High School Seniors: An Overview of the Financial Expectations

For parents of high school seniors, the expected costs associated with college are frightening. Unfortunately, for many parents, the costs associated with high school are often overlooked and, as a result, tap into the college savings. To ensure a smooth transition through the senior year in high school, parents should be aware of the many expenses associated with moving through the last year of mandatory education.

By the time most high school students reach their senior year, social networks have developed. Within these networks, many high school seniors will participate in extra curricular activities including sports, spirit teams, Student Council, National Honor Society and even debate clubs. Costs associated with these activities vary from less to $100 to costs well over $500, depending on the program. The costs are attributed to required uniforms, travel expenses, supplies and membership dues.

In addition to extra curricular club memberships, high school seniors will often want to engage in the traditional purchase of senior portraits and purchase of a senior class ring. Senior portraits, from a well qualified studio, depending on package size, can vary in cost but generally are no less than $250.00 per package. Additionally, senior high school rings begin in price ranges generally at no less than $100.00, also depending on the quality and style of ring chosen.

For high school seniors excelling in academics and sports, the parent may often face the cost of purchasing what is known as the “Letterman’s Jacket”. Traditionally, the jacket is made of fine quality material, in school colors, and provides various patches and insignia representing the clubs and activities the high school student may be involved in. High school letterman jackets generally cost no less than $175 and may increase, in price, based on the level of patchwork needed.

From Letterman’s Jackets, we move to the all important high school senior prom. A must attend event for all high school seniors, the cost for one high school student to attend senior prom will vary greatly based upon gender. For boys, the cost is much less significant in that the attire is significantly cheaper. Generally, for boys, the cost of prom tickets, dinner, photographs and tuxedos, will run approximately $300 and may be higher if the high school senior boy chooses to invite a date.

And finally, the high school graduation expenses. The high school senior will require a graduation cap and gown, clothes to be worn with the gown and a standard box of graduation invitations. Minimum cost of graduation is generally $200 in total for the package of high school graduation invitations, cap and gown with dress clothes purchased or used from a home collection.

With these general costs in mind, many high school parents will be better prepared to face the financial obligation of moving forward through the senior year of the high school student’s life and transist into college. In totaling the expenses, the approximate minimum cost of these basic senior high school activities will be expected to begin in the range of $1,125.00. Without expecting these costs, many high school student parents are unprepared. Keep in mind, these expenses do not include the pre-college testing expenses and college admission application fees! For more information on the costs associated with transiting a senior high school student through the last year of high school, consult your child’s student counselor for more information.

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