August 12, 2013

Can work boost teens' grades?

Posted: August 12, 2013
Paul LePore
Associate dean for student and academic programs in ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Paul LePore.
Photo by: Tom Story

Should your teen take a part-time job? Weighing the gains and challenges in a piece published in Bankrate, the question of how working impacts teen academic performance is tackled by ASU's Paul LePore, associate dean for student and academic programs in ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and other experts in Arizona and Michigan.

"Interestingly enough, students who work a little bit, not a lot, maybe between five and 10 hours a week, did the best – academically – out of them all," said LePore.

However, he goes on to note that while working at a part-time job can be worthwhile for teens, "too many hours can hurt their academic performance."

"Doing an extensive amount of work per week, particularly for younger high school kids, is associated with much more negative consequences academically," LePore said. "Ten hours per week is usually the peak at which students benefit from, and going beyond that, then it goes down."

The article also examines the benefits of gaining money-management experience and how work can affect a student's long-term achievement.

"Having a job that's related to a career of interest to a student is best," LePore said.

LePore is a clinical professor in the School of Social and Family Dynamics whose research examines factors that promote academic achievement and student success.

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