High School senior year costs can add up

Posted at 5:10 AM, Aug 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-14 10:03:23-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - If you're a parent bracing yourself to pay for college, you may be thinking too far into the future - because senior year of high school can also set you back.

“I remember writing lots of checks and putting out lots of money,” said Vonda Garcia, whose daughter graduated from high school in the last two years.

There's a lot going on, and the costs can add up - not only for college prep but for fun.

A study by the Newark New Jersey Star Ledger found parents are spending thousands.

First, SAT and act prep courses can cost $1,000.

University of California college applications are $70 per campus. California State University system schools charge $55 each. Plus traveling for tours can mean hotels and flights. 

Meanwhile, Visa found the average prom night bill is now about one thousand dollars.

And while you can't control some of the costs, the Star Ledger says you can bring others down. 

For prom, one way is to shop at consignment stores for formal wear and get makeup done at a department store's cosmetic counter.

For yearbook pictures, you can ask the school to let you hire your own, more affordable photographer. 

 One more way to avoid senior surprises is to talk with your child about costs in advance. Let them know that if they want certain things, like a class ring, they'll have to contribute with their own money. 

Parents can share the expenses for things like graduation parties - before their student goes off college, when these high school costs can seem like a bargain.

Here's a breakdown of costs you could come by senior year:

  • Yearbooks: For starters, the traditional high school yearbook now costs $30 to $150.
  • Photos: Senior pictures for that yearbook and mom's bookshelf cost from $40 to as much as $500.
  • Test prep: SAT and ACT test prep classes or online courses can cost between $300 to $1,000.
  • Standard tests: Testing fees range from $35 to $400. Just the SAT? You're lucky. If your child takes AP tests, it will be closer to the $400 mark.
  • Applications: Then expect to pay $200 to $600 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: Visits to those colleges? As much $1,500. This does not include fun road trips.