Should You Bring Your Car to College? 10 Things to Consider

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  • You want to bring your car to college: You love your car. But is it really going to be worth it? Here are 10 things you need to consider before you decide.

    1. Can You Even Have a Car on Campus?

    This would be a good place to start. If your school is in a city, they might not have a place for you to keep it. Schools also might not allow freshmen or sophomores to have cars on campus as well.

    Double-check with the school and see if it’s something you’ll be allowed to do before you start planning all the trips you’re going to be taking!

    2. Is It Going to Inconvenience Your Family?

    If you don’t have your own car and you’ll have to take one of the family vehicles, consider whether it’s going to mess up the family routine. Is your little brother going to need to learn to drive soon? They might need to keep it around more than you need to take it.

    3. Can You Afford It?

    Think about all the expenses that go into having a car. You’ll have to deal with gas, car washes and regular maintenance. Plus, the school will probably charge you for a permit to park it on campus.

    If you already have a car, that helps, but if you were planning on buying one as your graduation present you may want to look into something that’s affordable. It might not be your dream car, but you should value price and function over cuteness.

    Plan out whether you can afford a car payment and all the other expenses that come with the car. A job and school at the same time can be stressful, so make sure it’s something you really plan to work for.

    4. Is There Public Transportation?

    If you’re at a college with a really great public transport system, a car might not really be needed. If cheap buses or a subway option’s available, it might actually be cheaper for you to use that instead of having your car there.

    If your campus is in the middle of nowhere, though, a car might come in handy if you ever plan on leaving campus.

    5. Where Do You Plan on Driving?

    If you’re just going to town a mile or so from campus, you can probably walk or find a ride when you need to. Most campuses have a bus service if there are farther classes or you need to make a weekend run to Wal-Mart.

    If you plan on taking a lot of trips home or you have a long-distance significant other, though, that may be a different story. It might not be worth the cost of having it on campus if it isn’t something you plan on using frequently.

    6. Is Your Campus in a Car-Friendly Area?

    Are you going to have to park it in a place where you’re scared it’ll get hit? Also, think about how the driving is around there. If you’re in a large city, it’s probably not going to be enjoyable to try and drive around. You’d be better off just looking for public transportation or walking.

    7. Could Your Car Make You Some Extra Cash?

    If you think you’ll have time, having a car could be a good way to get you some extra money. You could charge people a few bucks to help them run their errands or drive them back home.

    Even better, you could use your car for a service like Uber or Lyft. Driving is an easy way to pick up some extra money for weekend activities. If you have a small class load on certain days, it would be a great way to justify having your car there.

    8. Are You Going to Let People Use It?

    You’ll have to think about your answer when someone inevitably asks you if they can borrow it to go to the mall. Are you willing to trust other people with your beloved vehicle? Or should you just keep them from being able to ask the question by not having the car?

    9. Do You Want to Be the Person Asking for Rides?

    You have to decide if you want to be the person asking for rides or the one being asked. Both are irritating, but which one would you rather be? If you only plan on going home on breaks, your family will probably be picking you up. But if you want to go back at various times during the semester, they may not always be willing. Think about which you’re more likely to do.

    10. Will You Have a Job or Be Living Off Campus?

    If you have a job or internship off campus or if the apartment you just got isn’t a dorm, a car might be a good thing to have. Think about the distance from campus and see if it’s something you would be willing to walk during inclement weather — or if it’s even a reasonable walking distance at all.

    Just like most preparations for college, deciding whether or not to have a car on campus is a big decision. Think everything through and decide what’s best for you!

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