Bringing a Car to School

Deciding whether or not to bring your car to your college or university can be a big decision, and there are a lot of things you should consider.

First, think about the type of campus you’re attending and how involved you want to be in the outside community. Some schools are more residential with hardly any students going home for the weekend or taking off-campus jobs or opportunities. It may be better to just leave your car at home instead of having to pay an annual parking fee.

Consider internship or volunteer opportunities. Does your school have public transportation? If you attend a school in a big city then more than likely you will be able to rely on the city or rapid area transit systems, which may have student discounts. But if you are attending a school without a transit system and are serious about real-world experience then you may want to consider bringing a car to ensure you have the ability to get around.

Consider the cost of having a car; not just gas, maintenance, applicable taxes and/or inspection fees, and insurance, but the cost of keeping it in the city or on-campus. Some schools have annual fees as low as $30 a semester to $500 for the year to park on campus, and even then you’re not guaranteed a spot. Some offer reduced fees for commuter students, but again, parking can be difficult on some college campuses.

If fees are a concern for you then consider ride sharing. If you have friends or roommates you may want to look into your insurance plan before doing this, or having an open and honest conversation about their insurance plans. After all, there could be serious consequences if your roommate crashes or even scratches your car. But sharing a car allows you all to share costs, such as gas, parking, and insurance if you have added them on to your policy.

Some classes will have practicums, such as classes for education majors, who may be required to work in the schools. Work with your academic advisor to see if you can schedule your classes with off-campus obligations in the same year or semester that you’ll have your car.

And finally, talk with your parents or the owner of the vehicle if you are not the owner. After all, it is their property. How do they feel about you taking it to school?

Sitting down with family members to write out the pros and cons unique to your school and situation will help you make the right decision.

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