A lot of people who come here doesn't calculate enough money for the transportation here.
The guys in the EF office in Switzerland, and in other countries too I heard, told me that everything in San Diego is really close and the public transportation works well compared to other US-cities. That might be true but as a student in EF is this just the half of the truth.
The campus is not in downtown but in a neighborhood called Scripps Ranch which is away from downtown and the beaches. There is a bus available which drives every hour to campus. A lot of students use this bus to travel between their host family and the school. With this bus it takes one hour to get to downtown! If you go by car you need maybe 20 minutes.
EF San Diego offer their own shuttle bus which brings students every day a week to different locations like downtown, the beaches, shopping malls and more. Which is a good option to see some important things from San Diego.
Before I came here they also told me that a shop to buy food and the most important stuff is really close to where I live. Without car the only way to get there is on foot what takes also 20-30 minutes for one way!
As you can see a car is really helpful here if you live on the campus or in a host family. Most of the people here I know who live in a host family come to school by car. Some host families here have their houses a little bit farer away from the school and I heard from EF students who need at least one hour or more for coming to school, both on foot or by bus.
There are two ways to get a car here, to rent or buy one. If you are lucky you might find a good car for around $3'000-5'000. But you need knowledge about car things and after buying you need to do a registration and insurance what will cost again.
The other way is to rent a car and if possible you can share the car with your friends to split the costs. A lot of people here do this without problems but to avoid fights it's better to share the car just with people you spend a lot of time together and you like, of course. Here are several car rentals which rent cars to students. The guys in the school office (building M4) will help you to find a good rental and everything else, just ask them! They are really friendly, by the way :) The monthly rent for a normal car is around $400-600, it's a little bit more expensive if you are under 21 because the insurance is higher.
I rent a car from a rental called Dirt Cheap from where a lot of students here rent their cars. Friendly people and a wide range of cars. I've driven here now for five months and I can't imagine to be here without car because for me it's really important for fishing. On the other hand I know a lot of people here who can live good without one. I think it's not absolutely necessary but you are definitely more comfortable with a car.