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Test Drive Reality Fairs Help Prepare Students for their Future

Approximately 1,400 high school students in Wisconsin and Minnesota took their future plans on a test drive by participating in one of our five different Test Drive events held this spring. Students from 16 different schools attended events in Wisconsin at UW-Barron County, Abbotsford High School, Chippewa Falls YMCA, and CVTC in Eau Claire. In Minnesota, juniors at Tartan High School in Oakdale, MN participated by using our app-based version, Test Drive Mobile.

Photos from the Test Drive event

Test Drive is a real-life simulation that allows students to step into the shoes of young adults and manage a realistic budget. They choose a career and, working with a starting salary, face real-world expenses like housing, utilities, and food. In addition to making choices across several spending categories, students also experience some surprises like monetary gifts and unexpected expenses. The simulation creates situations that help teach participants the importance of prioritizing needs over wants and preparing for the unexpected.

After they finished the simulation, students completed a post-event survey and were asked to share what they learned from their experience. Some of the responses included:
“I learned how to manage money better and got a reality check on how expensive life can be.”
“Having kids is expensive!”
“I learned how much I’d need to spend on necessities if I want to go through with my job choice and if I’d be able to do it.”

Our Test Drive events wouldn’t be possible without the support of our amazing volunteers. The expertise that each volunteer brings to the event enhances the experience for students. Most volunteers come back to help every year because they enjoy the event just as much as the students do! If you are interested in volunteering at a future event, you can check out upcoming opportunities at Test Drive® Reality Fair | Royal Credit Union (

Royal Credit Union offers a variety of free financial education programs for all ages, including our new online learning platform, Enrich. Visit to learn more and take charge of your financial future!

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