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Getting Around: Weighing Your Best College Transportation Options

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You’ve unpacked the last box, arranged and re-arranged your desk supplies, and done what little you can to make your dorm room feel less institutional and more like home. Now, you and your roommates are planning to go out and get to know each other over a pizza. Who’s driving?

Getting set up on campus for the first time can be a challenging and time-consuming process. Sometimes, deciding how you’re going to get to your classes and around town can be put off to the last minute. Although this is perfectly understandable, it may put a crimp in your first-year experience if you get to campus only to find out that your transportation options are limited – or worse yet, that the choice you’ve made has turned out to be unsuitable for the realities of day-to-day life on campus.

What Works for You?

There’s no blanket solution to the college transportation issue – instead, it’s up to you to consider a number of factors that are unique to your situation and make the best decision based on the resources you have access to. Here are some factors to consider when you’re deciding on the best way to get around town:

-What’s the layout of the campus? The type of transportation you’ll need to get through college depends largely upon the type of institution you’re attending. If it’s a small, compact campus, your feet might be enough to get you where you need to go for the next four years. If you’re attending a school with a massive, sprawling campus, a bike might be mandatory, a car preferable.

-What’s the surrounding community like? If you’re attending an urban campus in a city with lots of public transportation choices, a car might be more trouble – and cost – than it’s worth. On the other hand, if you’re going to be at a land-grant institution in a smallish town, you might need a car to get to work – and to get you out of Dodge when you start to feel like you’re going stir-crazy.

-What’s your money situation? If your parents are helping you foot the bill for college, you might have more leeway in terms of coming up with the cash for things like a car payment, insurance, repairs, upkeep, and parking. On the other hand, if you’re paying your own way through school, it might be better to stick to cheap or free modes of getting around, so what cash you have can be used for little things like, oh, books and food.

-What’s the distance back home? If you’re attending a school that’s across the country from your parents’ house, it might be logistically difficult to get your car to campus. On the other hand, if you’ll be within driving distance to the ‘rents’ pad, a car might make weekends runs home for laundry marathons and home-cooked meals much easier.

How do you plan to get around campus? What transportation options are available at your school? Talk back in the comments.

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