Sending a child off to college is certainly expensive, but a growing number of New Jersey families are also shelling out big bucks on their sons and daughters during their final year of high school.

Flickr user: stevendepolo

Between the cost of the prom, the after-prom party, the school yearbook, ring, memorabilia, graduation party and pictures, visits to colleges, applications, testing and tutoring, some Garden State families are spending as much as $10,000.

"It's hard for a parent to say 'no' if their child comes home from school and says all the other kids are taking a limo to the prom. You know mom and dad don't want to be the ones saying no, and they don't want their child to be on the out; for their child to be the exception," said Deborah Carr, a sociology professor at Rutgers University.

She points out many moms and dads will spend a lot on college-related costs because they view that all as one step to help insure that their child has a successful future.

"They want the best for them and are willing to invest that money in them because they love them," said Carr.

Carr is quick to add, however, "maybe the parents themselves do view it as kind of a silly investment, but there is pressure to keep up with the Jones, not just in New Jersey, but everywhere. There's huge pressure on parents, even if they're reluctant to do so, to provide those amenities their child sees as necessary."

She stresses very few parents have the luxury of spending thousands of dollars on senior year for their child. Carr notes that would be the exception, not the rule.