Veronica is seventeen; she lives in upscale neighborhood on Long Island. Her mother is a doctor and her father is an entrepreneur. For the past two years all her energy was spend on increasing her chances of getting into an Ivy League college. She was fortunate to have an advisor at her school, who helped her make inquiries, contact admissions and prepare all necessary documents. Veronica also got involved in numerous extra curriculum activities. She is a captain of the track team and a president of a French club. She worked very hard to earn 4.0 GPA.
However, she told me that college choosing is a hart task. “I had to make numerous trips to school campuses, talk to advisors, students and try to make sense of what’s best for me.” I then asked her how much money, she thinks, was spend on her college preparation. The list of things she had done seemed endless. “ First, the tutors. I had to bring my grades up in Math and Social Studies. Twice a week I would spend four hours with a tutor for each subject. I think it costs like $100 per hour. Then SAT preparations. I had a private tutor for a month; total cost was around $9000.” She then tells that she took SAT exam twice. She took day trips to Yale, Harvard and Brown University. She also flew with her mother to Georgetown University, where they stayed overnight. She applied to all four schools and is currently waiting for early admission decision.
I asked her what she would do if her parents couldn’t provide her with financial opportunity to do all things. There was a long pause, she couldn’t answer. I sensed her confusion and asked if she would consider any of the New York state or city colleges because they are much cheaper to attend. It turned out , she didn’t know what it was. She was told by her parents that her only job is to study and that everything else would be taken care of.
After I left her, I couldn’t help to think how lucky she was. How she didn’t have to worry about paying $ 45000 annual tuition. How she will, most likely, have no student debt after graduating.
Based on what Veronica had told me, I calculated her approximate pre college expense. It came up to a whopping $27,000 so far.