If you were like most 16-year-olds, you probably lost no time in getting your learner’s permit once you became eligible to do so. Learning to drive and getting your first car is practically a rite of passage these days. Whether you saved money from working odd jobs, got some help from Mom and Dad, or took out a car loan, buying your first car was no doubt a high point in your adult life, signaling a newfound sense of freedom and independence. So with college just around the corner, you may be tempted to bring your wheels with you. However, you may want to consider these top 5 reasons to ditch the car before heading off to college.
1. You’ll have little reason to leave campus.
Many colleges and universities today function like small, self-contained cities. When you’re not busy attending classes or studying for exams, there are plenty of social activities, sporting events, and entertainment options available right on campus. You’ll likely eat and sleep on campus too, making it totally unnecessary to ever leave!
2. Owning a car is expensive.
Remember, the costs of car ownership extend far beyond the purchase price. Your expenses will include car insurance, motor vehicle fees, gas, routine maintenance and the occasional car repair. You may also have to pay campus parking permits and, in some states, car taxes.
3. There’s not enough parking space.
School policies vary, but many colleges and universities discourage students from bringing their cars with them because parking may be limited. Even if you do purchase a parking permit, it may still be a headache to find a parking space because some schools routinely issue many more permits than there are spaces or because some drivers illegally park in designated spaces without a permit.
4. A car can detract from the college experience.
While you may have grown accustomed to driving everywhere as a teenager, continuing to do so at college can really detract from your college experience. Sitting in a car isolates you from other students. Just knowing that you have a car may encourage you to run off campus on various errands that you wouldn’t otherwise do. What’s more, longer absences from school can affect both your social life and the amount of time you can devote to studies.
5. There are many other options available to you.
The truth is, many large universities provide free shuttle bus service to help students and teachers get from one end of campus to the other. Many cities offer free bus passes or reduced-fare transit passes to students, which are great for commuters living off campus. Several campuses offer bike share programs in order to reduce parking demand, traffic congestion, and harmful emissions. It’s also a great way to encourage students to get fresh air and exercise, particularly those looking to offset the dreaded “Freshman 15”!
College is a special time in your life and for many, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Don’t miss this opportunity to fully immerse yourself in campus life. By doing so, you’ll also save considerable expenses at a time when you’re likely already challenged by other costs associated with your education.