Many freshmen miss having access to a car when they start college, and wish they could bring their cars with them. While having a car on campus can make certain aspects of life easier and more efficient, there are some definite downsides to having a car with you at college. Here is a guide to the pros and cons of having your car on campus to help you make the best choice for your situation.
1. PRO: Walking is a thing of the past.
College entails a lot of walking: between classes, to the dining hall, back to your dorm. All of that walking can get tiring very quickly, and having a car can definitely cut down on that. While you may still have to walk to certain places on campus, you’ll have a vehicle if you need to get into town or places on campus that are farther away.
2. PRO: Getting home is easier.
While other students may have to rely on public transportation or their parents to come home for breaks, students with cars simply have to pack their belongings and drive themselves home. It means less planning is needed for travel, and you have much more control over when you leave.
3. PRO: Storage space.
Obviously stashing the entire contents of your bedroom in your car isn’t a good idea, but if you have a car you don’t have to worry about toting unneeded items around with you: you can leave the coat/textbook/bag you realized you didn’t need in the car. If you need to transport an item from place to place on a regular basis (heavy sports equipment, boxes), you can leave it in your car and not worry about carrying it to and from your dorm every time you need it
4. PRO: You can go out with your friends more often.
Going out can be tricky if you have to rely on public transportation, but if you have a car it’s easy to gather all of your friends and drive wherever it is you want to go. If you need to leave wherever you are quickly, it’s much easier to gather everyone together and head out if you have a car, rather than having to wait for a train or bus. Cheers to more socializing with less hassle!
5. PRO: No more extreme weather conditions.
If you’re sick of turning into a human popsicle every time you have to walk to class, having a car with heating can solve the problem. When the warm weather rolls around, air conditioning can make your commute much more bearable.
6. CON: Gas is really expensive.
Never underestimate the cost of gas. If you’re going to drive everywhere, factor in how much money you’re going to be spending on gas, and whether your budget can support that. As a college student, you may find that there are other things you’d rather spend your money on.
7. CON: Car maintenance can be a hassle.
If something goes wrong with your car, you’re going to end up paying for it or fixing it yourself without the help of your parents. Make sure you can afford to fork over the cash if you have a serious car malfunction, and if you go to school in a cold climate, make sure you’re prepared to install snow tires and antifreeze to prevent weather damage.
8. CON: Parking permits are really expensive.
Prepare to spend at least $200 on parking for the year, possibly more depending on your school. Again, having a car has its advantages, but go through your budget and see if you can actually afford to spend that kind of money on parking.
9. CON: Weather can be a problem.
If you go to college in a snowy environment, you’re going to run into the problem of parking with snow. In addition to maintaining your car’s condition in the dead of winter, you’ll have to deal with digging your car out of the snow. Some schools also place restrictions on certain parking areas during snowstorms (especially on side streets), and even if there aren’t specific regulations in place, parking in certain areas may just become impossible because of the snow.
10. CON: You will become a human taxi.
Once you have a car on campus, your friends who don’t have cars will ask you to drive them everywhere they don’t want to walk to: to class, to the grocery store, to the train station. It’s inevitable, but some students take advantage of their cars to make decent money driving other students to the airport or the train station around school breaks.
At the end of the day, whether or not to bring your car to college with you is a choice that you have to make for yourself: while it may be beneficial for your best friend, it might not be worth it for you. Hopefully this list will help you make a decision!
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