The ability to drive a car is like a writ of passage; many teens turn 16 and begin driving with a great sense of freedom. That new set of wheels means you can drive to school, go shopping, hang out with friends more easily, go to and from work, and take trips you never could before without having to wait for your parents or guardians to transport you. Now it is time for college and the big question looms: should I or should I not take my car to school? A car on campus can make your life easier in some ways, but a burden in other ways. The following are all of the pros and cons of having a car in college.
Social Interaction: A Pro
College is a time for getting a higher education, of course, but it is also a time to make friends that can last a lifetime. Having a car in this instance makes perfect sense, especially if you have a large vehicle. You and/or your friends may want to go to a party on Saturday night off campus and a car is necessary. Think about getting stir crazy in dormitories and going off on a weekend adventure; it is imperative you have a car. The same goes for the infamous Spring Break adventures; come March, a car will be needed for transport from point A to point B. Lastly, if you happen to find that special someone that you want to go on a date with, the last thing you want to do is have them meet you at the bus stop!
Freedom: A Pro
As in the aforementioned, there are times when campus-centric undergraduate life can become dull after a while. If you must venture out into the world, jumping into your car is much easier than trying to catch a bus or shuttle. Often, schools will tailor their bus schedules around common class times, usually morning through afternoon, and if you happen to have a night class, you may be out of luck without wheels. According to US News, you may have to perform daily tasks such as grocery shopping, getting a haircut, and other errands on others time by asking for a ride, if you do not have your own form of transportation. If you don’t have a job on campus, a car will very likely be imperative, unless you live in a major public transportation city such as Chicago or New York City.
Major Financial Responsibility: A Major Con
The list of responsibilities that come with owning a car in college are mainly within the realm of financial burden. If it is financed, you must keep up with monthly payments or risk having your car repossessed. Also, a financed car must have full insurance coverage; liability, comprehensive and collision can be very costly. This is particularly true of a teen to a very young adult (generally age 25 and younger) who does not have much history as far as credibility and responsibility.
If the car is fully paid off, then that is one less concern; however, maintenance on the vehicle begins to come into play. Keeping up with oil changes, the cost of gas, and all of the mechanical problems that can occur with particularly older vehicles fall on your shoulders.