If you’ve lived in an area where you’ve needed a car to get around all your life then bringing your vehicle may seem like a necessity in college. Many high school students felt that their drivers’ license came with a new sense of freedom and that it would be crazy to give up this sense of independence.
When you drive onto campus however, you will realize that there are just as many negatives to owning a car on campus as there are positives. Here are three things to consider before planning on parking your car outside your dorm for the next four years.
1. Transportation Around Your College May Be Easier Than at Home
If your college is in a city you will have no trouble getting around without a car. Boston, for example, has an extensive subway system that can bring you nearly anywhere in town (and to any of the surrounding towns) in less than an hour. Because of city traffic, riding the subway is often just as fast as driving a car.
If your college is located in a very rural location then you may decide that owning a car is necessary to get around. In most cities, however, you will find yourself leaving it behind and riding the subway or buses with your friends.
2. Parking is Expensive
One of the most annoying aspects of owning a car in college is the cost of parking. Some colleges may give free parking spots to students, but most don’t.
If you are going to a college in the city, your parking bills may even be comparable to your monthly rent! Some lots request over $400 per month! If you’re on a college-sized budget, this can tear through your summer savings in a couple weeks!
If you’re traveling a long way with your vehicle, figure out where you will park it and how much it will cost you before making the trip. Unless you want to compete with tourists for a free spot on the street every night you’ll need to pay for parking and these costs can burn a hole in your pocket!
3. If You Need a Car You Can Find One
There is a phrase related to owning a boat that goes like this… “It’s expensive to own a boat, but it’s great to be friends with a guy who owns a boat.” A similar phrase could be said for owning a car in college.
If the vehicle is yours, you’ll need to fill it up with gas, pay for all the maintenance, find or pay for parking, and do everything else related to owning and taking responsibility for a car.
If instead your roommate owns a car, you can simply go on long trips with him whenever you want to explore beyond campus! You can leave the headache and bills with someone else while having a car whenever you need it.
Usually one or more of your friends will be local and have their car nearby anyway. Because of this, consider that it may be completely unnecessary for you to own a car even if you want to explore outside the city while in college.