The Driving Test: Should You Bring Your Car to School?

Knowing that you have your car with you on campus can sometimes be reassuring for new college students. Having a way to drive home whenever you want can make you feel less trapped when you’re trying to adjust to the college town during the transition phase. But other times, having a car on campus can be more of a pain for new students to deal with. With extra expenses and parking problems, sometimes it can add unnecessary stress.
So should you bring your car with you to campus? Take this test to find out!

Here are the instructions: If you can say ‘yes’ to these questions, then yes, a car would be good for you to have on campus. But if you say ‘no’ to even one of these, you should seriously consider other means of transportation for your first year or two of college.

Do you have the means to pay for your gas?

In college towns, there is a lot of stopping and starting at crosswalks and stoplights, which means the gas level in your tank will do a lot of fluctuating as well. If you don’t think that you will be able to use your car as much because of the gas condition, maybe you should reconsider. What’s the point in bringing your car up when you can’t drive it around because you’re out of gas?

Do you have the means to pay for a parking spot?

Parking costs can be pretty costly at college dorms or apartments. And getting a parking spot for both your dorm and next to your classes can really burn a hole in your pocket fast. Sometimes there are different parking lots around campus you can choose to purchase to save money, but the cheaper ones are always further away from where you are, which almost defeats the purpose of getting a car in the first place if you have to take a bus to get to it. Look at your dorm or apartment parking policies as well as the college’s to see what the exact cost will be so you can be sure you are able to afford the monthly costs.

Do you have the means to pay for the parking meters?

A lot of people don’t include the parking meter costs into their cost evaluations…but it is important to know that parking meters are definitely a cost that should be considered. Parking enforcement in college towns don’t mess around. It seems as though the second your time runs out in the meters, you have a ticket on your windshield. And tickets can really add up. You put a couple dollars into the meters everyday, an extra fifteen dollars in tickets once every couple of weeks… before you know it, parking meters are equal to the amount of monthly parking at your dorm.

Do you plan on visiting home often?

The ability to drive home is one of the most important things to keep in mind when deciding to take your car with you on campus. If you plan on making the trip home as often as you can, you should definitely consider bringing your car. Lugging your bags and books with you to bus stops for the ride home can be obnoxious and the long ride home with a bus load of people can be uncomfortable. Having your car there makes it possible to leave for home whenever you want to. If, however, you don’t really care to go home that often and you just want your car for around campus, then you should reconsider. There are buses there for that with convenient schedules for everyone.

Are you good at parking?

You should know how to parallel park your car if you want to drive your car around campus. There are limited parking spots and if you are ever running a little late for class, you won’t have time to drive around looking for an easy spot to park in. Sometimes you will have to take the one that requires you to pull out your parallel parking skills. If you are no good at parking your car, you are at risk of having an accident, adding to the expenses…and your stress level.

Are you okay with people asking for rides…all of the time?

Because most new students do not bring their cars to campus or they choose to park their cars further off campus, your friends might look to you for rides…a lot. Sometimes people constantly asking you for a ride or asking to borrow your car can be quite a nuisance. You should have your schedule ready and a list of rules for everyone so they know when you will be driving and when you need your car.

So how’d you do? If you think you’re okay with these points, then you should definitely have your wheels with you at school. If a couple of these seem too difficult to deal with, maybe hold off for a semester or two and wait until you’re more adjusted with your college town.

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Betsy Loeb

Betsy Loeb

Betsy Loeb is a senior at the University of Illinois majoring in Broadcast Journalism. She lacks the ability to draw, so she loves being able to express her creativity instead through her writing. She considers herself the “coolest nerd,” spending many Friday nights indoors playing Guitar Hero and discussing Pokemon cards with her friends.