Car on Campus?

Things to consider before taking a car to school

Car on campus - should you bring your car to college? There are many things to consider before taking your car to school with you. Fact #1: Many colleges do not allow students to bring a car on campus.

Fact #2: Many schools that allow students to bring a car greatly restrict their use on campus. For instance, some universities allow you to bring a car but you must “store” it in a large and sometimes far-removed parking lot.

“We allow cars but we discourage students from bringing one,” said Judy Carlson, director of public safety at the University of Hartford. Carlson reports that because space is very tight, parking is permitted only in certain areas and the permit is expensive. “Basically, when you bring a car, it’s not for daily use but really just to store it between your trips home,” she said.

“You really won’t be driving to and from classes because parking is at a premium on most campuses,” agrees Kate Fitzgerald, assistant director of university housing at the University of Iowa. “Besides, you really don’t need a car on many campuses.”

Campuses really are designed for pedestrians, not drivers; bus transportation is available at most large campuses.

If you are bringing a car to college…

  • Find out your university’s parking situation and make sure you understand every regulation. And follow them! Most universities regularly patrol streets and parking areas, and quickly issue citations for illegal parking. It can happen in five minutes!
  • Make sure your driver’s license is up to date and won’t expire while you’re at school. Verify that your car insurance is current.
  • Before you hit the road for college and before making any trip home, check your car’s oil level, filters, and tire pressure. Having jumper cables is a plus. Consider joining an auto club.
  • Don’t keep valuables in your car—and always lock it.
  • Decide in advance your policy on sharing your car. Don’t wait until a roommate or friend says “Hey, can I borrow your car?” to make up your mind. Tip from those in the know: fibbing a little and saying “I promised my parents I’d never loan it out” gets you off the spot.
  • If friends often ask you to drive them to a mall or discount store, consider suggesting another time. “I can’t take you tonight, but I’ll be going to the mall on Saturday myself.” If a certain person asks too often, you might consider having a heart-to-heart talk to explain that you can’t be a car service.


This article was written by Jane Schreier Jones

Jane Schreier Jones is a freelance writer whose work includes hundreds of articles in the field of education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/journalism from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.

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