Student Life

A Guide to Parking on Campus

If your student brought a car to college, there are several ways she can gain independence and responsibility: staying up-to-date with car insurance and tags, performing car maintenance and paying for gas. But one of the most stressful — and potentially costly — issues she might face is parking on campus.

Discuss the following tips with your student to help her park safely and easily.

Follow Rules or Pay the Price

If parking permits are required on campus, advise your student to make sure her permit is paid for and displayed on the car per the campus requirements. Your student should also know the parking areas on campus and their rules — staff parking only, visitor lots, permit parking only, etc. Tickets for breaking these rules can be costly.

Scope out the Area

If your student lives off campus and drives to class each day, encourage her to check the side streets near her classes, if the parking lots are full. Prime parking spots are in demand and taken quickly, but few students have the time to drive around to find good spots off the beaten path. One day of driving a few laps around campus could pay off in a semester’s worth of easy parking in an unexpected location.

Find the Right Time

It’s usually hardest to find parking right before and during typical class hours. If your student has afternoon classes one day, suggest that she drive to campus well before her class starts — maybe when other classes are ending — to find a spot. Then she can study on campus before her classes and not have to worry about rushing to get a spot and make it to class on time.

Be Courteous

Following common parking laws and courtesies might be even more important for a college student, because it’s likely she’ll see around campus any cars she dings or people she makes mad. Parking a door’s width away from other cars, using a blinker to claim a parking spot and not cutting anyone off to swing her car into the lot should be common practices for your student.

Be Cognizant

Make sure your student is aware of potential dangers and risks: Is there sufficient lighting if it’s night? Are the car doors locked? Is the car free from valuable items, or are they hidden (if there’s a good reason they’re in the car)? In the unfortunate event of vandalization or theft, make sure she reports it to campus authorities immediately.

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