fewer hours per week) are more likely to graduate within 6 years (67%) than students who didn’t work at all (40%), students who worked 16-34 hours a week (35%), and those who worked more than 35 hours per week (16%). Hmm. Those who worked on campus were twice as likely to earn a degree within 6 years (66%) than those who worked off campus (28%).

According to a federal study, when students work on campus less than 15 hours a week, they have the highest graduation rate. So parents, if you think that paying tuition, room and board, and entertainment costs will give your child more time to study and increase their chance of graduating, think again. Instead, give them a little real-life responsibility earning their spending money and having a real job. That mindset seems to play an important part in their overall college experience.

I remember working with parents who insisted on making their child’s job simply studying and passing classes. In theory that might make sense, but I found that not having to prepare food (meal plan), clean house (janitors in dorms), earn money for entertainment (beer pong), or manage their expenses (Daddy please add money to my account!), creates an unrealistic world for the student.

On the other hand, students who work 16 hours a week and up to full time, are so immersed in the real world that they often succumb to employment-related pressures like covering other employee’s shifts, working overtime, and being so exhausted from work that their studies slip. These students often have the additional stress of paying tuition and living expenses. They often become seduced by the lure of seemingly large paychecks and then take a break from classes or drop out.

So parents, encourage your children to get very part time work on campus. They’ll become more responsible, they’ll appreciate the cost of their education, and they’ll earn that coveted degree!