The high cost of high school's senior year

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - If you have a son or daughter in high school, you're probably saving up for college, and getting nervous about those big bills on the way.

But you may not realize those big bills start the year before college, when your child is a high school senior.

The $5,000 Senior Year

College bound high school student?

You could shell out $5,000 to $10,000 during senior year, according to a new study by the Newark New Jersey Star Ledger.

-Yearbooks: For starters, the traditional high school yearbook now costs $30 to $150.

-Photos: Senior pictures for that yearbook and Mom's bookshelf: $40 to as much as $500 .

-Test Prep: SAT and ACT test prep classes or online courses: $300 to $1,000.

-Standard Tests: Testing fees: $35 to $400. Just the SAT? You are lucky. If your child takes AP tests, it will be closer to the $400 mark.

-Applications: Then expect to pay $200 to $600 dollars for college applications, at $75 per school, since the average senior applies to four colleges. Some private schools cost well over $100 just for applying.

-Road Trips: And visits to those colleges? As much $1,500. This does not include fun road trips (see Spring Break, below).

Doesn't That Stink?

And from the "doesn't that stink" file, the rising costs of all those senior year social activities.

- Senior events: $50 to $100. This is for just the little get-togethers, not Prom.

-School ring: $150 to $500. Sorry Mom and Dad, rings are no longer $50 as they were when you were in school.

-Prom: We cant forget Prom, essential to many students, which costs from $500 to $3,000.

3 grand for Prom? Doesn't that stink? Of course, these figures are for New Jersey, home to Snookie, The Situation, and other big spenders.

Your costs will probably be a little bit lower.

But we haven't even touched on Spring Break. If your little one insists on a Spring Break trip to Cancun, all bets are off (Add another $1,000 or more).
And parents with kids in sports know the cost of all the travel to games. That one, at least, is not a surprise by senior year.

One way to avoid senior year surprises is to talk with your child about costs in advance, and let them know that if they want certain things -- like class rings -- they are going to have to contribute.

That way you don't waste your money.


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