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College Series: The Debate - To Let them Take a Car to School or Not? - #BeThereMoments


Welcome to the second installment of our college series. You may want to take a look at our first post, The Drive to Orientation & Meeting the Roommate. Your child is getting prepared to head off to college this year and as they do, a debate regarding the bringing of their vehicle comes into play. I actually had this conversation with my own daughter. She had just graduated high school and had just gotten her very first car, a Volkswagen Beetle Convertible, and also her license. While her college allowed first year students to bring their car onto campus for a fee of course, many college campuses does not allow cars to be stored on their property or even let first year students bring their own car. If your child is attending a college that allows a car to be brought, then you will have to discuss some other areas of interest as it pertains to whether or not your college student will take their car to school.


Will it be an inconvenience for the family if your college student takes the car to school with them? If this car is ultimately owned by the college student then the answer is no, but if the parents are in ownership you may want to consider if the family will need the car more than the college student.

How responsible is your college student? This is a huge thing to consider, if you know that your child may be irresponsible and make poor judgement while having access to a car at school, then you may want to restrict them bringing a car that first year so they can get accustomed to college life first.


Will your college student hold a job on or off campus? If yes to an off campus job, then the use of having quick access to a car may be a safer option for them, depending upon the location of their job as it pertains to the college campus. Taking into consideration your student’s job they hold while at college may help decide to let them take a car to school or not. For example, my daughter lives in a college town where there is very limited public transportation. I feel safer knowing that she has her own vehicle to get to and from work at her part time job.

Does the college allow students bring their cars? Usually first year students are not allowed to have a car brought with them to college. This would be a campus rule that has to be followed regardless of whether you want your child to have access to a car at school or not. Research the rules pertaining to whether first year college students can bring their car to school or not.


These are just some of the questions to think about when the debate of whether your college student should bring their car to school or not. The biggest concern for many colleges, when it comes to students bringing their cars on campus, is that most college students overwork themselves and having an exhausted college student driving the roads isn’t safe. When discussing this topic with your soon to be college student try to think of all pros and cons involved and come to a reasonable decision based on your own family’s comfort level.

Do you have a student who's headed off to college? Be there, no matter where they go. Read more stories from parents like me on betheremoments.com and join in the conversation by using the hashtag #BeThereMoments.

Thank you Michelin for collaborating with us on this post.

Annmarie John
52 Comments
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52 comments:

  1. I'd never thought of this decision, as I don't have kids. There are pros and cons. Of course, if they must get to work, it is a must.

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    1. Well then again Carol it all depends on whether their job is on or off campus. My daughter has a job both on and off campus so having her have her car was a must for us.

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  2. There are good points for both sides of the debate on whether a college student should take their car to college. It depends on the student and if they are responsible and mature.

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    1. That is also true. You don't want an immature child taking a car to school and having an accident. And this is where your talk comes in.

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  3. I love that you are addressing this. So many people assume it is okay or that it is allowed. We have found out that it is better for my daughter not to drive her car to college.

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    1. And sometimes you do have to do what you have to do.

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  4. Eekk I can imagine it can be a big debate to see if they are allowed a car or not! I didn't learn to drive till my midtwenties! So wasn't an issue for me.

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  5. Well, I have to say, if the school doesn't have a problem with them bringing their cars, then I don't see a problem with it. Sometimes the student needs them to get around or off campus. I have had classes that required me to drive to other places. Without a car, that would have been impossible.

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    1. And that's where you have to think about the variables. The pros and the cons.

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  6. I've got quite a few more years before my kiddos are headed off to college, but this is definitely something that my husband and I would discuss at length. It's a big responsibility.

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    1. Yes it is and when that time comes, I'm pretty sure you'll both have it under control.

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  7. Great post, I had my car with me in college since I lived and worked off campus. I think it's practical to bring a car if everything is within walking distance of the campus.

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    1. Well if everything is within walking distance then you really don't need your car do you?

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  8. I think it also depends on where they are going to school. Is it a metro area where they can get around without a car or is it rural where getting anywhere requires a car. I went to school in New Hampshire and unless they sold it in the campus bookstore you had to go to town which required a car or begging for rides. I had a car.

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    1. And that's why my daughter took her car. Her college is in a town where there is no public transportation and I would prefer if she had her own car instead of asking for rides all the time.

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  9. One of the many decisions of parenting that lies ahead of me. I would opt for taking the car because I don't want them to have to rely on other people for a safe ride. I want them to always have an option and even to have the ability to offer a safe ride to their friends.

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    1. And that's one of the reason I decided that my daughter should have her car as well. While most would think for guys it's safer for them to ask for rides, I would prefer my son to have his own as well. I don't like inconveniencing others.

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  10. It's such a huge decision and quite scary for parents. I appreciate when colleges remove it from the equation for freshmen. One less thing for parents to worry about that first year.

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    1. Well but then parents start worrying if their child is safe getting rides where he/she needs to go.

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  11. I didn't have a car in college, but everything was either in walking distance or I could take the bus. My daughter has a car with her in college, but it seems that things are much further away for her. And it allows her to visit more often!

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    1. And that's one of the things you have to consider. Is everything within walking distance. Is it safe for her to ask for rides etc.

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  12. I am so glad that it will take me some years to worry about this. Surely these post is very informative and helpful as well.

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    1. Well I currently have 1 daughter in college and another heading there in just 2 years. :)

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  13. My son has not gotten to this stage yet. I thank you for all the tips of what to do when this time rises. A lot to think about when a child gets to the next stage in life.

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    1. But your son will get to this stage eventually and I'm happy to share with you some things to talk about when the time comes.

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  14. There are great pros and cons regarding this subject. I didn't have my car my first 1-1 1/2 of college and it was hard getting around and sometimes annoying having to bum rides off of roommates. But I must admit the exercise getting around campus without a car was a plus.

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    1. Well exercise is always good but as a parent I prefer my kid having their own vehicle so they don't inconvenience others although some roommates are pretty good about things like offering rides.

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  15. Excellent post. I remember it did become an issue on certain days when my parents needed the car and I had to go to campus. Thankfully there was a bus that I could take to campus. Mostly I would use the car during exams as the times can fluctuate.

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    1. And it seems like you had parents who were willing to compromise. That's great!

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  16. At the end, I think it all boils down to how much you trust your child when it comes to bringing a car to school and if the school would allow it. These questions make a lot of sense, discussing these with your kids will also open their minds to the things that concern the whole family.

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    1. Yes it really does. If the campus doesn't allow first year students, then there's certainly nothing to discuss, you don't take your car to school. :)

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  17. This is a decision we will be making soon. There may not be student parking available on campus so my son may be taking the train.

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    1. Well at least he has a few other options and nothing wrong with taking the train. :)

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  18. It is hard to let them do the adult thing. But I always believe that is a matter of trust and more prayers.

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    1. While it's good to pray, it's really about do you trust your teenager to take their car to school and be RESPONSIBLE?

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  19. I still have plenty of time before this time comes for me. My son is too young for such stuff, but thanks for this!

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    1. Guess what? Before you know it, your son will be off to college so it's best to be prepared.

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  20. It is a safety thing if the student is walking to and from work. That is especially true if there is going to be some after-dark walking involved.

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    1. Oh most certainly Rosey. You don't want your child, boy or girl, walking in the dark after hours.

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  21. I guess its a different situation for everyone. Some families are okay with not having their car and giving it up for their kid while some would want them to have their own car by getting it on their own. Thankfully my son is only 10 and I have time to mull this over.

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    1. You have approximately 8 years and that time is going to come by very quickly, before you know it. Hopefully by then you'll know what you want to do.

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  22. That is a fascinating question. I love the topics covered.
    It's hard to say. It's all about responsibility and if it's allowed and able to work well with the family needs.

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    1. That is also true. If you cannot afford to give away the family car then other arrangements will have to be made.

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  23. If you trust your child enough, I think it's better to allow him to bring the car. My son is in college and he has the car.

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    1. That's also true. My daughter is in college and she has hers as well but she's also a very responsible adult, and I have to consider her as an adult. She's no longer a child, although she's still my child. :)

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  24. I didn't have a car my freshman year, and I'm glad I didn't! It kept me on campus, doing things with other students!

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    1. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that at all. My daughter had her car her freshman year but she still did a lot of things too. So you can still do it whether you have a car or not.

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  25. I had my own car and never had any problem with it. My parent raise me well so I made responsable decisions

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    1. That's awesome Ana and I'm happy to hear that you made responsible decisions that I'm sure made your parents proud.

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  26. I prefer my son take the school bus for security reasons. If unfortunate happens, at least I have people I can contact with.

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    1. And that's the choice that you made and I'm sure it's a great one. I hope nothing unfortunate ever happens, but will you ever allow him to take the car to school eventually?

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[name=AnnMarie John] [img=https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X9gUeVik-ZY/WJjwNTOobII/AAAAAAABTJ4/qEhU0n62_AIo-j6-6LA2OFOr44lKCHASwCLcB/s100/AnnMarie%2BJohn%2BHeadshot.JPG] [description=AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, mom of 4, retired army veteran and a huge Disney lover. Formerly from the beautiful island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and now living in colorful Colorado, she loves sharing her opinions on everything, crafting and food.] (facebook=http://www.facebook.com/theannmariejohn) (instagram=http://www.instagram.com/theannmariejohn) (twitter=http://www.twitter.com/theannmariejohn) (pinterest=http://www.pinterest.com/theannmariejohn) (email=mailto:annmarie@annmariejohn.com)

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