Senior year and its all too pricey changes

Making the transition from high school senior to college freshman is daunting enough, and even those chomping at the bit to graduate must have some reservations when it comes to their impending new lifestyles. The worry we can almost all share is that of the thousands of dollars in debt we will all be in at the end of our four years of college. And though I would like to enjoy my senior year of high school to the greatest extent possible, the costs add up a little too quickly for me to enjoy what they are paying for.

First of all, not all senior year fees are related to “senior privileges” like prom and graduation. The fees seniors have to pay to simply get into college are sizeable, especially when you’re applying to ten different colleges and universities with application fees of 50 to 80 dollars each.

For those who wish to adorn their applications with AP and IB tests scores, keep in mind that each single digit AP score you get back from the College Board is worth 100 dollars, each IB score worth 120 (plus the 170 dollar registration fee), and don’t forget to send those scores in pronto; If you wait, they’ll cost you more. IB testing is an expensive gamble. If you want to play the game, study and make sure you’re going to win. Otherwise, don’t ever feel obligated to take the test just because you’re taking the class. It’s a lot of money. Your teachers understand.

As the year progresses and graduation draws nearer, the number of senior privileges increase and so do the price tags attached to them. There’s the senior picnic priced between 35 and 45 dollars, prom which is worth 90 to 110 dollars (plus tux or dress, shoes, hair, limo, etc, etc), grad nite between 110 and 120 dollars, and then there’s graduation (multiply number of loving family members besides your two parents by 10. Add cost of tassel, cap, gown, grad invites, designer class ring, etc).The point is, it adds up fast, and you can’t always help it.

None of these “privileges” are inescapable, so don’t feel pressure or obligation to spend more on your senior year than you want to, just because the school or Jostens or your friends keep trying to convince you to take advantage of these “last chances” and final high school memories.

Some students may not care how costly senior year becomes because the money isn’t coming from their own pockets but their parents’. This year I’ve refrained from certain senior privileges, mostly because I don’t want to spend my last few weeks of high school feeling incredibly guilty about constantly shaking down my mom for cash, especially because being a twin means that every payment for senior year is automatically doubled.

Yes, the total cost for senior year pales in comparison to the amount of money you will need for college, but I don’t believe in comparing sums when the money is not your own. Whatever the amount, I’m sure every parent would like to keep it.  

The price of senior year privileges is not all what irks me; it’s the feeling of obligation that we feel to participate in every single senior activity. When we were deciding whether or not to go to grad nite, my sister’s main argument was that “everyone was going,” which is practically the definition of peer pressure, and is honestly a weak argument for anything. In the end we reasoned that though graduation was a must, grad nite wasn’t. There are other ways to make some final senior memories, and at the end of high school, I know I would rather feel like a valued student and a member of the 2016 senior class than a faceless member of a targeted consumer demographic. But of course, that choice is up to you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *