College – Can I get by without a car?

The question of whether or not to bring a car to college is a common one. Almost every family I meet with senior year asks this question and usually the parent versus student ideas on this are different.

I hope both parents and students find this helpful; things to consider ..

Will you be living in an on campus dorm? If yes, unless the student will have an off campus job or will be visiting home regularly, my advice is always no. On Campus parking is typically VERY limited, a distance away for Freshman, expensive and most importantly dangerous (lots of inexperienced drivers, LOTS of distracted drivers and tons of mopeds). In addition, for most families, unless the student is working full time, a car adds unnecessary expenses (insurance, gas, maintenance, parking fees, etc).

Questions to consider when making the decision Car vs No Car Freshman year in college (and beyond) are below. Note: As a parent, in our home, we have a no car rule Freshman year and then we open up the discussion for Sophomore year.

  1. Find out free modes of transportation available at University and where pick up/drop off routes will be.
  2. How far away from home will you be? Is there safe bus service (college bus routes; campus to campus service) regularly, nearby airport or student ride share options on campus social media pages or boards?

I hope these thoughts, along with suggestions based on experience will bring productive conversation and help to come to a decision that is agreeable to everyone invloved.

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