The world's their oyster -- but it's parents who'll shell out

September 06, 1993|By Rob Hiaasen | Rob Hiaasen,Contributing Writer

To parents whose daughters or sons are bright, nostalgic, sociable, creative and college-bound high school seniors:

You will pay for this.

We ran a tab on the cost of being a high school senior. Many of the purchases are optional, of course. We didn't include the cost of a helicopter, which has been rented for a prom night.

And don't date yourself by remembering when class rings cost $25 and were actually worn. Class rings now cost more than $200 and disappear like socks.

The cost of being a senior is more than $1,400 -- give or take an 8-by-10 graduation picture or three. For about $1,260 a semester, you could send your child to Morgan State University or, for $1,500, to Towson State University.

Meaning: Senior year also prepares the parent for college.

We talked to senior class advisers, parents and businesses that cater to seniors. Here's the conservative tab for senior year:

* Class ring, $250.

* Senior class picture, $150.

* Homecoming dance tickets, $10.

* Extracurricular activities: To play lacrosse, for example, a student would need to buy a $50 attack stick and $60 lacrosse shoes, among other things; drama club members might buy an $8 T-shirt plugging each play; and it would cost $160 -- which includes uniform rental -- for your senior to be in the marching band.

* Fund-raisers: Figure $30 for a car wash, Christmas wrapping paper, candy or anything else hawked by kids to raise money for senior activities.

* Prom: Tickets, $30; prom dress, $200 (or tuxedo rental, $75); hair job, $25; on-site prom picture, $10; corsage, $12 (sweetheart roses); limo, $60 a person if six kids rent one for $60 an hour and buy six hours; dinner, $50.

(Sure, proms can cost much more: helicopters, boffo hotels and restaurants. But some seniors have been known to be sensible about it. Really.)

* College boards: SAT, $20; ACT, $16; and AP, $75. Acronyms aren't cheap.

* Graduation announcements, $40.

* Caps and gowns: $15.

* Yearbook, $25; video yearbook, $25; video of graduation, $20.

* College applications: Let's say your child applies to four colleges. At $25 a pop, that's $100.

That's $100 to ask four schools which one will let you spend, for one semester, about as much as you've already spent on senior year for your bright, nostalgic, sociable and creative child.

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