'Academically Adrift' Argues College Students Have Plenty of Time to Work

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Academically Adrift, a new book written by a pair of sociology professors, is generating quite a bit of controversy. Richard Arum and Josipa Roska found that most students aren't learning much of anything in college -- and they're not studying nearly as much as they once did.

Their survey of more than 2,300 students, at a wide variety of four-year colleges, found college students spend 51% of each week on socializing and recreation. 24% of that week is devoted to sleeping, and 9% goes to working and student clubs and volunteering. Time in class and time spent studying outside of class, combined, account for just 16% of the average college student's week.

Here's the conclusion I draw from this study: If you think your kid shouldn't get a job because he or she needs that time to study, you're an idiot. If you want to argue that your kid shouldn't work because he or she needs time to play beer bong, that's much closer to the reality.

Working Towards a Debt-Free Degree

I've written at some length about the benefits of working during college -- students who work actually graduate with, on average, slightly higher GPAs than students who don't work -- but I am always hearing from parents, who complain about the academic dangers of having students work during college.

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What is interesting is you never hear the "students who work during college won't have time to study" argument from anyone who's in college or is a recent graduate. We know that's a bunch of garbage. You always hear that argument from well-intentioned liberals (not that there's anything wrong with being a liberal; they're just the ones who tend to make this argument) who have no idea what's actually going on at college campuses. Hopefully, this new research will stifle that argument.

The average college student who borrows money for school graduates with about $24,000 in debt -- or $6,000 per year, assuming your kid graduates in four years. But If your child works enough to earn $115.38 per week (after-tax), that's enough to reduce that $6,000 per year in borrowing to 0 -- a debt-free college grad.

In summary: shut up and get a job.

Zac Bissonnette'
s Debt-Free U: How I Paid For An Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships, Or Mooching Off My Parents was called the "best and most troubling book ever about the college admissions process" by The Washington Post.
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