Cars on Campus: To Bring or to Leave Behind?
Cars on campus can be both convenient and a pain in the you-know-what. Which of the two it happens to be for you depends on a lot of things — where your college is located, what the college rules on cars are, and how much money you can afford to spend taking care of it.
Rules About Cars on Campus
Many schools simply don’t allow freshmen to bring cars to college, in which case you have your answer. For those that do allow cars on campus, there are usually restrictions on where you can drive and park them. For example, some universities allow you to bring your car but dictate that you have to “store” it in a large (and usually distant) parking lot.
The colleges assume that you won’t be using your car on campus, but rather storing it there in-between trips home. Campuses are generally designed for pedestrians, not drivers. Large campuses usually provide bus transportation for students to get around.
If You Decide to Bring Your Car on Campus
If you’re moving to college and decide that you absolutely must bring your car to campus, make sure you:
- Find your school’s parking regulations and read them carefully. Most importantly — follow them! Most colleges patrol the streets and parking areas, and they can issue hefty tickets for illegal parking.
- Verify that all the necessary documents you need for driving (such as your license and insurance) are up-to-date and won’t expire while you’re still in school. This will be particularly important when you venture off campus.
- Give your car a full check up before leaving: check the oil level, filters, and tire pressure. Invest in some jumper cables and an auto club membership.
- Don’t leave your valuables in the car (this is a good tip for anyone), and always lock it.
- Decide on a sharing policy before you bring your car on campus. It’s a good thing to think about so that when your roommate one day asks to borrow your car, you won’t be forced to make a hurried decision. Here’s a good white lie: saying “I promised my parents I’d never loan it out” gets you off the spot.
There are both advantages and disadvantages of having your car on campus — ultimately, it’s up to you to decide!