Forgoing Employment to Get Ahead

Everyone's situation is different and for many students, work is a reality of high school life. However, if at all possible, try to avoid working a part time job during the school year and if anything, try to get a full time job during the summer. I come from a divorced family where my mother made only 40k per year and I was able to get through my high school years just fine by working part time during the summer. It isn't the most glamorous life, but you won't miss out on anything important (like prom and such) and more importantly, will have precious time to focus on excelling in school.

Sure, a part time job gives you money, experience, and independence, but as we've already said, there is very little that can make up for a weak academic record. Consider not working during the school year as a good investment in your future, because the returns of a better education far outweigh the immediate income of working for $10/hour.In most cases where students work during the year, parents refuse to pay for their kid's car insurance, gas, spending money, etc and force them to cover those expenses. To be honest, I think such a practice is nothing short of silly unless the family is in dire financial need of the extra income. In our public high school experiences, virtually no one that I took AP classes with had a part time job during school, and these happened to be the kids in the top ranks of the school in terms of grades and achievement. This should come as no surprise since they inevitably have more time to spend on school.If you are in a situation where your parents are pushing you to get a part time job during school, you should sit them down and have a serious discussion.

First, let's do the math. Most high school employees are making about nine dollars an hour. If you work three hours a day, and an average of four days per week, it comes out $3888 per school year (nine months). Meanwhile, you've spent 432 hours during that year working when you could have been spending that time getting involved in extracurricular activities and improving your grades. Believe when I say that 432 hours for a student trying to make it to a top university is huge, especially if you apply it over the four years spent in high school. By forgoing that tiny bit of income during high school, you can free up time to get into a significantly better school and the higher income that comes with a better education from a more prestigious school will completely overshadow the little money you made during high school. If you can survive without that money in high school, which most people can, then you should.

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