After buying a subaru WRX that was unmolested and had all it's maintenance done it still will not give you an idea of how it was driven. Trust me when I say this, if you are in school and you will squeak by barely, it's not worth it. Something almost always breaks, mine was and still is a giant money pit. I had to spend almost $5000 to get it rebuilt and still am hating myself for it. Trust me when I say this, wait till you get out of school and then get a WRX. These things have great reputation and are decent build quality, but 90% of the WRX and STI's out there are not going to get you guaranteed longevity as say a civic or something that is more durable. Almost all the Subies that are WRX or STI are gonna be beaten on. I assure you, something will pop up that would submerge you and send your finances into the ground.
In regards to the practicality, they are more practical than say a 2 door mustang or an Infiniti coupe. Mine is slightly economical with a practical approach of having four doors and big storage back for the trunk, other than that not much is economical about it. After having mine for almost a year I can say this much, everyday I get into it and start it up, yes the car does make me happy but it also ticks me off when something goes wrong in it. Maintenance for the most is in par with almost any other guy, just a turbo charged engine is more prevalent to breaking due to well the turbo. You're best bet is wait till you graduate and then get one. Just my two cents.
Note to Ray: Sorry about that Ray. Typed this half asleep the other night. My bad.