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The Pros and Cons of Having a Car in College

Finance | 08/08/2023 10:29

Cars can provide convenience and a level of comfort that is hard to beat. As a freshman you probably won’t be allowed to have a car on campus, but as a sophomore you may have the option. So how can you decide if having a car on campus is a good idea?


Here’s how you can decide if having a car in college is right for you.

What are the advantages of having a car in college?


It’s convenient.

Having a car available to you is just plain convenient. While most colleges have ample public transportation, a car will allow you to skip the bus stops and the transportation schedules entirely. You can not only move about campus more easily, but you can also head into town and run errands more easily. You can load up your trunk with groceries, go to a mall or shopping center, or drive to visit friends who live off campus. If the buses are running late or are overcrowded, it’s not your problem.


It can provide comfort.

When we get our license and first start driving it gives us a sense of independence. We finally feel like we can go where we want and do what we want. Going to college can feel a bit unsteady, and having your car available to you can be a comfort. Feeling overwhelmed? Take a drive to clear your head. Feeling homesick? Take a weekend trip home whenever you desire. 


It makes the holidays easier.

If you have ever needed to travel during the holidays you know what a pain it can be. Having a car gives you more flexibility to travel home when and how you choose. You can even coordinate a road trip back to your home area with others to have some fun and split the cost of gas.


It gives you more employment opportunities. 

Having a car means you can be more flexible with where you work as well. You are not limited to the campus or to areas where you can easily access public transportation. 

What are the disadvantages of having a car in college?

It’s expensive.

Having a car is expensive in general. Insurance, gas, parking, and maintenance are all things you will need to pay for, and money can be tight in college. There’s also the ever-present risk of getting into an accident on campus, even if your car is parked. 


Parking can be difficult.

Parking on campus can be very limited. You may need to pay for a parking pass, and even then you may not be guaranteed easy and convenient parking. 


You may become the chauffeur.

We all want to help our friends out, but when you are one of few that have access to a car, you may find that you have more friends than you previously thought. You may be asked frequently to make trips to the grocery store, the airport, or the local Walmart. This can become tiresome, expensive, and may lead to tension in your friendships.


You may be less inclined to explore campus.

If you are able to leave whenever you want you may spend less time socializing on campus. Walking around and taking the school’s public transportation is a great way to hang out with friends and even make some new ones. You may be more inclined to leave for the weekends instead of hanging out and enjoying the college experience. Plus walking around is a great way to burn off the late night pizza.

Should I bring a car to college?

Deciding whether or not to bring a car to college can be difficult. It depends a lot on how much you will use it, how it fits into your budget, and how practical of an option it is. Here are some questions you can ask yourself when deciding whether or not to bring a car to college.


Do I need a car?

If your college campus is located in a city, it probably will not make sense to bring a car. Not only will it be a much bigger hassle and be more expensive, but it probably won’t benefit you that much. Big cities have great public transportation and it is usually faster and cheaper to use the buses and subways. If your campus is located in a rural area, a car might be necessary to get around.


Can I afford to have a car on campus?

First things first, do you own a car outright? If not, you may have a hard time keeping up on car payments on top of everything else. But even if you do own your car, having a car is expensive. Add up the following expenses to determine if you can afford having a car on campus:

  • Insurance

  • Average monthly gas

  • Parking permits

  • Average maintenance costs

Can I handle the added responsibility of having a car on campus?

When you are away at college, you are on your own. That means if your car starts making a strange noise or the check engine light goes on, you have to deal with it yourself. You will also have to keep the car maintained, which means regular tire pressure checks and oil changes.

Is it smart to finance a car in college? 


If you do not have a car already but really want to have access to one when you are at college, you may be considering financing. And it is possible to get a student car loan, but you will most likely need to have a cosigner. 


But financing a car while in college is an expensive decision to make. New car payments in 2023 are averaging around $725 per month. Add insurance, gas, parking, and maintenance to that and you are paying well over $1000 every month to drive on campus. But if you are in the financial position to do so, financing is an option. To improve your chances of qualifying for a car loan as a student, take the following steps:

  • Prove that you have a reliable source of income. If you do not have a steady job, showing bank statements may help prove that you can make the payments.

  • Get a cosigner. A friend or loved one with good credit can help your chances of being approved.

  • Get good grades. Many lenders use your GPA as a measure of your creditworthiness.


That’s everything you need to know about having a car on campus. 

There are a lot of pros and cons when it comes to having a car on campus, but taking the time to weigh out the usefulness and practicality of a car with the expense and hassle can lead you to the right decision.


If you are looking to refinance your car loan, contact Auto Approve today!



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