I love your “judgement-free zone,” jhomlquist. Sounds like opportunity for a 3-way debate: claim lots of allowances so you can invest the money all year, try to be spot-on so you can keep what’s yours but not owe, claim few allowances so you get a big refund. PROS and CONS of each — what’s the best ultimate strategy? Maybe a 4th group of students can be the jury.
On the other hand, if you’re in a community where getting a big return is a perceived as AWESOME (this is a pretty common philosophy), it might be worth doing something on smart vs less smart ways to spend that return check when you get it. Pay toward a credit card vs a student loan? Put away until time for Christmas gifts (if your plan is to otherwise go into debt at the holidays)? Splurge on something big you’ve needed? Something big you’ve wanted? All sound like opportunities for a great conversation with no ONE correct answer.