Most freshmen are required to live in the dorms. Commuting usually isn’t an option for first years because universities want to make the transition from high school to college to be as easy as possible; living in the dorms creates more opportunities to meet other students and makes it easier to attend classes and participate in student organizations.
So, if you have to live in the dorms, do you really need your car? You don’t need it to get to class, but do you really want to leave you’re transportation at home? Here are a few things to consider.
Parking on campus can be very expensive, especially if your university is in an urban area. It might cost well over a thousand dollars to park your car in a campus lot, for instance the University of Pennsylvania charges $1,725 for students to park 24-hours through two semesters (Sept-May). True, it may be possible to find free or less expensive parking off-campus, but then your car isn’t right there anyway.
Cars do not change their own oil, put air in their tires, or pay for the gas in their tanks. You have to. So while it’s nice to have easy wheels just three blocks away you need to ask yourself if you’re really up to the challenge of taking care of your car and keeping is safe to drive.
Before you make your decision it’s a good idea to research any alternative forms of transportation that might be available. Does your university have a free shuttle that will take you to the grocery store, the bank, or downtown? Are those places within reasonable walking or biking distance? Is there public transportation available to get you where you need to be, and how much does that cost? Do your research.
Why do you need your car on campus? How much driving are you really going to do? If you plan to drive home every single weekend, then maybe the car is a good idea, especially if there isn’t reliable public transportation available. However, if you just want the car because you like the freedom it gives you, then maybe you should rethink bringing it along. You can always bring it to campus later, if you’re unhappy without it.