By the time your child is ready for college, chances are they'll have spent the past two years (or longer, depending on their age) driving. They may have their own car, or might still be borrowing yours. When your child heads off to college, they will probably want to have their own reliable set of wheels to transport them around their college town, and even make a trip home to visit family every now and then.
Before you or your child decide whether or not they should have a car on campus, check the school's policy. Some colleges don't allow freshman students to have cars on campus.If your student will be commuting to school, there are exceptions to this rule, and most likely, designated commuter parking spaces available on campus.
If your student's campus does allow cars on campus, weigh the pros and cons of having a vehicle at their disposal. If the campus is large, the student may want to be able to drive from one area of campus to the next. Just keep in mind that parking may be an issue, and most college campuses offer a shuttle service to and from different areas of campus.
How responsible is your student? Your student will be responsible for obtaining a parking permit, making sure it is properly displayed, and will be responsible for any fees incurred for parking violations on campus. Who will pay for those infractions, and who will be responsible for maintaining and paying for the car insurance? Will your student be able to maintain the vehicle on their own, and be responsible for keeping the gas tank filled, keeping the car clean, etc?
Is your student a night owl? Many students like to stay up late and study or socialize off campus, sometimes until the wee hours of the morning. Students who don't have access to their own vehicles are more likely to engage in campus activities, get more rest, and stay out of trouble. Late night driving when students are tired can lead to dangerous situations, and accidents.
Will your student be able to handle friends asking for rides? Many college students don't have cars on campus (especially their first and second year). Once friends learn that your student has their own car, the requests for rides will probably pour in. Make sure to talk with your student about this possibility, and discuss the right way to handle those situations.
Of course, there are many circumstances which may warrant your student's need for a car on campus. If they have a job outside of a work study program on campus, they will obviously need transportation. If your student lives close enough to home to visit on weekends, they will likely want their own vehicle to make the trip home and back.
Whether or not a student needs a car on campus can depend on many factors. Be sure to think about the possibilities of the pro's and con's and to have an open and honest discussion with your student about them well before the new school year starts.
This post brought to you by Pollard Jeep.