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Should students have a car at uni?

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    So I've recently got my provisional license and all the usual questions about whether to buy a car before or after uni have come up.

    Also, conveniently enough, this is the title for my practice German essay in for tomorrow and I've run out of pros and cons.

    So at the moment, I have a decision to make and an essay to finish.

    So should students have a car at uni?

    Thanks for taking the time to reply
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    I'd say probably not. Universities don't provide parking space for students living in halls (unless they have a special requirement which means they need a car), so where would you keep it? Plus, there's almost always a free bus service for students, so getting around shouldn't be a problem anyway.

    One of my friends who went to Newcastle Uni sold her car before she left for these same reasons.
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    For the later years they can be useful, one of the guys I lived with (in private housing) had a car which made doing large food shops and moving in/out a lot easier. However, in first year (and likely any years you're in halls) your university will not provide parking, which makes having a car very impractical.
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    I have my car at uni. Not really necessary because I walk most places since St Andrews is so small. The only real advantage is when I go to a different city. I still like having it - even though it is sort of a money sink.
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    (Original post by tallen90)
    I'd say probably not. Universities don't provide parking space for students living in halls (unless they have a special requirement which means they need a car), so where would you keep it? Plus, there's almost always a free bus service for students, so getting around shouldn't be a problem anyway.

    One of my friends who went to Newcastle Uni sold her car before she left for these same reasons.
    Are you even at uni??

    OP the above advice doesn't apply to all unis at all. It depends where you're heading. At my uni, for example, you can get a parking permit (regardless of special circumstances) and there is no free bus service, just a heavily subsidised one.

    If you're planning on going home often or whatever else you'd want a car for then take it. I take mine and it makes life a lot easier. (I don't drive to uni, I walk. But it means I can drive to the supermarket etc).
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    It seems really expensive to me, which is why I have avoided even learning to drive (that, and not being able to see over the dashboard )
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    I'd imagine that if you're doing a course which requires you to do a lot of placements or if you go to a uni which has rubbish public transport then having one could be useful, but they are probably too expensive for most students.
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    Thanks for all the responses I suppose I'll still need a few opinions before I make up my mind for good, though.

    Also, I'm applying to Cambridge, Sheffield, Imperial, UCL and Loughborough. Does anyone know anything about their specific student car policies etc? Nevermind if not, I'd still like some general information.
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    (Original post by Tanmayee)
    Thanks for all the responses I suppose I'll still need a few opinions before I make up my mind for good, though.

    Also, I'm applying to Cambridge, Sheffield, Imperial, UCL and Loughborough. Does anyone know anything about their specific student car policies etc? Nevermind if not, I'd still like some general information.
    Definitely don't take a car if you go to these unis, it's London and there's too much traffic to bother with the hassle of a car when you don't need it. Cambridge you won't need one as everything is within walking distance and most people cycle anyway. I can't really comment on Sheffield and Loughborough but i doubt a car would be necessary especially not for the first year of uni. You have to check whether unis will provide parking spaces, most won't so honestly there isn't a point in taking a car to uni - you'll end up a taxi anyway lol.
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    I was advised not to bring a car to uni, because there might not be enough parking spaces for everyone and the uni will have sufficient transport links anyway, so a car wouldn't be necessary. I'll be leaving mine at home, it'll save petrol.
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    (Original post by JongKey)
    Definitely don't take a car if you go to these unis, it's London and there's too much traffic to bother with the hassle of a car when you don't need it. Cambridge you won't need one as everything is within walking distance and most people cycle anyway. I can't really comment on Sheffield and Loughborough but i doubt a car would be necessary especially not for the first year of uni. You have to check whether unis will provide parking spaces, most won't so honestly there isn't a point in taking a car to uni - you'll end up a taxi anyway lol.
    I suppose you're right, everyone's been saying the same thing to me. I'm interested to know whether anyone has actually tried and failed at keeping a car at uni though?
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    Don't know if it's still the case but Sheffield used to have the best public tranport in the world, very reliable and very cheap. Maybe check the Uni-Specific threads to see what current students think of it. Central London, nope don't even try.

    For your essay, maybe look at costs, the environment, the social implications of a grouping with other students for food shopping etc but not mixing with the general population so much on public transport? Also there are issues of independence from parents, and if you have to get a job working antisocial times when public transport is not so good. Eg, getting home after a bar job that finishes at 3am?? Are students who drive at college, less likely to become over-involved in the drinking scene, dicsuss. (Being always the named driver can get a bit boring)

    What about driving the minibus for college society trips away? Although changes in the DVLA licence laws mean this question mostly only applies to mature students now.
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    not unless its going to be a family car for a sibling to also use or to learn on
    keeping it at uni is expensive, theres usually no parking, and again that can be expensive.. running it on a student loan would drain a lot of your money which is better spent on other things in my experience... if you are living off campus, it may be easier to have a car, depending on how long it takes to get to uni, and if you have to use things such as a bus.
    cars can also be useful for doing the weekly shop, you may be able to team up with friends and go together and get them to contribute towards the fuel, they are also useful if you have placements within your uni course (eg nursing, teaching) that makes transport to them easier and quicker... if you go home a lot then it can also save on train fees.. also you have to consider the running costs of the car - insurance, fuel, tax, parking, [congestion charges] etc etc.. is it really worth it? i think not
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    I personally have my car at uni and park it on the street. I visit my boyfriend at university often however, and i also go home a few times a term. Although maybe I do this because I have to car... who knows?? I couldn't bear to part with my car though- I passed only a few months before uni so I couldnt sell it or leave it at home. I would say that parking it on the street isnt ideal- I'm too scared to sacrifice my space to get a food shop or explore the city!

    EDIT: I would just add that I don't find it to be terribly expensive, although my car is fairly fuel efficient (as is my driving) and I have coordinated tax, MOT etc with when student loan money comes in!!
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    Surely it depends if you need one and if you can afford one?

    I have mine at uni because I live 150 miles away and I can either spend £70 on a one-way train ticket or drive and use about a quarter of a tank of petrol (I have a Fiesta Econetic) so nowadays about £15? It's cheaper for me to drive.

    I'm also off-campus to archives / collections in other cities and doing site surveys away from the city. I don't use the car for everyday stuff like going to the library or doing the shopping, but it's saved me so much money when I need to go somewhere out of the city. I also use it to drive everyone into town when we go to the cinema in the evenings, as it's free parking, and everyone could either spend £3 EACH (so £15) on bus tickets or I could drive everyone there and back and spend less than £1 on petrol. I've also used it to take a housemate back and forth from hospital before now too.
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    If they can afford to run a car at Uni. Why not? A lot of Uni's prefer students to use public transport and cities are terrible for cars. If you are commuting it would be beneficial which is what I done. If in halls I suppose there aren't as many benefits. It should be a choice for students.
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    The funding I will receive for university won't even cover my accomodation. However, I will (fingers crossed) be studying radiography, for which my car would be great to have around for placements. Hopefully I'll be able to work enough whilst there to retain it.
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    most universities are in big cities with relatively good transport links meaning a car would be a drain on your funds
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    (Original post by Lil Piranha)
    Surely it depends if you need one and if you can afford one?

    I have mine at uni because I live 150 miles away and I can either spend £70 on a one-way train ticket or drive and use about a quarter of a tank of petrol (I have a Fiesta Econetic) so nowadays about £15? It's cheaper for me to drive
    mmm. If you don't count:
    buying the thing in the first place, insurance, road tax, mot's, servicing and depreciation.
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    If you can afford it, why not? Means you can and do a big shop at a supermarket and if on a sports team can get paid by your union (well at Leicester anyway) for doing so. (It is actually the club which repays you but need to get that from the union and for them to approve it).

    First year I wouldn't bother but 2nd and 3rd year. It's more suitable.

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Updated: May 21, 2012
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