Pros & Cons of Having a Car at University

woman driving car

There are both advantages and disadvantages to having your own car while at university. There’s no clear cut answer as to whether having a car is a good idea — you’ll need to decide if the pros outweigh the cons for your situation. Here are some considerations to bear in mind.

Pro: It’s Easier to Move Around

The main benefit of having a car is being able to go wherever you want, whenever you want. For instance, you’ll be able to commute to campus, head to the grocery store and avoid needing to carry heavy bags of food back home, and go shopping to purchase large items for your apartment. Plus, having a car may mean you’re able to go home more often on weekends and breaks. It’s likely that driving will be cheaper than paying for a train or bus ticket.

Having your own car could also open up more opportunities for employment. You’ll be able to search for jobs in a wider area, which could mean higher pay, more reasonable hours, or even work you find more interesting and that better matches your career goals.

Con: It’s an Added Expense

Most students will find that having a car increases their expenses considerably. As well as gas, you’ll need to pay for insurance and unexpected repairs. Furthermore, depending on where you live, parking could be expensive — you’ll likely need to pay for a permit to be able to bring your car onto campus. You may even struggle to find a parking spot sometimes, which could mean you arrive late to class or another commitment.

Pro: You May Have More Fun

You’ll have plenty of fun at university without a car — but owning a car can definitely help you get more out of the student experience. You’ll be able to travel farther afield at weekends, perhaps to visit friends at other universities, go on camping or hiking trips, or just move around your city more comfortably. Plus, over your breaks, you could organize road trips with friends. Finally, during the winter you’ll have more incentive to go out if there’s no need to brace for the cold in public transit.

Con: It Can Be a Hassle

Searching for parking spots, keeping up with regular maintenance, and making sure you always leave your car somewhere safe where there’s a low risk that it will be exposed to damage or theft can be stressful. Plus, if you’re the only person in your group of friends who has a car, you may find that people expect you to drive them. You’ll be the last person to arrive home after events if you need to drop friends off first and you’ll often end up being the designated driver at parties. All this could be more stress than it’s worth.

If you decide that you do want to have a car while at university, you’ll need to find an apartment that has parking available. For Ontario Tech University housing, there’s 17Hundred. As well as onsite parking, we have secure bike storage for those who’d prefer not to have a car. Book a video tour to find out more about where you could be living.