Should You Bring A Car To College?

Heading off to college is probably one of the most exciting age-related things to happen since the coveted sweet sixteen and getting your driver’s license. If you were fortunate enough to receive or purchase your own car during high school, you understand the somewhat emotional attachment that can develop towards your automobile. This car has carted you around to sports practices, provided a surface for star gazing and listened to you sing along to the radio (sometimes in a not so great tone). If you had an inanimate object for a best friend, your car would probably be it. So will you bring your car to college with you? Here are some reasons why it may or may not be a good idea.

Parking Availability

Trying to find permanent parking on most campuses is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Universities have plenty of parking spots, but they are mostly reserved for faculty or students with special permits. You might be able to find a spot, but chances are it will be off campus which can make accessing your car more inconvenient.


If you happen to find the ideal parking spot, chances are it will cost you. As a freshman, you are learning to balance your money without the help of your parents. Paying for rent, food and a parking spot can add up. Plus if you have your car and use it often, the cost of gas will accumulate as well.

You Have an Off-Campus Job

In order to combat those college expenses, some students seek to find a job their first year. If you bring your car to college, it can allow you to apply for more jobs because you can transport yourself pretty much anywhere. It also saves you the trouble of figuring out the bus system or paying for a cab.

You Can Head Home Anytime

If your school is close to home or a couple hours away, heading home for the weekend is easy with a car. You can also attend family functions or go and visit friends at other schools anytime you want. If you and your friends want to get out of town for a weekend and explore somewhere new, you can! Just make sure you ask your friends for gas money. You want to avoid being the “person with the car” that has to drive everyone everywhere for free.

Do You Really Need It?

When it comes down to it, you should ask yourself if you really, really need your car your first year. Most freshmen do not have cars; some universities actually advise against it. Most of your classes will be within walking distance and bus systems around campus are generally easy to navigate. If you really want something with wheels, try bringing your bike. The physical activity of walking or biking is a great break from sitting in lecture halls all day. If you do decide to bring your car, start looking early to find a parking spot or contact university officials about permits for on-campus spots. Some universities offer priority to students who provide a valid reason for needing access to their car, such as a job or weekly doctor appointments.

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Caitlin Furin

Caitlin Furin

Caitlin Furin is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in journalism and strategic communication. With an interest in social media, she can often be found exploring the Facebook walls, Twitter feeds and Pinterest profiles of big brands. Her laptop and iPhone never leave her side. Outside of school and work, Caitlin can be found enjoying a good TV show or two and spending time with her friends and family.
Caitlin Furin

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