Can Freshmen Have Cars…?
One of the most frequently asked questions of our Admission staff is, “Can freshmen have cars?” Our collective, unapologetic response is, “At RWU, no, freshmen cannot have cars.” We often relate that, although it is nowhere near as severe as the parking situation depicted in the attached photograph (a parking facility in NYC), the amount of available parking does factor in but it is in no way the major reason for not allowing our first year students to have cars.
There is a ton of research on the factors that contribute to an overall successful college experience. One of the key factors is that crucial first year. If a student has a positive experience in the first year, he/she will be more likely to succeed academically, progress toward graduation in four years, and take advantage of the resources and opportunities available to them during their stay. The likelihood of having such an experience is directly related to the students’ ability to make strong, meaningful connections to the campus community (peers, faculty, administrators and staff).
For many incoming freshmen, it is their first time away from home, family, lifelong friends and a familiar environment. Their newfound independence can be overwhelming, intimidating and even frustrating. In the face of such concerns, it is understandable that some would like to be able to take off and get away from it all and go back to that which is comfortable. If the student has the opportunity (transportation) to go home every weekend (or more often), there is the chance that he/she will not make the connections to become fully engaged with the campus community. Not that there is anything wrong with going home and visiting family and friends but research has proven, the student is much better served by facing and working his/her way through the challenges. There are generally two schools of thought on going home in the first semester of freshmen year: on the short side, it is suggested that freshmen should not go home before the Columbus Day weekend, on the long side, it is the Thanksgiving Holiday.
So, the reason that freshmen cannot have cars is not because of lack of space, or that you are the last in seniority but most importantly, because we want you to be successful… Wait until your sophomore year to begin amassing parking tickets…