Passing your driving test and buying your very first car is an exciting time. Waving goodbye to running for buses, driving lessons and being picked up by your mum is a liberating experience. After a few days of motoring freedom, it’s hard to remember how you ever survived without your trusty – if a little aged – set of wheels. Until you go off to university, that is. Before long you find yourself asking “should I take my car to uni?”.
You’ve got all your books packed, pens bought and Nandos loyalty card at the ready, but how are you going to get there? Driving yourself is the obvious solution, but there is a lot to consider when taking your car to university with you.
This guide takes a look at the practicality and cost of being a car-owning student, in order to help you decide whether or not to leave it behind.
Depending on where you’re off to, there may be limited parking on campus. Most universities have frequent bus services meaning students who live within a certain radius don’t have any need to drive to their lectures. Parking spaces, therefore, tend to be reserved for staff and students who live outside of this distance.
You also need to consider how much parking is available at your new accommodation. If you’re living on campus, there may be a permit system in place in order to preserve space by preventing students bringing their cars with them. If you’re living off campus, check whether you have a driveway or unrestricted on-street parking. If you do have a driveway or on-street parking, having a car will save you struggling back from the supermarket on public transport. Chances are, friends will want a lift there with you, so ask for some petrol money or insist they buy you a pizza in return.
If you live close enough to university, leave the car where it is and walk to your lectures. This way you’re not paying out for petrol you don’t need, you won’t have to hide from university parking attendants and you’ll save money on a gym membership.
Learning for the future
Learning to drive whilst at uni may be the best time. It’s undoubtedly easier to learn while you’re young, and taking your lessons between lectures gives you the perfect opportunity to takes a break from studying. Not only will having a license in time for graduation make your career prospect brighter, but you won’t have to worry about learning later in life.
Getting more for your money
If you have a car before you go away to uni, you’ll already be paying to insure it. Although your insurance premium may increase depending on where you’re moving to, it’s worth weighing up the cost you will already be paying to have your car sat on the driveway at home. If you think you’ll be using your car enough at university to make up for the increase in insurance, then it makes sense to take it with you.
Having your car with you will also mean that you don’t have to pay an expensive train fare when going home for the holidays. Plus, you won’t have to lug all your dirty washing to the station!
So, should I take my car to uni?
It’s totally up to you. Make sure you consider your options carefully before setting off, uni-bound, in your own car. If you do decide to take it, find out the university’s parking policy, and whether or not you have somewhere to park near your house.
Make the most out of having your car at university. Go on road trips with your friends, and cruise past all of your fellow students waiting at the bus stop. Imagine all the fun you can have trying to fit fifty people in a cinquecento, or working out how many takeaway pizzas you can get in the boot. The options are endless.
Image via Ralph and Jenny @ Flickr