Preparing your teen for college is a huge transition for everyone. There are several uncertainties you might face as you prepare your child for this independent phase of their lives. One issue that might arise is the decision to take their vehicle to college with them.
There are some questions you need to ask before you make such an important decision.
Can they handle the responsibility?
The most important question is to ask yourself where you stand on the issue. As a parent, you have the final say. Be honest with yourself. Do you believe that your child is mature enough to handle driving on their own? Will they take care of the vehicle? Will they drive safely and follow the law behind the wheel? Look at your child’s past driving history. Based on what they have done in the past could be evidence of what they will do in the future.
Is it convenient for the family?
Also, you should think about whether this is the best choice for your family? Does the college student share a vehicle with other siblings? If the car is no longer available at your residence, will that inconvenience your family in any way?
Setting the Ground Rules
If you have decided that your future college student will be taking a car with them to the next chapter of their academic career, you should educate yourself and your student on any rules and regulations the college or university may have regarding vehicles on campus. Some campuses may not even allow vehicles for students living in dormitories.
Once you have decided to allow your student to take the car, make sure to set some ground rules to prevent issues in the future. Make sure they are clear on what you expect from them. For example, you may want them to stick to a routine maintenance schedule for the vehicle, such as oil changes every semester.
You might also want to discuss other rules regarding the car, such as not allowing anyone else to drive, or drinking and driving. These conversations can help future problems from rising.
Getting Your Vehicle College Kid Ready
If you choose to let your college student take a vehicle to college with them, it is important to make sure the vehicle is safe and reliable. The last thing any parent wants is to find out that their child is stranded on the side of the road hundreds of miles away from home. If you do not think that their current vehicle is a reliable option, make it a priority to visit your local car dealership and find an inexpensive and reliable solution.
Go With Your Parental Gut
If you decide it is best if your student attends their freshman year without their own vehicle, know that they will not be alone. Many freshman do not bring a car to college with them. Most on-campus activities and classes should be within walking distance.
However, without a set mode of transportation, you should make sure that your student has a plan. For example, will they have a roommate or group of friends that they can rely on in case they need rides. It could also be helpful to get them a bicycle to get around campus much quicker than on foot.
Once you have come to a vehicle agreement, you can move on to other important college preparation plans. Whatever you decide, make sure your student understands why you made the decision that you did. As the parent, you must make the right decision for your family.