The Pros and Cons of Taking Your Car to College

Are you going away to college and thinking about bringing a car along? While most college campuses are pretty accessible to walk, bike, or take the bus around through, many students will tell you first-hand how convenient it is to have a car at your disposal – especially if you’re planning on holding down an off-campus job.

Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of taking your car to college.

The pros

1. It’s convenient

Cars aren’t just a luxury for a college student, they offer a great deal of convenience. You don’t have to wait for a bus or brave bad weather while biking to your next class. You also don’t have to lug heavy groceries around or arrive in class with an uncomfortably sweaty shirt.

You can save a lot of time and energy by taking your car to college. You won’t have to think twice about popping to the store to stock up on supplies. You won’t have to worry about running late for class. Being able to take off for a cruise when you’re feeling stressed can be a nice way to cope with the school stresses, too.

2. Offers more independence

Going to college is all about getting your independence and having your own car can help the process along much faster. You can go where you want, when you want. You don’t have to depend on your friend, the bus schedule or the weather when deciding when or where to go. You can make your decisions independently.

3. Opportunities to earn some extra cash

Cash can be hard to come by when you’re a student. Your car can help you make ends meet by providing opportunities for earning some extra income. You can take jobs that are off campus since you have a car that will allow you to access them. You can also use your car to make some extra cash by renting it out or by offering rides to other students for cash.

The cons

1. It can be expensive to maintain

Maintaining a car is expensive. You need to consider gas, repairs and maintenance. Insurance for college students can also be quite high. A recent study showed that insurance rates for 20-year-old drivers can be 41 percent higher than what drivers in other age brackets are charged. You’ll need to ensure that you can afford your car on a tight budget.

You can reduce the costs of maintenance by cutting your auto insurance costs as much as possible. Compare policies online with companies like CoverHound and get every last student auto insurance discount available to get the best rates.

2. Safety issues

College and university campuses aren’t usually the safest places in the world. Reports indicate that campus crime is on the rise. A Victims of Crime study showed that there were over 92,000 campus crimes reported in 2010. 2 percent of these crimes involved vehicle thefts with 58 percent of these thefts occurring on campus.

Don’t leave your car in compromising positions. Always lock your car and never leave any valuables in it. Park your car in a secured parking lot. Also never leave your car in a large empty parking lot overnight.

3. You’ll become the chauffeur

Having a car may mean becoming the ‘friend with a car.’ You’ll become a chauffeur to your friends. Whenever they have an errand to run, you’ll be the first person they turn to. This can not only be costly but also trying on your relationships.

You’ll have to set your boundaries and learn to say no. Communicate to your friends that you’re happy to help, but that you have boundaries too. True friends will understand.
In the end, it’ll depend on your specific situation whether bringing your car with you to college will be worthwhile or more trouble than it is worth.

Photo by: Fulvia Fiend

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Jethro

I'm Jethro. I'm a carpenter, and love to build things! You can find me in the garage or at work most days of the week. My sister is Crystal, who you might know from this very blog. Her son Johnny loves video games just as much as I do - so we have a lot of fun playing together!

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