If you’re a junior, you’ve probably thought about scholarships or maybe your parents have already started a savings account for the future. I’ve always been nervous about those big bills coming my way as I enter this new chapter of my life. But I wish I realized those big bills start the year before college, when you become a senior. What they don’t tell you is how much you students need for senior year expenses.
For starters, the average traditional high school yearbook costs around $65-100 and a senior parking permit is $50. Senior portraits run around $55 without the cost of ordering wallet sizes or any type of frame size that your mom wants displayed on the shelf.
Applications for CSUs are $55 and UCs run $75. If you decide to apply to a private university or anything out of state, that could be well over $100. The average senior applies to four to seven schools. It’s likely that your spring break consists of touring those schools which could be as much as $1,500 not including outside activities.
Homecoming tutus and creative outfits also add up if you decide to participate in dance or skit.
A cap and gown costs around $80, without all the tassels you may want to purchase.
Outings like dances, football games, or club events add up with all the gas, insurance, and food you buy monthly.
And we can’t forget Senior Ball. Essential to many students, costs range from $500 to $3,000. Of course it depends how much your dress is, the shoes, hair appointments, mani/pedi, bus ticket, admission ticket, makeup, dinner, etc.
In total, my costs round up to $7,500 in 11 months.
However, costs could be cut. In reality, not everyone has a car, wants to go straight to a four year university, or participates in outside events. At the beginning of the year, you should sit with your parents and budget out what your biggest goals for the year are.
The most common advice you’ll get from any senior is to “participate in everything possible, spend time with your friends, start early on applications, and watch out for senioritis.” Yet, I wish someone would’ve warned me to at least decide on what my financial wants and needs should be.
“Senior year is a good time to burst out that money hidden for a rainy day. Start saving up your cash,” said senior Matt Betti.
Personally, having a part-time job throughout the year forced me to learn time management skills, the value of a dollar, and even building a strong work ethic and communication skills at school.
Yes, senior year sounds expensive, though balancing your money, school, work, and social life will live up to your expectations of senior year and all be worth it. I promise the draining year will benefit you in the future.