Senior year is over, finals are done, and you’ve walked the stage and earned your degree. Now what? As a college graduate, moving out and on your own to start your life as an adult is not easy. It can be difficult to find a decent place somewhere you can afford, somewhere you actually want to live, that offers good jobs in your fields. But with this list of cities – from the West Coast to the East Coast – and everything in between, you’ll have a good starting point to find the place that suits a college graduate best.
Due to the state’s small and aging population, Governor Phil Scott signed a relocation bill that went into effect this year. It gives the opportunity for those who’ve moved to Vermont and worked remotely for out-of-state employers to become eligible to receive $10,000 over the span of two years from the state government. This would cover relocation fees, expenses, a computer, WiFi, and a co-working space. This incentive draws in a young population, and most of a college graduate’s expenses will be covered, so money won’t be too much of an issue. The program is on a first-come, first-served basis for everyone who moves there on or after January 1st this year. Get more information on moving to Vermont.
2. Madison, Wisconsin
Out in the Midwest, Madison, Wisconsin is a fun and vibrant college town that is perfect for college graduates. Its hot economy allows for a 98.5% employment rate for college students with bachelor’s degrees. This town is an emerging technological hub that has diverse employment opportunities for those in health care, life sciences, education, agriculture, and advanced manufacturing fields. This place is filled with delicious dining spots all up and down State Street that won’t break your wallet. Or, enjoy a bite from the local food trucks like Ian’s. And outdoor adventures are right around the corner with 21 state parks, forests and recreation areas like Devil’s Lake or the New Glarus Woods within a 50-mile radius of the city.
3. Wilmington, North Carolina
For the grads hoping to live on the East Coast, we have Wilmington, North Carolina – an active and energetic city with a population of almost 112,000 offering more than enough for recent college grads. It has an unemployment rate below national and state averages and is known as one of the top cities for job growth in the country. Recent graduates are very likely to find employment in town among the New Hanover County School districts and the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, since they are the city’s two biggest employers.
Because of that, another perk of living here is affordability of housing. Known as one of the most affordable cities, Wilmington has cheap coastal homes that are within walking distance of town. And being a college town means there are live performances and visual art exhibitions held all year around – as well as being a foodie paradise for a college grad that loves endless amounts of seafood. Wilmington’s historic district stays true to its southern Antebellum charm with buildings like the Bellamy Mansion and the Latimer house.
4. Sandy Springs, Georgia
For graduates looking to take residence in the south, Georgia is the perfect place. Sandy Springs, Georgia has a population of 100,691 and is less than 20 miles north of Atlanta. Sandy Springs provides the perfect employment opportunities, being the home of multiple Fortune 500 companies. Residents have the opportunity to work high-paying jobs within various sectors, making for a great career starter city.
Sandy Springs’ cost of living is reasonable and affordable to prospective residents, living in one of the 300 available apartments. Sandy Springs is great for outdoor activities like rafting, kayaking, or hiking on the trails in Big Trees Forest Preserve. The city has amazing dining and entertainment destinations, including the civic and cultural center, City Springs.
5. Santa Monica, California
For those looking to move to a youthful West Coast city, Santa Monica, California is a good place to start. The Golden State, a dream destination for sand, surf and sun, is one of the best places for job-hunting post-college. A beachfront city like Santa Monica has a business community melting pot that’s home to major industry employers such as Universal Music Group, Lionsgate Entertainment Corp. and Activision Publishing; these are perfect opportunities for college graduates looking to get into the music and entertainment industries. There are plenty of other job opportunities in tourism, governance, education, medicine, or research fields in Santa Monica as well. The downtown area has the best entertainment with stand-up and improv comedy clubs or fun bars to enjoy the night.