Dream Car

Dream Car

I want to take my car to college. I think it may be a distraction from studying. Should I bring my car to campus?

Your question has probably been asked by all students at one time or another. One of the best moments for teenagers is getting their license, buying their first car, and enjoying the independence that it offers. Naturally, you're going to want to take it to college, but there are a number of things to consider.

Surveys say that over 70% of college students own or have access to a car. Some colleges don't approve of cars on campus and prohibit first-year students from doing so.

Parking has become an issue at many campuses as more and more students today have cars. There just isn't enough capacity for on-campus parking, so preventing the largest class, freshmen, from bringing cars to campus often alleviates this issue.

The first-year of college is one of discovery and exploration, with students testing their newly found freedom. A big part of this will be the party lifestyle and usually a lot of drinking. Reports by injury law firms show that over 3 million students have driven drunk. This gives campus administration another reason to prohibit driving and reduce the number of students possibly driving drunk.

Fatigue at college is a common problem, especially amongst freshmen who have erratic schedules. Heading off-campus late for a food run or to see friends is only possible with a car. A large part of accidents is caused through fatigue, another reason to limit cars on campus for first-year students. Colleges also want more students to stay on campus and immerse themselves in campus life. Actively involved students are usually happier, more satisfied, and better performers academically.

Colleges have concluded that having a car can be a distraction and many parents agree. Do you own the car or is it a family or shared vehicle? If other people need use of the car, this may prevent you from conveniently parking nearby.

If its not yours, then the owner will want to know if it has been driven responsibly, and more importantly, if you've let anyone else borrow it. If a friend gets a ticket, or worse has an accident, the owner of the car will be held responsible. You may also be constantly asked to give rides to classmates. Would you rather be giving rides or asking for them?

The cost of running and maintaining a car must also be taken into consideration. Estimates by Honda car dealers say you should budget around $75 per month to keep a compact car in good working order.

For many in your situation, leaving a car at home is a better option. It will save you money, diminish your responsibility and help you stay focused on your studies.

Americans will put up with anything provided it doesn't block traffic - Dan Rather.

(John Regan is a former Director of Sales for equity research).

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