Does Juggling School and Work Lower Your Academic Performance?


Danielle Crabtree and Caelin Flora

It is argued that having a job while in high school can lead to less personal time and lower academic achievement. While writing our argument essay for Dual Enrollment English, we researched “Why teenagers should have part-time jobs.” But when we started interviewing people for the Tallwood Roaring Gazette we found that most Tallwood students felt that having a job hindered their academic performance, while the teachers we heard from felt the opposite. 

“While the correlation between working and grades is not easy to measure, researchers have learned that students who work upward of 20 hours a week suffer from reduced academic performance (Pros and Cons of Working a Job In High School).” Many students are dealing with this dilemma.

“A lot of times it negatively affects my school because I often work late nights which affects my sleep, and less sleep affects my productivity in school.” says Nick Espinoza, a senior in the GSWLA academy 

With normal school hours starting at 7:20 AM, it makes it even harder for students who work closing shifts at their jobs. In general, teenagers need more sleep to function. According to the article “Teenagers and Sleep: How Much is Enough?”, teens need an average of nine to nine and a half hours of sleep per night. “I get home around 11 PM-12 AM and that makes me go to bed around 12 AM-1 AM, especially since my job is fifteen to twenty minutes away.” states Espinoza along with students in the same bind working late nights. 

“After a long day of work and coming home at 2 AM, I had a marketing exam a few hours later. During my exam, I instantly fell asleep out of exhaustion and ended up failing.” says Zarria Russell, another senior in the GSWLA academy. 

Research shows that for some students working in high school, it can cause a decline in their academic performance. An article by the  University of Washington showed that researchers found some students who work in high school can have a tendency to focus more on their jobs and the rewards that come with them. As a result, students lose sight of the importance of their schoolwork. The most important part of being a student and holding a part-time job is to remember that your education comes first. 

Interestingly enough, we found that teachers have opposing views on this than students. 

“I think that having a job while being in school can be a good thing; however there needs to be an understanding with your parents that your main job is school and only work as many hours that is appropriate for that student.” states Mrs. Morris-Platte, an Anatomy & Adaptive P.E teacher. This goes to show that it might be worth considering the student and their time management skills before they add a job into the equation.

Based on our interviews from both teachers and students, juggling school and work can only really work if the student has good time management skills. When deciding whether or not to have a job, the student needs to think about whether they would be able to balance it with school and consider everything else that they already have on their plate. Work can be positive or negative based on how much a student decides to work. The more hours they work, the harder it will be to balance with school, and this can lead to lowering your academic performance.