Dave Says

Well-meaning, but misguided

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Dave Ramsey

March 13, 2024

Dear Dave,

Our son will be graduating from high school in May and then heading off to college in August. He will also be working during the summer to save up money for school. When classes begin, do you think he should continue working a part-time job, or would it be better for him to focus solely on his studies?


Dear Brenda,

There’s really nothing wrong with either approach, especially during a kid’s first semester in college. As a parent, though, I’d urge you not to fall into the trap of thinking his grades will go down if he holds a job while in school. Research actually shows that, on average, kids who work while in college carry higher grade point averages than those who don’t.

The reasons for this differ, depending on who you ask, but I think a lot of it has to do with them having to learn to manage their time – and their lives – more effectively. Lots of kids could pay their way through school, and not have to worry about student loans, if they just used some of the time they spend watching television and on social activities at a job.

We never required our kids to work during the school year, but they were self-starters. And when they came home for the summer, there was no such thing as just lying around the house all day. They had jobs, and they made money. Of course, some of it went toward having a little fun during their time off. But we made sure they set some aside for the next school year, too.

Long story short, the philosophy of not wanting kids at college to work so they can spend all their time studying is well-meaning but misguided. For the most part, kids who work while they’re in school will make better grades and develop into more mature and well-rounded individuals.

I hope this helps, Brenda!


Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey is a seven-time #1 national best-selling author, personal finance expert, and host of The Ramsey Show, heard by more than 16 million listeners each week. He has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Today Show, Fox News, CNN, Fox Business, and many more. Since 1992, Dave has helped people regain control of their money, build wealth and enhance their lives. He also serves as CEO for Ramsey Solutions.