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Deciding If Your College Freshman Really Needs a Car

2018 08 01 College Kids Reading And Studying Outside

By Madeline Klein on August 9, 2018 in Life Hacks

There are a ton of decisions to be made as you prepare for your kid to leave the nest and head to college. What do they need for their dorm room? What classes should they take? How much money do they actually need for that meal plan? How much stuff can you actually pack into your car to move them?

Among the questions is one about whether they really need a car on campus or not. While the answer to this question will differ for everyone, we’ve dug into some key considerations here.

Why students don’t need a car on campus

There are a lot of benefits to a college student not having a car on campus.

No car means they’ll likely be more involved with life on campus. This could encourage them to join more school groups and clubs, and broaden their horizons a bit more than they would have otherwise.

It can also help keep them focused on their studies. Having a car means having more freedom and an easier way to get off campus, and that can distract them from their school work, especially in their first year. Freshman year is about learning how to balance school and life, and a car can make learning that balance more difficult.

Parking can be extremely tough, depending on the campus. Some schools require pricey parking passes. Not to mention the fact that the parking lot your student is assigned to can often be a mile or more away from their dorm. Not having a car could help alleviate the stress of parking completely.

Alternative solutions to a aar

These days, there are so many options that students can use to get around town. You’ve got numerous ride-sharing companies like Uber or Lyft that students can use in a pinch. They can also get a bike to get around town and use to get to and from classes. And these days, many college towns are investing in better public transportation to support the needs of students and residents alike. In fact, students at these colleges rarely even bring cars.

Why students should have a car on campus

While not having a car on campus seems like an enticing solution, there are some reasons why cars can be helpful and even necessary for first-year students.

If your student is going to a college out of state or far from home, a car may be needed. If they are close enough, they can drive home on breaks and save money on flights. And, an out-of-state student may need a car to get to the airport or around town for other reasons.

Some students may also have an off-campus internship or job that they can’t really get to using public transportation. Or maybe, they have a late class that they’d feel safer driving home from rather than walking.

There are some key reasons why a car on campus can be beneficial for a college student, especially one balancing school and work. Basically, when deciding if your student really needs a car or not, we suggest diving into if your student simply wants a car on campus, or actually needs one. If it seems like the car will sit idle most of the time, it may be worth it to look into campus shuttles and public transportation for your student. Besides, you’ll be there for football season to tailgate before the game and can help them get anything they need then.

What factors impacted your decision on whether to let your college student bring a car to school or not? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Tag @SayInsurance and use the hashtag #SayBackToSchool.

Madeline Klein is Say's Digital Content Producer. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Journalism, emphasis in Strategic Communication. Her experience is in writing and digital media. Madeline loves using her creativity to write and design new and exciting pieces of work for Say!