Over the past 39 years, the teen labor force participation has declined by about 23 percent, while college enrollment rates have risen about 19 percent, according to Teri Morisi branch chief at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These numbers prove that younger generations aren’t getting lazier — something that many are quick to assume.
So what does this mean if your child decides that he or she wants a job while attending school? Should parents side with the majority and encourage their students to focus on their studies or offer to edit their resumes?
It’s easy to tell your child to focus on school work so that he or she will be accepted to a good college. And, truthfully, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Teens need time to socialize and enjoy their adolescent years. Additionally, taking on a job at a young age can lead to issues such as grades suffering, not getting enough sleep, and spending less time with friends and family. In fact, you may see a decrease in academic performance if the student is working more than 15 to 20 hours per week according to Caitrin Blake professional at Concordia University, Portland. Without excellent time management skills, a teen will struggle to maintain his or her school and social lives. For those who excel at prioritizing and are seeking extra responsibilities, summer or part-time jobs may be beneficial to their acceptances into top colleges.
With the number of teens dedicating more time to school, extracurriculars, and summer programs, having real work experience may benefit a teen applying for college. An employed student who maintains his or her GPA while excelling at work shows that the student has mastered time management skills. This will also open another door for a letter of recommendation from a superior. A letter of recommendation from a work supervisor conveys how well a student works with a team, shows initiative and leadership, and embodies responsibility.
If a student really considers what type of degree he or she wants, the individual can attempt to obtain a job in that field. For instance, a student who wants to go into teaching can become a tutor. Let’s say she wants to go into the medical field; she can become a lifeguard. If a student chooses a job in the field in which he or she wishes to work, that student will get a sense of what the future may look like.
Anyone who works knows the value of working in a field that you love. On the flipside, anyone who’s disliked a job can weigh in on how important it is to cross something off your list that you originally thought you would love. If that student who believed she wanted to become a surgeon realizes that she doesn’t respond well to blood when she’s a lifeguard, she no longer has to spend thousands of dollars at school before she discovers that.
Fairmont Prep sophomore Bikrum Sawhney held a part-time job as a tutor from August through October 2018. Sawhney found that, at the start of the school year, he wasn’t being fully challenged and wanted something to fill his time. He was excited at the opportunity to make his own money and enjoyed his position. He was able to manage his time well, but when basketball season began, on top of increasing academic responsibilities, he felt he needed to quit his job in order to maintain his GPA and perform well on the court.
Before turning down your child’s request to find a job, consider the benefits of a high school student’s employment. If you’re hesitant about your student taking on a part-time job during the school year, summer jobs are great options. Make your expectations clear, and be sure to monitor his or her coursework, energy and stress levels, and time management to help your child become successful in the workplace. If things don’t go as planned, the student can always decide to resign in order to focus on academics. Ultimately, it is up to the parents and the student to decide if the student is ready to become employed.