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Does Your Recent Grad Need a Car for College? 5 Things to Consider

I remember graduating high school like it was yesterday. It was bittersweet, and such a memorable milestone in my life. I knew that I would head to college in the fall, and was both excited and nervous about what the future might hold for me. Everything would be new- a new place to live, new friends to navigate the world with, and of course, a whole new set of responsibilities. 

My parents really helped me figure out all of the things I would need for my first year of college. I was happy to be attending a school that wasn't too big, and still allowed freshman to have cars on campus. The question was- did I need to have a car on campus at all? In the end, we determined that it would be beneficial for me to have my own car at school. 

Here are some of the things we considered when making our final decision...

Are cars allowed on campus?

In my case, freshman were allowed to have cars on campus, but not all schools allow this. In fact, there are many that don't allow underclassman to have cars on campus unless they're commuter students. You'll need to make sure to consult the school before you make any plans to bring your car along for the semester or the year- because if they don't allow students to have cars, there's no point in going through the motions to bring it along.

Consider the fees

All colleges and universities are extremely strict when it comes to parking policies. If you plan on bringing your vehicle to school and plan to have it on campus, make sure you follow the rules and procedures for doing so. Make sure you get your parking permit, which you will undoubtedly have to pay for. There are also strict rules about where and when you can park in certain areas, so make sure you follow those rules to avoid parking fees or tickets on campus.

Will you work off-campus?

Many college students wind up getting part-time jobs off campus to help pay for school or living expenses. Unless it's an off-campus job which you can safely and quickly walk to or use public transportation to get to, you'll probably do best with having your own vehicle to get you to and from work in a timely manner.

Vehicle Cost

Aside from having to purchase a vehicle if you don't already have one, keep in mind that you'll be on your own, and will have to maintain your car. It does cost money to keep a car running. The car will likely need weekly gas fill-ups and will need to be regularly tuned-up and cleaned.

Do you need it to travel home?

I remember feeling bad for some of my friends from out of state when I was in college because they weren't able to go home for breaks from school unless they could find a ride. Unless you can find someone who happens to be traveling in the direction you live, or you've made a really good friend who will go out of their way to give you a ride, you'll wind up stuck on campus, when most things like restaurants and campus stores are closed. Having your own car means that you can head out from campus and go home if and when you want to.

I found that having a reliable car on campus was very beneficial for me. I was able to work off campus and make trips home at my leisure, without having to beg my busy parents to come and pick me up. The decision may be determined by rules, or may be situational, but in my opinion, having a car on campus in college is well worth it.

Brought to you by Redman-Toll Chevrolet.

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