Considerations for High School Students Working after School

After school work for high school students can be a little tricky depending on the job and the student. In the United States, most states limit the number of hours per week that a student is allowed to work. Some laws even limit how late a student can expect to stay at work on a school night. All states, restrict this type of work by age. Consequently, the first real consideration about after school work is how do these laws apply to the specific student?

By the time most high school students are 17 or so, most restrictions are satisfied. This brings up a whole new list of things to be addressed. For most parents, the first concern is whether the student actually needs to work. Many young people want to work so that they don’t feel as dependent upon their parents. Their spending won’t be scrutinized as much, and they will almost always have more available cash than an allowance provides.

Most young people don’t “need” to work. They will still eat, have a place to live, and have clothing if they choose not to work. Given the feelings and financial means of the parents, the young person may not get a car to drive or have spending money to flash around in front of friends. Some parents hire their children to work for them around the house. This rarely generates the income dreamed about by the student or bragged about by friends.

A second concern is maintaining grades. If you child is on track to earn significant scholarships, most part-time jobs won’t be able to get close to the cash generated by even modest scholarships. A scholarship worth $2,000 per year for 4 years will be difficult to match unless your child has a rich uncle paying them $25 per hour to bag groceries.

Not only are grades a consideration here, but time to become proficient in athletics can also figure in to this equation. Many schools will give far better scholarships to top athletes than top academic performers. Practice times for many sports require enough hours per week that after school work is probably not an option.

Many after school jobs take time away from family activities. The student’s free time all but disappears when work, homework, and sleep are crowded into their life. Even weekends are often taken from the family schedule because that’s the two days employers like to give students as many hours as possible. Their full-time staff wants to have weekends off and students are hired to plug the gaps. This is mostly true in retail businesses, but heath-care related jobs also fall into this category. This weekend work can be especially troubling for families with strong religions ties.

If you have a child that has trouble staying awake in class, their part-time job will be the first thing eliminated. Try to give your working student a few weeks to develop a routine to manage time better. If after about a month, problems with alertness in class or poor grades continue to be manifested, this job probably is not for your child.