Senior year expenses

by: Savannah Sousa and Kendall Hadfield

Do any of you seniors feel like you’ve spent a lot of money this year? Us too. Senior year is packed with new opportunities but opportunities that cost money. Our previous years we have been spoiled with free PSAT’s and no extra expenses like college applications, cap and gowns, and Disneyland grad night. Despite how expensive these things can get, we still pay because of nostalgia and college necessity.

Let’s start with the basic cap and gown. When you order your cap and gown there are different packages you are able to purchase. Some packages offer tassels, sweatshirts, cards, keychains, etc. Depending what you need, the price ranges from $20 to $300. They can be pretty pricey but in order to be in the ceremony, you need it to graduate.

Every year our senior class plans a trip specifically for us seniors. It’s an end of the year trip and the last chance to have fun together and escape all the stress before college or life after high school begins. This year the trip is $185. It includes the charter bus fee and tickets to get into the Disneyland park, California adventure, and the Disneyland Grad Night party. This trip is optional but many seniors want a last hoorah. There are so many lasts during senior year that we feel pressured not to miss any like our last field trip-Disneyland Grad Night.

As AP students we work all year to pass the AP test. The test is optional but is highly encouraged. Each test is $40 and $10 with the discount. Many of us have multiple AP tests and it can pile up. These tests pay off in the end because they have the potential to replace a college course that costs way more than $40. These tests are more of a necessity and practical than nostalgia. It is our first taste of having to pay to take tests.

Another necessary expense is the SAT and ACT. To gain admission into college the SAT is a must. The ACT helps chances of admission into schools on the east coast and private schools. Usually, students want to get the best score they can and take it multiple times. The SAT is around $53 and the ACT is around $63. There are fee waivers for those who qualify. We are pressured to take these tests because they are a requirement if you want to attend a four-year university.

Most college applications have a fee. CSU is $55 and for UC’s it is $70. Most students apply to multiple schools. There are fee waivers if you qualify. The cost of these applications can limit students to the amount of school’s they apply. These are definitely a necessity, not for nostalgia. My advice for juniors is to be aware ahead of time and be prepared to pay for each application.

Another expense is getting a letterman jacket or a class ring. These items are both great memory holders and awesome to have. If you are on a varsity sport, cheer, or band you’re are able to get your varsity stripes for your jacket. Jackets are very expensive, they usually range around $200 just for the jacket. Everything you add on (stripes, name, quote, images, etc.) can add on to the price and can go up to about $400 or even more depending on what you get. Class rings range anywhere from $90 to $500 depending on preference. These can be a great way to show off your high school memories and are worth the expense.

One more memento most students want is a yearbook. Yearbook prices range depending on what time you purchase one. They can range from $35 to $90. Yearbooks are full of memories and are something we can look back on when we are older. Yearbooks are almost a must-have and add to the expense of senior year.

This year Prom is $70 a person. This price includes dancing, activities, and dinner. Prom has long been a high school tradition. It is iconic and most students want to go to prom. In past years, attendance has not been high because of the party bus trend, so junior class has incorporated dinner into the price to keep people at the dance and make it more appealing. No one wants to miss their Senior prom so this adds another nostalgic expense to the list.

Senior year is an expensive year but it’s all worth it. You will never be in high school again so take advantage of all the opportunities you have despite the price. Real life is about to hit and get a lot more expensive and stressful. It will fly by so enjoy it while you can.


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