Having a car with you during college is a luxury that most students can’t afford. Access to your own wheels provides freedom — but it also can also entail additional bills and extra stresses. If you’re debating with the idea of bringing the car to campus or not, check out these pros and cons to help make a decision.
4 Pros of Having a Car
Need a break from campus, or just longing to hit the open road? Having a car can be your ticket to new sights. This can be perfect when you need to escape the pressures of a paper or avoid an irritating roommate. And sometimes you just need to hit the nearest grocery store for some comfort snacks.
2. Earn Extra Money
If you’re short on cash, you can use your car to bring in some income. You can get an off campus job that may pay more or be better suited for your future resume (or during off-hours when there is no campus jobs available). You can also use the car to rideshare — renting out your car to fellow students or the public like a taxi service.
3. Visit Home
If you’re itching to get to your old town on weekends, or if an emergency arises back home, a car can guarantee you can get there when you need it. It’s especially important to consider bringing your car to campus if you have a sick loved one or if your family needs extra help.
4. Take an Internship
Many college students plan on taking an internship, mentorship, or student-teaching placement at some point during college. If that is your plan, you will need some steady means of transportation to ensure you get to your placement on time. Instead of relying on buses or trains, a car is a trustworthy option.
4 Cons of Having a Car
1. Added Expenses
Gas, insurance, repairs — the expenses add up quickly. For college students on a budget, having a car when it isn’t necessary can be a budget-buster. Before pulling into your spot, consider how much you could save by biking or taking public transportation; the numbers might surprise you.
2. Parking Woes
Speaking of expenses, parking on many campuses, especially those located within a city, can be pricey. Permits for on-campus drivers can range in the hundreds per month. Other campuses ban cars altogether or limit the amount of spaces available to residents. This can be a nightmare scenario if you are out late and cannot find a spot near your dorm.
3. Errand Runner
Having a car means you’re almost guaranteed to be the errand runner. “I need to go into town!” “Can you take me home this weekend?” “I need help moving this chair across campus.” Get used to the requests because your friends will all be lining up for favors.
4. Safety Issues
You may feel your car is safe and secure, but parking in a giant lot overnight can attract attention from car thieves. Never lock your valuables inside or even walk to your car alone after dark.
With so much to consider, having a car on campus can feel almost daunting. The best way to decide is to first look into your campus’ car situation. If they welcome student parking and have ample spaces, you may be good to go. If not, only bring a car if it is necessary or you need it for a job or internship. In such cases, the pros almost certainly outweigh the cons.
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