The Pros and Cons of Having a Car on Campus

There are pros and cons of having a car on campus with you

Flickr user Michael Gil

There are many ways to get around on campus–taking the bus, walking, biking, even mooching a ride from a friend–but sometimes you wish you could just have your own car on campus with you. Most of the time freshmen aren’t allowed to bring cars to college with them, so when sophomore year rolls around many are eager to drive again. But every advantage has a drawback.

Here are the pros and cons of having a car on campus.



No waiting for the bus, no biking in the rain, no lugging around groceries. Your own car has its perks. Besides being timely, it also has trunk-space, extra seating for your friends, and you probably know it inside and out.

If you need to pop over to the mall to get something quick, you can do that no problem. Buses take forever, are crowded, and oftentimes are late. It’s so much easier to just drive yourself.


With your own car you don’t have to pester parents or friends for rides. You can go wherever you wish, whenever you wish. You aren’t beholden to bus schedules or a multitude of stops. You can just get in and go.


One of the best perks about having a car is the fact that you can travel with it. Not just to the store in back, not just across campus, but to far off destinations. When the holidays come around, you can drive back home, even if home is half a state over. If you and your friends want to attend a concert a hundred miles away, you can do that and make a fun road-trip of it. Have car, will travel.


Parking (or lack thereof)

Parking can be a nightmare on campus. All the meters could be taken, the parking ramps are crowded, there are odd rules about parking on the sides of roads, lots could be a distance away from campus, a parking pass can be expensive. It can make you pull your hair out!


If you have a car, you become “that friend with the car.” Which means people will ask you for rides. All the time. While this can be nice if you want to go to the mall or grocery store with someone, it can get a bit trying. Especially if they don’t repay you for gas or parking expenses.


Between gas, parking, and potentially a semester or yearlong parking pass, having a car can drain your wallet pretty quick. And that’s not even taking into consideration the possibility of fender-benders, scratches, or other unfortunate accidents.

So is having a car on campus worth it? Well, it depends on the student. There will be pros and cons, of course, and differences in campuses or colleges can play a factor as well. Maybe your college has excellent parking spots. Maybe the bus system is really good and is just more convenient than a car.

Use freshman year to do some research, ask friends with cars what they think of it, before making a decision of your own.

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